Mathematics: Students

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd October 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of mathematics (a) undergraduates and (b) postgraduates.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)

The department funds the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme, which aims to increase participation and attainment in level 3 mathematics through targeted support, ensuring students in all 16-19 state funded schools and colleges can access AS and A level maths and AS and A level further mathematics, and helping them to study these subjects to a higher level.

We are working with universities and academy trusts to establish a specialist maths school in each region, and a total of 11 nationally. This aims to prepare more of our most mathematically able students to succeed in maths disciplines at top universities. They also deliver outreach work with teachers and students in schools in their surrounding areas to increase maths A level participation and attainment.

We strongly believe effective careers guidance and advice is key to supporting young people in their education and career choices, to undertake learning and develop skills in the areas employers are looking for. The government’s Careers Strategy sets out a long-term plan to build a world class careers system to achieve this ambition. We are increasing the information available to students to ensure they can make informed choices about what and where to study. The delivery of the Careers Strategy also ensures that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) encounters, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school career programmes.

The government also supports around 25% of the total PhD population in the UK through grants awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Since January 2020, UKRI has awarded £104 million of additional funding into Mathematical Sciences, over and above the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) core Mathematical Sciences Theme budget. The additional funding has funded institutes, small and large research grants, fellowships, doctoral studentships and postdoctoral awards.

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