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It has been lovely to see so many students making their way to Newcastle University for our weekly STEP Preparation sessions that started in January. I have been particularly impressed by the number of Year 12 students who have come along and have not been put off by the challenge that STEP questions pose. We aim to cater for all students who wish to attend, and we have various options that they can choose from.

Also, the carefully constructed ‘road map’ sheets, as well as support from myself and my colleague, Dr Sam, mean that students are able to access the materials and engage with high-level mathematical concepts and techniques. Having lots of talented mathematicians in the same room generates a great atmosphere, where students are able support and share ideas with each other.

Teachers who are keen to find out more about STEP and similar university entrance papers, as well as Higher-Level Problem Solving in general, may be interested in our upcoming Problem Solving Conference for Year 12 students and their teachers. This event is taking place at Newcastle University on Thursday 2 April 2020. The conference will provide an opportunity for both staff and students to find out more about university applications, entrance exams and available support and resources, as well as experiencing some hands-on problem solving. Please contact Michael Gibson for more information, or to request places.

On the theme of student and teacher events, I was delighted to be invited into a local school to deliver a short afternoon conference on Proof by Contradiction. This involved staff and students from a number of local schools working together, and then separately, on this new and challenging topic from the new A level curriculum. I would be very happy to visit any other schools in the region to run a similar event, on this or any other topic, on request!

By Michael Gibson

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