Teachers and disadvantaged A-Level students are to be offered specialist support by Imperial College London academics in an attempt to tackle a yawning attainment gap between students studying Further Maths.
In 2018-19, only 36 per cent of students from disadvantaged groups taking Further Maths got an A/A* compared with 53 per cent of other students, according to the university.
Imperial plans to offer resources and support for Further Maths A-level teachers.
It will also provide intensive online support focussed on raising attainment and progression among students from lower-income backgrounds or other groups affected by the attainment gap, as part of its new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in A level Further Maths.
It is hoped that teachers will promote the course to their students and encourage those eligible to apply to take part.
The scheme hopes to support at least 150 students from underrepresented groups each year from across the UK by 2022.
It will also be freely available online for all students, and it will be delivered by academics and students from Imperial College.
The MOOC is funded through a three-year partnership with newly launched Hg Foundation, a non-profit focusing on education and technology.
Professor Maggie Dallman, vice president (international) and associate provost (academic partnerships) at Imperial College, said: “The UK’s attainment gap in mathematics will have serious consequences – for both our young people and for our economy – if it is not addressed.
“Smart, scalable interventions like this one – generously funded by The Hg Foundation – will help set students up to succeed, levelling the playing field for underrepresented groups and boosting attainment nationwide. Students, schools, and society will reap the benefits in the years to come.”
Named Imperial Further mA*ths, the MOOC is modelled on an existing programme that Imperial College London launched in 2019 with the organisation Mathematics in Education and Industry and which is focused on A-level maths. This programme provides intensive support for 200 underrepresented students a year and has more than 17,000 registered users.