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It All Adds Up’ is a series of enrichment events for female students held at Oxford University every January.  

Each year the University’s Mathematics Outreach team, who put on the events, invite the AMSP back to participate in the Year 9 and Year 10/11 days. The days aim to inspire young women to continue with maths education which fits perfectly with our aims to: 

  • Increase the number of students, particularly girls and other under-represented groups, studying Level 3 Mathematics 
  • Increase the number of students studying STEM degrees and apprenticeships 

There are around 300 students in attendance each day. The events involve a mix of plenaries, workshops, hands-on problem sessions, a student panel and plenty of time to eat, chat and soak in the unique atmosphere of the Mathematical Institute. It will be the first time many students have experienced a university setting. It is important for students, especially those whom we would like to increase their aspirations, to have that experience as it helps demystify higher education for them.   

One of my favourite things about events like this is watching the students relax into the day as they realise that it is ‘cool’ to enjoy maths. At their school, particularly for girls, they may be one of only a handful of students who love maths. 

The session we are asked to run is called “Where can maths take you?” As well as looking at the many careers that studying maths can lead to. In the session, students get to try out some level 3 maths from the careers that interest them the most. The reason for doing this is not only to inspire them with the many careers that use maths but for them to have success at tackling some level 3 maths as we know from research that lack of confidence is a barrier for girls choosing post-16 maths.

This year, the Year 10 students chose Forensic Scientist (exponentials), ‘Health’ (probability) and Animation/VFX (complex numbers) to try out. The teachers attending the session were keen to get a full copy of the slides so they could have a go at the other careers with their students back in school! 

If you are interested in this kind of event where students can experience university then we hold similar events at universities across the region. Check out our events page or get in touch with your local Area Coordinator. We also have university events aimed particularly at Year 12 girls called SUMS (Steps to University for Mathematical Students) Enrichment Day – they can attend those on their own!  *The SUMS events are super popular, but there are still a few spaces left at the Southampton event in April. 

Something for you to use where you are now 

If you’re looking for resources and ideas to link careers and the maths curriculum (Gatsby Benchmark 4), then check out our Careers Collection. Our World of Work videos and associated resources are particularly popular.   

Our online Which Career? panel events run throughout the year; all are welcome to join. 

There is a collection of short videos, ‘Experiences of advanced maths’, where students at university, on different courses, talk about how a level 3 maths qualification has helped them. 

If you are looking to increase the engagement of the female students at your school, there is now a Student Engagement On Demand Professional Development collection, which includes a ‘pod’ on Encouraging girls’ participation. 

For students studying A level maths (and Further Maths), we have a monthly online magazine that you might like to share with them SUMS.  It includes puzzles, introductions to new areas of maths, career profiles and lots of useful information about applying to university. 

Finally, we have a suite of resources called Why Study Maths? that are designed for you to use with parents as well as students. The presentation included is fully editable, so you can customise it for your school and use it as much or as little as you like. If you want your Year 10/11 students to have a go at some level 3 maths, then we have some taster lessons you can share with them. These are on Desmos and can be given to the students to do in their own time, or you could run them as a whole class activity. 

We would love to know how you get on with these resources, so let us know! Indeed, if you have any comments or requests, then get in touch with your local Area Coordinator or contact us at [email protected] or [email protected]  

by Rachel Beddoes

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