It’s that time of the year when thoughts turn to exams, exam results, universities, schools, teachers and teaching. The academic year is almost upon us and what are you going to do in it?

It’s almost too late to apply for a teaching training course but that doesn’t mean you can’t be first off the blocks to start this time next year. There was a saying that stated: ‘The early bird catches the worm’ and it still remains true. We might well be used to doing things at the last minute because we can but is there a better way?

The Maths Scholars Scholarship Scheme exists to give awards to people who want to teach maths, have a place on an initial teacher-training course. But it’s more than that. The Scheme awards up to £27,500. It is given to those who have something special to offer the teaching profession and the next cohort of students.

I know some of you will be shaking your heads by now thinking, ‘that’s never going to happen. I am no Ada Lovelace or Albert Einstein, who would back me?’ You might well be surprised. Every year we sift through hundreds of applications and the ones that really stick out are from people who have prepared. That might sound simplistic but it’s true. People who show passion, commitment, interest, planning, individuality and preparation nearly always do well.

What do we mean? Look at it this way. Those people who leave everything to the very last minute don’t necessarily demonstrate their true potential and it does say something about the outlook of the person who can’t get themselves organised. In teaching organisation is really important. It may sound trivial but when your application is being judged against hundreds of others surely it’s better to stand out for the right reasons not negative ones?

When you leave things to the last minute then in a way you are also tempting fate. What happens if you are ill or something crops up or you just aren’t in the mood for form filling? If you plan early you can take your time and also write and revise your personal statement and ensure you have all the information that you need to hand.

The Maths Scholars Scheme is not looking for academic excellence. We have accepted students with a II(ii) degree. The most brilliant mathematicians don’t necessarily make the very best teachers. Remember you will not always be teaching A Level Pure or Applied Maths. Students need to see someone who can enthuse them and who excites them about the possibilities maths can open up. Being a great communicator is just as important. Maths teaching is not a profession where you can hide behind formulae.

They have a hundred and one options and the teacher is no longer the font of all knowledge. As a consequence schools are looking for teachers who can find different methods of engaging students and being inclusive.

Therefore the Maths Scholars Scheme is looking for potential scholars who will think often and openly about mathematics, show enthusiasm and different ways of being inspirational. One of our Scholars has gone on to do just that. Bobby Seagull has appeared on University Challenge and was co-host on a Radio 4 programme Monkman and Seagull’s Polymathic Adventure. When we first met Bobby a few years back we could see he was a passionate and enthusiastic personality who would do well in the classroom. You can check out his original Maths Scholars video right here.

If you are thinking about applying for a Maths Scholars Scholarship Award for 2018 and you too can change the perception of maths for future generations. Go on, what are you waiting for? Start your application now so you can be first off the starting blocks in October.