Maths is exciting. So why are so many students left by the wayside? Perhaps maths needs to be more exciting in its delivery. Simple. That’s the subtle difference. After all, how many times have you heard someone say “well I was never any good at Maths at school”, delivered with that blatant and sort of “I-don’t-care-because-Maths-is-bloody-useless-anyway” tone? It’s not as though they would freely admit to being illiterate, so why be so candid about Maths?

From finance and technology to engineering and architecture, the subject of Mathematics underpins so many of our industries. Its relevance and everyday significance is indisputable. Yet so many, sadly, fail to realise this.

Certainly we need to shift people’s perception of mathematics. And in order to do that, we need ambassadors. Where can we find them? Luckily, we don’t have to look further than our own backyard.

Dr. Hannah Fry is a top Mathlete . The maths Scholars scheme wrote about her

Last week The London Evening Standard published an inspiring roundup piece on some of London’s most influential mathematicians – from a UCL lecturer to an 11-year-old with an IQ higher than Einstein’s. These are the “mathletes” that can inspire thousands to explore and enjoy Maths as a subject.

We also need ‘mathletes’ to make the decision to go into teaching and inspire the next generation.

Mathematics is a critical skill. As the world is changing so rapidly – especially in the technological sphere – there is no doubt that mathematics is seminal. Even in schools, mathematics is often the key to the sciences. If you intend to study psychology, engineering or social sciences you will undoubtedly need maths. Even for non-science or maths degrees, statistics is vital.

Mathematics is also important as a school subject. Not only is it needed as a core skill but our economy depends on this knowledge and its applications. In spite of any economic value, mathematics is beautiful and we need to communicate its beauty.

It is clear that many debates centre around statistics. We know that we need to interrogate any data critically. Anyone working in the field of digital marketing for example will know the importance of big data. Personal finance is an area where mathematical skills are more than helpful. So why aren’t people taking to maths like ducks to water?

Perhaps the days of students asking: “Why are we doing this?” or “When will I actually use this in the real world?” will soon be gone. If we educate all our students about the power of mathematics and the kinds of jobs that require a sound knowledge of it, things might be clearer for some. We are a digital society and as individuals we must embrace this.

General numerical skills still have value but using statistics and probability is effectively integral to a variety of tasks such as costing, risk assessment, quality control and modelling. Problem solving is becoming more increasingly important.

So it’s of enormous value to champion Maths to encourage others to take up the mathematics baton. Will you be someone that decides to inspire young people to take up your own passion for mathematics? Will you be a “mathlete” who can inspire the next generation by becoming a Maths Scholar?

We are hoping to launch year five of the Maths Scholars scheme in October and urge anyone who is considering teaching maths to contact us before the scheme reopens. We are very interested to talk with past scholars, existing scholars and anyone who is involved in maths teaching. If you would like to be interviewed about your ideas, experiences and philosophy regarding teaching mathematics then please contact us. We’d love to feature your opinions and ideas on this blog.