New specialist maths school coming to Preston

The location for a new specialist school that aims to provide world-class mathematics education has been announced and the public are being asked to have their say.

Lancaster University School of Mathematics, will deliver outstanding Maths A-Level education to the most able students in Lancashire and the North West and will be based on London Road, close to the main campus at Cardinal Newman College and Preston’s bus station. This makes it an ideal location with excellent sustainable transport links for people to access this distinct post-16 Maths education.

The Rigby Education Trust, an academy trust and charity created to set-up and oversee the new maths school, confirmed the site’s acquisition and will be opening to its first cohort of pupils in September 2022.

The school, which will recruit up to 130 students each year, is a collaboration between two outstanding education providers, Lancaster University, which is ranked top 10 in all national league tables, and Cardinal Newman College, one of the highest performing Sixth Form Colleges nationally, based on A-Level progress. Both institutions will contribute high quality resources and exceptional teaching, aiming to stretch the students with under-graduate level content, which will help to bridge the gap into STEM degrees.

Providing a modern and safe, inclusive and inspiring learning environment, and informed by a uniquely broad, rich, challenging and stretching curriculum, the maths school will attract students from all backgrounds, helping to raise aspirations, unlock potential and propel young people on their journey towards successful careers.

It will also enable the most mathematically able students from across the whole of the North West to access the best support when applying to the most selective universities.

When completed, the School building will be equipped with cutting-edge technology to support teaching and learning. Fixed cameras, and specialist software, will be installed to enable the live streaming of lessons in real-time and high-quality recording for e-learning on online platforms. A specialist 4K projection system in an auditorium will allow for large group teaching.

Cardinal Newman Principal, Nick Burnham said: “We are thrilled with the progress of this joint initiative with Lancaster University. We want to be able to give North West students the best possible education and experiences and feel that Lancaster University School of Mathematics will provide a fantastic opportunity for mathematicians to thrive.”

Professor Steve Bradley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “Finalising the location for Lancaster University School of Mathematics is an important step for this exciting initiative for students in the region and we look forward to opening to pupils in September 2022.”

Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Lancaster University, Professor Alex Belton, said: “Lancaster University School of Mathematics will provide a tremendous opportunity for students from all backgrounds with a passion for maths. Great progress is being made, and we look forward to seeing our staff and students working with the School to support learning, enhance the curriculum and help bridge the gap between school and undergraduate-level study, whether at Lancaster or another top UK university.”

The creation of Lancaster University School of Mathematics is in direct response to a call from Government for the UK’s top universities to take a leading role in establishing new Maths Schools – helping meet the demand for maths skills in the workforce.

The Government has pledged to provide an additional £350,000 funding each year for new Maths Schools supported by the UK’s most selective mathematics universities.

Students attending the Maths School will study A-Level Maths and Further Maths as part of a full programme including options such as Physics and Computer Science, together with a wide range of subjects at Cardinal Newman College.