With small numbers of young people pursuing maths into further education, universities have been encouraged to support schools that specialise in the discipline.
The education minister Elizabeth Truss said too few students are continuing maths studies beyond the age of 16, and as a result are missing out on a huge number of degree and career opportunities.
Mrs Truss believes that other institutions should follow the example set by Exeter University and King’s College London by opening free maths schools.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME), Mrs Truss announced that said free schools were set to launch next year.
“We want this movement to spread still further. So we’re allowing universities to apply to sponsor new maths free schools through a fast-track, simplified procedure, without having to go through the normal competitive application process.
“These schools will not only improve standards in maths teaching, but will equip talented young people from low-income backgrounds with the skills they need to study maths at university.”
The points raised have been backed up by the Office for Fair Access, who said that universities helped to form maths free schools, it would be taken as part of their agreement to provide greater access to under-represented groups.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “This would be a decision for individual universities, but we would support any initiative that succeeds in getting more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to progress to university.