A-LEVEL maths students could soon be forced to look ship-shape and consider the problems of life on the ocean wave as part of a new Royal Navy project.
Naval warfare strategy is to play a crucial role in A-level maths as part of a pound;35,000 scheme to introduce real-life engineering problems into the classroom.
Firing missiles, refuelling ships and aircraft take-off are all mathematical problems that may boost sixth-formers' interest in engineering, according to the navy recruiters who are producing A-level teaching guides.
Students will use probability to calculate the chances of ship damage and learn how radar and communications theory depend on A-level maths in the navy-funded scheme entitled Maths in Action.
Launching the project Lieutenant Commander Iain Upton said: "We want to excite A-level maths students with the idea of real-life engineering that happens to be in a naval context.
"This is not about trying to influence students into joining the navy. Our aim is to get them to see the real-life contexts of their A-level course and how
that might relate to a future career."
The project, a joint venture between the navy and the Technology Colleges Trust, will be piloted in 15 technology colleges this year.
The navy launched the project after finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the 100 engineers it needs each year.
Lt Commander Upton said: "The UK has a huge problem in that there are about 30,000 engineering job vacancies every year and only around 20,000 to 25,000 graduating engineers.
"Market research has found that undergraduates are not considering a career in the Royal Navy mainly because they do not understand the job we do and the opportunities we offer."
Maths in Action will include modular engineering units to link with core A-level topics. Although free of charge it will initially only be available to Technology College Trust schools.