Around 150 new teacher training scholarships in mathematics, worth £20,000 each, are to be made available as part of a wider government strategy designed to drive up standards in mathematics in schools.
The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) will help deliver the scholarships along with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the London Mathematical Society (LMS).
Graduates with a 2:1 or above degree on a postgraduate mathematics initial teacher training (ITT) course will be eligible to apply, and candidates will be expected to have a strong mathematical background and a commitment to education and teaching. As well as £20,000, mathematics ITT scholars will receive additional benefits from the IMA, LMS, and RSS including membership offers, free access to journals, free entry to conferences and training and career support.
The RSS believes the benefits of the new scholarships will be wide-reaching. ‘Getting the best people into teaching mathematics and statistics in schools is a crucial step in helping children to develop the analytical and numerical skills they need for further academic study and exciting careers in a whole range of areas,’ says RSS president Valerie Isham. ‘Inspirational teachers can provide motivation, insight and enthusiasm. Statistical literacy is an essential life skill: the need to make decisions based on numerical data confronts us all in every aspect of our professional and personal lives.’
The maths scholarships will sit alongside those for physics, chemistry, and computer science in 2013/14, and form part of a range of government initiatives designed to boost mathematics in schools. Others include funding for mathematics professional development for primary, secondary and post-16 teachers, through the National Centre for the Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM); the launch of a specialist mathematics programme for primary teachers; and supporting specialist mathematics free schools for 16-18 year olds.