UP to 10,000 sixth-formers are to become "virtual" mathematicians through studying for a further maths A-level on the Internet.
Too many sixth-form mathematicians are prevented from studying the subject at the highest levels because their schools cannot afford to offer such specialist tuition, according to the group running the project.
Mathematics in Education and Industry, a leading producer of maths syllabuses, says that entries to further maths A-leels have fallen from around 15,000 in the early 1980s to around 5,000 this year. It blames a lack of funding and maths expertise in schools.
Independent school A-level pupils are twice as likely to study further maths as their state school counterparts. Many mathematicians are concerned that many state schools will drop further maths completely.
The project is a three-year pilot, funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.