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Mathematics: Higher Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 70256, tabled on 5 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of young people studying mathematics at higher education.

Answered on

15 November 2021

Universities are autonomous bodies, independent from government, and they have control over decisions about who to admit to their courses.

Mathematics remains the most popular A level subject and we are committed to increase participation in post-16 mathematics. We introduced reformed A levels which provide a better foundation to study Mathematics courses, including pure Mathematics, at a higher level. We fund the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme which supports schools and colleges to improve the effectiveness of level 3 maths teaching and provides targeted support for students preparing for study at higher education.

We are working with universities and academy trusts to establish a specialist Mathematics school in each region (and a total of 11 nationally). These aim to prepare more of our most mathematically able students to succeed in Mathematics disciplines at top universities.

We strongly believe effective careers guidance and advice is key to supporting young people in their education and career choices.

The government’s Careers Strategy sets out a long-term plan to build a world class careers system to achieve this ambition. The delivery of the Careers Strategy will ensure 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 core Mathematical Sciences Theme budget.