Applications welcomed for Imperial mathematics sixth form school opening in 2023


Group of School students.

Launching in September 2023, Imperial College London Mathematics School will open in Finchley, North London for sixth form students.

Imperial College London Mathematics School, a specialist school for sixth form students, will focus on attracting applications from groups that are under-represented in STEM careers. It is being developed in partnership with Woodhouse College and the Department for Education.

"Working together, not only do we want to contribute to a diverse, thriving STEM sector, but we also want to create an environment where young people are inspired and amazed by mathematics every day." David Lee Headteacher

It is the first time the world top ten university - home to two Fields Medallists - has partnered with a school in this way. Students will get the chance to be mentored by with some of the world’s leading mathematicians and other academics, as well as current Imperial students, as Imperial and Woodhouse work to improve social mobility and diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). 

The School will be located next to Woodhouse College in Barnet, North London. The community expects to move into a brand-new, permanent building with the latest educational technology and laboratories at the start of its second academic year. From September 2023, it will be based on the same site in high specification, temporary classrooms. Students who form the first cohort starting in September 2023 will be able to contribute to the design of the permanent building, for example, by helping naming rooms.

What is a maths school?

Mathematics schools are sixth forms that specialise in teaching mathematics and related subjects. The School will join the existing highly successful mathematics schools in partnership with Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster and Liverpool universities.

All students at mathematics schools study A Level Maths and Further Maths, alongside at least one other subject. The additional subjects offered vary between mathematics schools, but always includes A Level Physics. They all have additional programmes to enrich and enhance their curriculum. 

Mathematics schools also run extensive outreach programmes to support students and teachers in local primary and secondary schools, particularly supporting the achievement in and access to mathematics and science for young people from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in STEM subjects at universities and in industry. This includes female students and certain ethnic and social groups.

Who can apply?

The School is for aspiring mathematicians, scientists and engineers aged 16 to 19 who are dedicated, curious and enthusiastic about these subjects.

Because the School curriculum is highly academic, applicants should be likely to achieve a grade 8 or 9 in GCSE mathematics, and be prepared to be selected based on an admissions test and interview. 

For September 2023, the School will have up to 40 places. This number will increase year on year, until approximately 100 students are admitted in each year group.

Interested applicants can begin filling in their application on the School's website from 6 October to 23 November.

Students view a screen showing scientific data

Pathways to success

A Level Further Maths is excellent preparation for the mathematical demands of STEM subjects at undergraduate level at university. For example, it is required for the undergraduate degree in mathematics at Imperial, Cambridge, UCL and Warwick universities.

Mathematics graduates enter a variety of fields of work. Holding Mathematics qualifications demonstrates that a student is numerate, that they can master intellectually difficult material, that they have the organisation and self-motivation to complete a demanding programme, and that they are able to solve complex problems.
The top three industries students have entered in the last three years are Finance, IT and Telecommunications, and Accounting. Yet, with more and more companies looking for numerate students, the destinations of students are also changing. Data science, media, sports, and transportation companies are all increasingly popular choices.

An enriching learning environment

David Lee and Sugra Alibhai standing together
David Lee (left) and Sugra Alibhai (right)

David Lee, Headteacher of the School, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to work alongside a world-class university like Imperial College London, and to capitalise on the wealth of expertise and knowledge the university can provide. Working together, not only do we want to contribute to a diverse, thriving STEM sector, but we also want to create an environment where young people are inspired and amazed by mathematics every day.

"Imperial College London Mathematics School will be a place where young people from north London and beyond can excel academically, but also develop the skills need to succeed in their careers and live happy, fulfilled lives.”

Sugra Alibhai, Headteacher of Woodhouse College, said: "Woodhouse has long sought an opportunity to partner with others on a project such as this. By bringing together some of the best institutions in the field of education, Imperial College London Mathematics School will go from strength to strength when it launches next year.

"Young people need their sixth form options to offer two things – quality and choice. The demand for maths skills far outstrips the number of generalist and maths schools available across different regions of the UK. By offering a standalone maths school in the heart of north London, and with courses available from Woodhouse, we hope to tackle this challenge head on."

Applying scientific knowledge

Professor Maggie Dallman
Professor Maggie Dallman

Professor Maggie DallmanVice President (International) and Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) at Imperial, said: "Scientific skills are a vital part of our shared future. Economically, socially, and culturally, a solid footing in mathematics can prove hugely rewarding for young people in the United Kingdom and beyond. 

"The Mathematics School will be Imperial’s most substantial involvement in the secondary education sector to date. We will support the development of a range of career and learning pathways for students wishing to explore a future opportunities involving science knowledge and skills. 

"I would urge young people, their friends and their families, to give serious consideration to the opportunities afforded to them by engaging with science. With hard work and a proactive approach to their studies, we expect many of our School graduates to go on to make a vital contribution to solving some of the biggest challenges facing society."

Find out more

The School is now inviting applications from prospective students, consulting our local community about the launch of the school, and recruiting enthusiastic colleagues to deliver teaching and pastoral support.

An online open evening will also be hosted by the School on 11 October 2022. Registration is open now.

Right up until the first day of term in September 2023, the School will regularly update its website and social media accounts.

If you are considering joining the community as a student or member of staff, or perhaps you are a parent, local resident, or school teacher, you will also likely have many questions about the School. These will likely be answered by the frequently asked questions provided on the School website.

You may also be interested to read the Headteacher's welcome message.


Murray MacKay

Murray MacKay
Communications Division


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