Pupils at a pioneering specialist mathematics school which provides “life-changing” opportunities have achieved some of the best A-level results in the country.
Exeter Mathematics School, which opened in 2014, is one of only two specialist state sixth forms for enthusiastic young mathematicians and scientists in the UK.
A total of 91 per cent of pupils got either an A*, A or B in maths, further maths, physics and computer science A-level this year, with 70 per cent of exams taken at the school graded as A* or A. Almost all – 93 per cent – of pupils got an A* or A in their maths A-level, with many students achieving full marks in at least one of their exams.
The sixth form is sponsored by the University of Exeter and Exeter College offers young people in the South West who show potential to do well in STEM subjects the chance to study in an exciting and challenging environment, and work with leading academics at the University of Exeter. Students who live too far away to commute daily live together in supervised accommodation during the week. They also complete further subjects at Exeter College.
The school opened just five years ago but has already been named as Sunday Times Sixth Form College of the Year, and been given outstanding ratings in two Ofsted reports, one of which praised “inspirational” staff for helping pupils make “life-changing” progress.
Headteacher Kerry Burnham said: “We are all absolutely delighted for our students. They’ve really achieved fantastic results. This year is the first year of linear maths A-levels, with exams only taken at the end, and they rose to the challenge. Our curriculum has always been based on problem-solving, and our students have embraced this and worked positively with the new curriculum, this together with the fact that they all also took A-levels in further maths has enabled them to do so well.
“We wish all our students all the best as they move on to their exciting future endeavours.”
Exeter Mathematics School has a “value added” score for maths A-level of 1.23 – meaning students have achieved over a grade higher than what would be expected compared to their GCSE performance.
A total of nine out of the 60 students getting results today achieved at least three A* grades, and 23 achieved all A* and A grades.
Students at the Exeter Mathematics School work with University of Exeter academics and companies such as Dyson and the National Hydrographic Office to complete research into topics such as autonomous flight, artificial gills and neurons.
They also complete the Exeter Mathematics Certificate (EMC): a course that enables students to develop research skills whilst exploring a subject of interest. Students study in groups in their first year, completing projects set by industry experts and academics. They achieve the full certificate by completing a piece of individual research in their final year.
With increasing demand for competent mathematicians, the government is committed to opening more schools like the Exeter Mathematics School across the country as part of its Industrial Strategy and teachers are sharing their curriculum with colleagues elsewhere.
Professor Janice Kay, Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter, said: “My warmest congratulations go to all Exeter Maths School students on these fantastic results – the best ever results for the school. EMS is a national leader in maths education and is playing a key role in inspiring the next generation of mathematicians and scientists. This latest set of outstanding results is testament to the success of EMS. Working together with University of Exeter and Exeter College it has been possible to create a unique and exciting education that nurtures the mathematic and scientific ability.”
John Laramy, Principal and Chief Executive of Exeter College said: “I would like to congratulate Kerry, her team and their students for these spectacular results. Many students at the school also take a subject at the college, or study an extend programme, or take part in enrichment activities. I believe this is a unique partnership nationally and is clearly benefiting the students, our city and our region.”
Reuben Buss, from Uffculme scored two A* and an A in physics, maths and further maths, and will now study physics at Durham University. In his spare time Reuben is a keen glider, flying with the Devon and Somerset Gliding Club.
Eden Reynell, also from Uffculme, will study civil engineering at the University of Southampton after achieving A*, A and B in physics, maths and further maths. Eden plays for Tiverton Rugby Club.
Lottie Woods, from Buckfast, will study maths and physics at the University of Warwick after achieving an A* and three A’s in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry. Lottie completed her Exeter Mathematics Certificate research on the power generated by wind turbines, and hopes to be an environmental researcher after completing her degree.
Dylan Todd, from Totnes, will study mechanical engineering at the University of Bath after achieving 3 A* grades in maths, further maths and physics. Dylan completed research projects on flood detection systems in Totnes, infectious diseases and the physics of medieval weapons. He said: “I’m really pleased with my results, I worked really hard, revising a lot and practising with past papers.”
Alex Glasspool, from South Molton, will study natural sciences at Girton College at the University of Cambridge after achieving three A* grades. He said: “This has taken a lot of hard work, I didn’t think I could get into Cambridge but I thought it was worth a try. I really hope to eventually study for a PhD.”
Thomas Pennington, a keen mountain biker and table tennis player from Lyme Regis, will study mechanical engineering at the University of Bristol after achieving three A* grades in maths, further maths and physics.
Heather Coles, from Tiverton, will study maths at Lancaster University after achieving an A* and two B grades in maths, further maths and physics. Heather is a talented singer, appearing in local musicals. She said: “I had wanted to go to this school since I started my GCSEs, and four other pupils from my school came too.”
Emily Brooks, from Barnstable, hopes to study at a music conservatoire following a gap year. The talented violinist, is also considering joint music and maths degree courses after achieving ABB grades in maths, further maths and chemistry. Emily, who plays with the North Devon Sinfonia and the North Devon Strings, said: “I’ve been playing since I was seven, and have been equally interested in music and maths since that age. I even completed my EMC research project on the links between music and maths.”
Owain Brinkworth, from Exmouth, will study maths at the University of Warwick after achieving three A* grades. Owain, who is keen to work as a climate researcher in the future, completed a research project in conjunction with the Met Office investigating the optimum locations for weather radars. He said: “I’ve been inspired by my dad, who works at the Met Office, and this means I’ve been able to see inside the amazing building. It would be great to work in climate science in some way in the future.”
A summary of our results can be found on this page of our website.