May to make Brexit Britain 'stronger and fairer' with introduction of maths schools across Britain
The Prime Minister is expected to announce the initiative on Monday, as part of the long-awaited industrial strategy which features a £170 million package to establish an “Institute of Technology”.
Mrs May worked with Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor, to put technical training on an equal footing as academic higher education whilst addressing Britain's low productivity levels in comparison to other developed countries.
Ahead of the announcements, Mrs May said: “As we leave the EU it will help us grasp the bigger prize: the chance to build that stronger, fairer Britain that stands tall in the world and is set up to succeed in the long-term.
“And it is a vital step towards building a country where prosperity is shared and there is genuine opportunity for all. Our action will help ensure young people develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.
“That means boosting technical education and ensuring we extend the same opportunity and respect we give university graduates to those people who pursue technical routes.”
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Ministers hope the specialist maths schools will be based around a free school model – which David Cameron heavily championed – to ensure all young people have access to the schools.
The announcement comes in the week a maths class at Brighouse High School in South Yorkshire was reported to have 46 pupils, as budget cuts prevented the school from recruiting specialist maths teachers.
To prevent such a crisis, high-performing mathematics schools in Exeter and Kings College London will be used as a model to establish the new specialist schools.
Greg Clark, the Business and Energy Secretary, said: “The UK has some of the best universities in the world and our schools are improving, yet for too long technical education for school leavers has been neglected – with large differences in skill levels between regions.
May hopes the move will put technical training schemes on equal footing with higher educati
“We must improve skills and opportunities so we can close the gap between the best people, places and businesses and the rest.”
The proposals will be outlined in a government “green paper”, with ministers asking for feedback from institutions across the UK before making a final decision.