Significant extension to the breadth and depth of the curriculum comes through the Leeds Mathematics Certificate (LMC). Designed to bridge the gap between sixth-form study and university study, the LMC projects expose students to real world problem-solving and accelerates their development of skills which are highly valued by employers: project management, problem solving, debating, making presentations and teamwork. The design of the LMC is a collaboration with experts from the University of Leeds.

The LMC brings the experience of grappling with – and not always solving – open-ended problems into the A-level curriculum. This is excellent preparation for undergraduate study in the mathematical sciences, and employment afterwards. Through the completion of the certificate, LMaS students know that mathematicians are highly sought after in many and varied professional areas. They become much more informed about the multitude of rewarding career pathways that numerate graduates can follow: literally, in every field from Aeronautical Engineering to Zoological Modelling.

Students play an active role in shaping their project and in defining the focus of the problem they want to solve. Many of these projects are based on questions and suggestions from the project supervisors, who are volunteers from LMaS’ network of education, business and industry partners. Throughout the project, LMaS students connect regularly with mentors from business or industry, or with University of Leeds teaching staff and students.

LMaS students’ ICT confidence and competence are developed significantly through the LMC. They learn to use confidently standard office packages such as Excel and PowerPoint, and many also learn skills such as writing in LaTeX or analysing data with powerful statistical software. LMaS students enter Higher Education with ICT skills that many other students don’t even graduate with.

Students complete their LMC projects in Y12, giving them additional time for academic extension and university preparation in Y13. Self-managing a complex piece of work over an extended period of time is a highly valuable, and greatly valued, skill that LMaS students will develop through the LMC. Their experiences during the LMC will become engrained learning habits for success in Y13, and beyond.