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KS5 Physics Challenge – Thurs 15th March

Ever wondered why bees buzz?  Or how many marbles there are in the world?  Or why the return journey always seems longer than the outward?  No? Well, luckily, none of these questions will be in the KS5 Physics Challenge!  But if you’re an A-level student looking to test your Physics skills and knowledge, then the KS5 Physics Challenge is the place to do it! There will be an estimation round, a practical challenge, a very hard question round, incredible prizes and international recognition from world leading physicists*.

Thursday 15th March, 12.30-3pm (arrive from midday).

Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street, Exeter, EX4 3LS

Teams of four, to include at least two Year 13 students.

Please email to sign up or for further details.

Closing date: Tuesday 13th March.



EMC Christmas Lectures 2017


In general, I try to avoid pride, what with it coming before a fall and all that.  But there are some occasions that overcome my resolve and the Exeter Mathematics Certificate (EMC) Christmas Lectures is perhaps the most seductive of them all.  The last Thursday of the school’s autumn term has, since 2014, been my proudest day of the year and yesterday proved to be no different; without exception, our year 12 students impressed.

I’m proud because our students have persevered with some seriously challenging problems.

I’m proud because they have collaborated effectively with their peers.

I’m proud because they have communicated clearly through academic posters and presentations.

I’m proud because they spoke to an audience of over 400 people.

I’m proud because they have overcome nerves.

I’m proud because they were articulate and engaging.

I’m proud because of the support they have given one another.

I have no right to be proud.  This is none of my doing.  And yet, I cannot help it.  Students who were just a few months ago studying for GCSEs are now presenting the findings of their research, which often spans way beyond the A-level curriculum, to a theatre full of people.

I’m exceptionally grateful to the team of teachers that have supported them towards this point and to the inspiration of University of Exeter academics and students.

Below, you can see copies of the students’ academic posters together with videos of their presentations.  Consider this our Christmas gift to you.  With 12 groups in total, there’s almost one for every day of the holidays.


Spherical Geometry Poster

Solar Sailors Poster 

Optimisation in Neural Models Poster

Polynomials and Interpolation Poster

The Mathematics of Elections Poster

Logistic Map Poster

Public-Key Cryptography Poster

Lorenz Equations and Chaos

Human Movement Poster

Normal Numbers

Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases

Building better structures to withstand earthquakes




Christmas Lectures 2017

For those of you who are sadly unable to attend our 2017 Christmas Lectures we are hoping to be able to live-stream the event using this link.

The event will start promptly at 13.30pm until approximately 16.30pm. 

This is WiFi dependent at the University so if we are unable to live-stream the lectures, keep checking back to this link as they’ll be uploaded shortly after.




October Monthly Maths Competition Winner

Thank you to all those who sent in solutions to October’s Monthly Maths Problem – please see below the workings of Bryoni Pidsley who correctly found five more configurations of 4 points in a plane with only 2 distinct values for distances between pairs of points:

Configuration 1 :

An equilateral triangle with point 4 in the centre. Distance 1, between the three points of the triangle, distance 2, between the centre oint and the other three points.

Configuration 2:

An isosceles trapezium (is trapeziod a more accurate description? – blame google for my indecision) with the top length equal to the two sides (distance 1) and the bottom length distance 2. With two angles of 108 degrees (at the top) and two angles of 72 degrees (at the bottom) to make sure the distance between the top right point and the bottom left point is also distance 2 etc.

Configuration 3:

A rhombus with angles 60, 60, 120 and 120 degrees so that distance 1 is the length of the sides and one of the diagonals and distance 2 is the other diagonal.

Configuration 4:

A kite with angles 150, 75, 75 and 60 degrees so that distance 1 is the length of the two shorter sides and distance 2 is the length of the two longer sides and also the two diagonals.

Configuration 5:

An isosceles triangles with one side length of distance 1 and two lengths of distance 2 with angles 75, 75 and 30 degrees with a fourth point in the middle which is distance 1 from the other three points.

Why don’t you have a go at November’s problem?



Blank application form received

Did you submit an on-line application to EMS on 22nd November? Are you a male with the initials A.H.?  If so, please email as your form has been received blank and we have no means of getting in contact with you. Thank you.



Taster Day this Saturday 11th November

It’s not too late to sign up for our upcoming Taster Day this Saturday 11th November from 10am – 2.30pm.  If you think that EMS might be the place for you, come along and see what we’re about. Click here for further info.



Applications for September 2018 entry are now open

Please click here to access the on-line form and for further information.



Taster Days for prospective students

If you’re a Year 11 student considering applying to study your A-levels at EMS, why not come along to one of our Taster Days?  The next one is on Saturday 11th November from 10am – 2.30pm, with the event being run again on 2nd December. For further information, or to book a place, please visit : 



Fantastic Results for Class of 2017

Students at unique mathematics school achieve among the best A-level results in the country

Students at a EMS have once again scored some of the best A-level results in the country.

A total of 11 per cent of students at the Exeter Mathematics School will attend Oxford or Cambridge universities to study for degrees in science, technology or mathematics subjects, including mathematics, artificial intelligence, physics, engineering and geophysics.

A total of 59 per cent of examinations taken by teenagers at the school, which is sponsored by the University of Exeter, were graded at A or A* and 81 per cent were graded at A*, A or B.

The students will now attend the best universities in the country after two years of studying a rigorous academic curriculum, including completing work of undergraduate-level difficulty.

The Exeter Mathematics School, which opened in 2014, is one of only two “free” schools for enthusiastic young mathematicians and scientists in England. The sixth form 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.

Mia Keast, from St Ives, will now study mathematics and statistics at the University of Bristol after scoring two A* grades and an A in mathematics, further mathematics and physics. Mia said: “I’ve really enjoyed living here. Every student really wants to learn and cares about doing well. The teachers are really friendly and treat you like an adult.”

Dan Ley, who lives near Crediton, got four A* grades in mathematics, further mathematics, physics and chemistry. He will study engineering at Corpus Christie College, University of Cambridge. Dan, who is also a talented musician and football and chess player, said: “The teaching has been really interesting, and I’ve worked really hard for these grades. It’s been great working among other people interested in maths, we feed off each other.”

Emily Keenan, from Sidmouth, will study physics at the University of Manchester after achieving two A* and one A grades in mathematics, further mathematics and physics.

Tim Parker, from Stithians in Cornwall, will study mathematics and philosophy at Jesus College, University of Oxford. Tim’s mother Karen said: “Tim was so lucky to have a teacher at his secondary school who encouraged him to get involved with competitive maths, and that really got him engaged in the subject. It has been hard having him away from home during the week but he is now so independent, he can manage a budget and do his own laundry. The teachers here are so considerate to parents and passionate about their subjects too.”

Will Huxtable, from Torrington, will study computer science at City, University of London. Will has been computer coding since he was eight and first met teachers from the Exeter Mathematics School when he went on a residential trip they organised three years ago.

Will said: “I’m looking forward to the fact that when at university I’ll be very near to Silicon Roundabout in London, and lots of technology companies.”

Fiona Pascoe, from Redruth, will study mathematics and statistics at the University of Bath after achieving an A*, two A grades and a B. Fiona said: “I really love working with statistics and analysing data and hope to make that my career after university.”

All students at the school, which is also sponsored by Exeter College, study three A-levels at the School, in mathematics, further mathematics and physics or computer science, and take a fourth subject to at least AS level at Exeter College. Students also study for the Exeter Mathematics Certificate; a separate qualification designed to prepare pupils for independent study and the world of work. Students work with academics to research a question or problem posed by lecturers and professors and present their answer to hundreds of people at lectures hosted by the University of Exeter.  They then complete a piece of individual research of their own choosing.

Exeter Mathematics School headteacher Kerry Burnham said: “We are delighted for all our students. The progress they have made is truly incredibly and we’re thrilled so see them reap the rewards of their enthusiasm and hard work.  It’s a joy to have worked alongside them these past two years and to know that they are leaving us well prepared for their next steps.”

Professor Janice Kay, Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter, said: “My congratulations go to all Exeter Mathematics School students on their dazzling set of A-Level results yet again. Exeter Mathematics School is designed to cultivate the talents of the next generation of mathematicians and scientists and to act as a springboard for their future successes. This fantastic set of results is testament to the success of Exeter Mathematics School and the genuine partnership with the University and Exeter College which stretches, challenges and nurtures mathematic and scientific ability.”

Entry is based on the pupil’s mathematics problem-solving ability and potential and decided through an application form and entrance test. A third of pupils are female and almost all have previously attended state schools, with almost 40 per cent having grown up in areas of the South West where few people go on to attend university.




Year 6 Poster Competition – Results 2017

Polygons and Tessellations were the themes for this year’s poster competition, leading to some interesting designs from our primary school competitors. We were delighted by the quality of design, research and mathematics on display; our 6th-form judges had a significant challenge in selecting the prize winners.

After much wrangling and careful analysis, the following posters emerged triumphant:

First Place

Maija Wilson, Anabel Salmon, Lowen Dymond and Amber Drysdale , Perranporth Community Primary School, Cornwall

Second Place

Tobias Reid, Parkfield School, Taunton, Somerset

Third Place

Oscar Simmons, Joseph Hassell, Uther Puckey and Lauren Foster-Wilton ,Trythall Community Primary School, Cornwall

The winning poster impressed with a combination of well-presented research and mathematical facts written the students’ own words.  The judges were also pleased to see a hand-drawn Esher-style tessellation.

The second place poster scored highly for mathematical content and humour.  Our judges enjoyed the comedy of the polygons and non-polygons complete with speech bubbles.  They also appreciated the clear explanation as to why there are only three regular tessellations.

A feast for the eyes was provided by the third-placed team with a superb presentation of tessellations, including their own original Escher-style creations.  Truly inspired!  This coupled with a clear demonstration of the mathematics of semi-regular tessellations secured a high score.

Special Mention to:

Lucy Webber and Freya Waterfield from Chumleigh Primary School in Devon who narrowly missed out on a place in the top three.  The judges loved your Polygon Pig and the demonstration of how Escher used polygons to create tessellating art.

Charlene Corpuz, Lucy Cockerham, Summer Close and Chloe Williams from Cameley Primary School in Somerset produced a very professional-looking poster that was clear and bright and shiny.  The judges scored them highly for overall presentation and were also please so see that they had given an example of non-tessellating polygons as well as those that tessellate.

Well done to all the students that submitted a poster for consideration and thank you to the teachers that supported them students to take part.  We hope they enjoyed exploring this creative area of mathematics, we certainly loved reviewing their work.