University’s specialist Mathematics School receives `outstanding’ Ofsted rating

The University of Liverpool’s specialist maths school (ULMaS) has been ranked as `outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted.

ULMaS, which opened in 2020, offers a STEM based curriculum focused on A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Computer Science and Physics as well as the school’s own Aspiring Mathematician and Personal & Pastoral Enrichment Programmes.

Inspectors praised the quality of teaching and leadership and noted how pupils thrived thanks to the supportive environment created by teachers which raised their aspirations.

The Ofsted report noted that students are highly motivated and exceptionally keen to achieve well in their studies. They consistently demonstrate positive attitudes to their learning and attendance is very high. Students enthuse about the nurturing culture fostered by staff. They say they can be themselves and grow as an individual and that students benefit from studying in a highly inclusive environment.

Inspectors commended the school’s focus on equality and diversity – in the relationships between staff and students and within the curriculum – and the wide range of activities run to help children’s development. These include interhouse competitions, sports, dance and music clubs. There are “women in STEM Saturdays” to attract more female students into the STEM subjects.

Students are found to grow significantly in confidence because of being at the school. They access an exceptional personal development curriculum that swiftly develops their communication skills. Students learn how to find their voice and how to produce writing that is compelling to read.

Inspectors said leaders and staff were passionate about their school and the community they serve and praised the carefully-planned and challenging curriculum designed to support students, some of whom are from the most deprived areas, to achieve their aspirations. They also praised the high-quality impartial careers education, information advice and guidance.

Headteacher Damian Haigh said: “We are extremely pleased to be ranked ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and that our teaching, development and enrichment activities and our supportive culture have been recognised in this way. It has been important to us to help our students achieve excellence in many different ways, and to do so in a way that doesn’t leave staff stressed and permanently exhausted.  We all feel very proud of the way students develop in their time with us.

“We work hard to ensure students become confident and curious mathematicians and scientists while also developing self-confidence and collaboration skills.  Our students almost all come from state schools across Merseyside and we provide financial support to ensure that all students can access things like educational visits and other activities.”

ULMaS was the first specialist maths school of its kind to open in the north of England and was recently ranked amongst the top in the country for average A-level grades according to Government data.

Professor Gavin Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, said: “I am delighted that the University’s specialist maths school has received an `outstanding’ rating which is testament to the hard work, commitment and passion of Damian and his team in providing such a fantastic learning environment to prepare pupils for future success.”

ULMaS is one of three innovative UK specialist maths schools around the UK that have been praised by Ofsted for their pioneering work, which is boosting the number of young people with STEM skills.

Inspectors also recently rated Exeter Maths School as outstanding whilst the Lancaster University School of Mathematics, given a monitoring visit as a new school, was judged to have made significant progress, the highest rating possible prior to a full inspection.

The judgements are further evidence of the impact of the state sixth forms on young people’s lives and local communities.

The three schools are part of the recently formed U-maths charity ( ) which unites the 11 specialist mathematics schools across England in their work to develop global science and maths education leaders.