Pupils were awarded their Certificate at a ceremony at the University of Exeter. Picture by Jim Wileman.

The South West’s brightest mathematicians have celebrated their educational achievements at a special ceremony.

Pupils at the pioneering Exeter Maths School gathered to mark their end of their time at the specialist sixth form.

The lifechanging opportunities offered by the unique state school is helping to boost the STEM skills of children throughout the South West. This year marks a decade since it opened to pupils.

The specialist curriculum at the school goes well above and beyond that normally experienced by sixth form students. All pupils complete the Exeter Maths Certificate, which provides challenging and enriching experience of research, university-style study and Industry experience. Pupils were awarded their Certificate at a ceremony at the University of Exeter.

The Exeter Mathematics Certificate curriculum was recently praised by Ofsted for helping young people to develop their mathematical interests by producing project work of exceptional quality.

Headteacher Kerry Burnham said: “The days we celebrate our students’ achievements really remind me how privileged we are to work with these great young people and see them flourish. We are very proud of all of them and look forward to seeing what they end up doing in life.”

Tom Frangleton, from Okehampton, studied maths, further maths, physics at Exeter Maths School and biology at Exeter College. He hopes to study medical engineering at Cardiff University. Outside of sixth form Tom takes part in Morris Dancing and Appalachian dancing with his family and is involved with his local Scout group.

Tom said: “My time at Exeter Maths School has been very good and being part of the school community has been a massive part of that. Everyone is so friendly and there’s a nice atmosphere.

“I heard about the school through outreach activities and applied and I’m so pleased I did. The last two years have been amazing.”

Kevin, from East Devon, studied maths, further maths and physics and hopes to study maths at Warwick University. Outside of school he is a competitive e-sporter who competes in tournaments for the game Counter-Strike.

Kevin said: “Exeter Maths School is a place where teachers genuinely care about students, not just grades. We have so much support for our mental wellbeing and I’ve really enjoyed my time there. I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made and how the past two years has shaped me as a person. The school has given me a place to look forward to going to for the first time in a long time.”

Sethini, from North Devon, who studied physics, maths, computer science and further maths, hopes to study natural science at Cambridge University. Outside of school she enjoys climbing and playing the piano.

Sethini said: “This has been the best experience of my life. We’ve all got to know each other so well very quickly. I’ve treasured every moment.”

Aditi, from Taunton, studied maths, further maths, physics and computer science and hopes to study maths at Warwick University. As part of her time studying for the Exeter Mathematics Certificate she worked at the Met Office, analysing statistics. Outside of school she is studying Indian classical dance.

Aditi said: “The best thing about the Exeter Maths School is its size – everyone knows everyone else so there’s a family vibe. Everyone is so supportive of each other. I’ve always been interested in maths and love working with real-world data.”

Since the school opened the uptake of young people studying the Further Maths qualification in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset has increased by 77 per cent, 78 per cent and 88 per cent respectively – over 10 per cent more than the average for England.

The Exeter Maths School, which has 128 pupils, is sponsored by Exeter College and the University of Exeter and specialises in Mathematics, with all students taking A Levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics and either Physics, Computer Science or both.

Bursaries are available to support students to board if they live too far away to commute daily. There are plans to build new boarding facilities in the future, allowing an expansion in available places.

Dr Gihan Marasingha, University of Exeter maths lecturer and Exeter Maths School governor, said: “I’m so passionate about my involvement with this wonderful school. It’s so inspiring to see how teachers and pupils are not confined by the usual limits of the curriculum. The partnership with Exeter College is also integral to our mission to raise aspirations and help young people reach their full potential.”