Secretary of State for Education awards prizes for Exeter Mathematics School competition

Posted: 8 November 2013

The winners of a region-wide mathematics competition, run by Exeter Mathematics School, were awarded their prizes by the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, in a ceremony held on Thursday 7 November at the Department for Education.
The competition, which was open to all secondary schools in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset saw teams of year 10 and 11 pupils explain the solution to a challenging mathematical problem in a five minute video.

In the South West we had over 40 teams from almost 20 schools register to take part. Particularly popular choices for entries were: Bezout’s Buckets and Ponds, Pascal’s Problem of Points and the Bridges of Konigsburg.

The top three teams each explored one of these problems:

1st Royal High School, Bath Bezout’s Buckets and Ponds
2nd Churston Ferrers GS, Torbay Pascal’s Problem of Points
3rd ISCA School, Exeter Bridges of Konigsberg


The judges were impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm many teams showed. The best teams all managed to convey their ideas clearly and demonstrate a sound understanding of the mathematics.

The winning team spoke of how the competition inspired them: ‘We loved this assignment because it allowed us to be creative in the use of Mathematics. Lots of Maths competitions are classroom based, and written, but we were motivated by the opportunity to communicate in an artistic and imaginative way’.

Their teacher, Nicola Cologne-Brookes said ‘The girls were amazing. After initial brainstorming they really flew with the task, and needed very little input from us. We are proud to be part of a school where girls are not afraid to throw themselves into mathematical challenge’.

Further prizes will be awarded to schools across the South West in a celebration and enrichment day to be held at Exeter University on the 16th December. At this event teams will further explore the mathematics behind each of the most popular competition problems. There will also be an opportunity to work with academics from Exeter University and find out from students what it is like to study Mathematics at a higher level.

Kerry Burnham, Head of Exeter Mathematics School, said: ‘We are delighted that so many students across the South West participated in this competition. The judges were both entertained by and impressed with the level of creativity, mathematical insight and enthusiasm demonstrated by many teams.’

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