The University of Liverpool Maths School set to open autumn 2020

The Alastair Pilkington Building

Plans are in place to open the University of Liverpool Maths School (ULMaS) this autumn with the recruitment of teaching staff, a formal funding agreement approved and refurbishment of accommodation underway.

ULMaS is the third specialist mathematics school in the UK and the first in the North of England. It offers 16 – 19 year olds the opportunity to study an innovative and challenging A Level curriculum in Math, Further Maths, Physics and Computer Science as well as the school’s own Aspiring Mathematician and Personal & Pastoral Enrichment Programmes.

Led by headteacher Damian Haigh, ULMaS has signed a formal agreement with the Department for Education and has now recruited five members of staff to join the teaching team. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Damian has recruited and appointed the team entirely through Zoom.

New teaching staff
The new recruits are: Assistant Headteacher is David Hemsley who joins from Rainhill High School; Head of Physics is Dr Aurora Gutierrez-Sosa who completed her PhD in Surface Science at the Unviersity; Steve Wentworth, an alum of John Moores University is Head of Computer Science and joins from Neston High School; Head of Mathematics is Colin Thomas, also a University of Liverpool alumnus, who has been teaching mathematics at Holy Family School, Crosby.

Niall Thompson is the new Head of AMP and Outreach. Niall was accepted to study mathematics at the University of Cambridge when he was just 14, and as well as teaching at Manchester Grammar School he has been conducting doctoral research into the best ways to support high ability students.

Damian said: “One of the wonderful things that Maths Schools create is the opportunity to recruit academically talented, inspiring teachers and enable them to teach bright, hardworking students.

“Before we started to recruit teachers we knew that the opportunity to work at ULMaS would be attractive to teachers who love working with able students, but we were also conscious that our subjects are probably the most difficult to recruit for.

“We need not have worried. We had a wealth of very strong applications and the most difficult part was having to turn away talented and committed teachers that we don’t have roles for yet.”

For students set to start at the school in September, Damian and his team have already provided live online lessons to help over 200 Year 11 students prepare for A-level study.

He said: “It has been an enjoyable learning process for the students and also for the teachers. Getting to grips with live teaching online has filled me with confidence that we can provide highly effective remote learning for students whenever it is needed in future.”

While plans for students and staff to fully return to schools, colleges and universities around the UK are still unclear, ULMaS will open both physically in its refurbished accommodation in the Alastair Pilkington Building and online to students in September.

New website
The School’s website has been launched and contains further information about the School, its curriculum, staff and facilities and recruitment process for 2021.

He added: “We will need to make some sensible, practical adjustments to how we operate to manage risks: smaller class sizes, reduced mixing of groups. We will need to provide an online learning alternative for students who need to self-isolate for several weeks or have difficulty with transport as a result of the virus situation. However, the good news is that we’re very well placed to do all of these things.”

There are currently two other specialist Maths schools in the UK: King’s College, London and the University of Exeter in partnership with Exeter College.

News from the School, can also be found by following it on twitter @LivMathsSchool