12. Consultation Questions – the full list
Q1. Do you find this vision attractive? Which elements of the vision do you like? Which elements do you dislike?
The Academy might expect to have a number of core areas in which it proactively develops policy positions and/or undertakes policy research, with some capacity to respond reactively as new areas emerge on which the Academy wishes to take a stance. A list is emerging of the core areas/activities (not necessarily in order of importance) which includes:
Policy for mathematical sciences:
- Quantifying the value of mathematics to the UK – possibly a refresh of the 2013 Deloitte Report, to include collecting data on the extent and effectiveness of knowledge exchange and impact of mathematical expertise in industry on the economy and UK plc.
- The people pipeline – including teacher supply and retention, school qualifications, and the availability of mathematical sciences undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the value of other supporting/developing routes to mathematics careers such as apprenticeships; opportunities to upskill, reskill adult learners; professional and other qualifications.
- Measuring baseline data across a wide range of equality and diversity characteristics.
- Collating a searchable repository of existing reports and data on the mathematical sciences.
Mathematical sciences for policy:
- Convening and brokering relationships, for example between government and external mathematical sciences experts to complement and strengthen existing links and researchers employed within government..
- Responding to calls for evidence from government select committees, for example around the role and limitations of machine learning, the need for diversity in STEM etc.
Q2. Are there other areas that you would like the Academy to focus on in its policy and advocacy portfolio, beyond those listed above?
Q3. What prioritisation would you place on items in the list above, and any other areas you have in mind?
Q4. Do you agree with our broad approach towards advocacy (set out in the Advocacy Section of the full consultation documents)?
Q5. Do you agree with the proposed principles (the 6 tests) for the Academy’s advocacy work?
Q6. What do you see as the best communications avenues to reach you and the other mathematical scientists in your field/sector/community?
The education workstream has the following suggested priorities:
- Consultation to date has identified securing adequate recruitment, supply and retention of knowledgeable and effective teachers as a major imperative. Policy and action recommendations would firstly require collating information and data to establish the status quo and then considering the workforce agenda holistically.
- Mathematical sciences is involved in many other school subjects and there is an urgent need to ensure the coherence of the mathematical sciences/stats/data curriculum across those subjects, and develop a programme of work to identify synergies and support non-maths teachers in both secondary and primary schools.
- While applicants with A*-C in A-level mathematics can enter mathematical sciences degree programmes across the UK, those universities requiring the very highest grades have a very high, and growing, share of these applicants. Mathematics departments with relatively lower entry grades are struggling to fill their places – there seems to be a perception that it is not viable for applicants with less than an A at A-level Maths to study mathematical sciences. Yet employment prospects for maths sciences graduates are good whatever the A-level grade. The current trend is reducing diversity of opportunity, leads to a less diverse cohort of graduates and further contributes to the shortage of mathematics teachers. Designing a coherent policy to reverse this perception and the absolute decline in applicants for mathematical sciences degrees with B and C grades at A-level would be to the nations’ advantage. (This issue exists across the UK, although Scotland pupils sit Highers and Advanced Highers, rather than A-levels.)
- Looking externally, there is much work to be done to address the overwhelmingly negative attitude of the populace to mathematics. There is a need for a well-designed communication strategy which addresses all individuals across all ages.
The Prime Minister’s aspiration of extending maths education to age 18 in England, and the responses to it, suggest the absolute centrality of addressing these and related mathematical science priorities, and integrating mathematical skills into the UK’s economy, society, and political culture. It also demonstrates the importance of considering how the Academy and others might tackle these issues holistically.
Q7. Priorities will arise over time – are the priorities above the right ones to begin the work of the education workstream?
Q8. Are there other areas you would like to see prioritised instead?
5. Implementation of Mathematical Sciences
Q9. What can we do now, as a proto-Academy, to increase awareness of the Academy amongst mathematical scientists working in all sectors of the community and encourage them to engage with the Academy and influence its activities and direction?
Q10. One of the attractions of an Academy is it can facilitate the education, academic and practice sectors working together. What do you see as the most effective model for sharing expertise between these different sectors to improve the implementation of mathematical sciences in all areas of the economy?
6. Academies & Societies
Q11. What areas of engagement would benefit from an Academic Affairs committee of the Academy which was able to speak for Mathematical Sciences as a whole?
Q12. How can the Academy best work with existing learned societies in the mathematical sciences?
Q13. How should the Academy foster constructive relationships with existing National Academies? This includes geographic national academies such as the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Learned Society of Wales, and discipline-specific academies such the Royal Society and the British Academy.
7. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
Q14. What are in your opinion the three highest priorities concerning EDI in the mathematical sciences community in the UK?
Q15. The EDI workstream is eager to engage with groups active in EDI across the mathematical sciences community to seek input from these on a regular basis. Which types of engagement/communication do you think would work best?
Q16. What activities and relationships should the Academy develop to promote a more diverse and inclusive mathematical sciences community in the UK?
8. Early Career Mathematical Scientists
Q17. How do we ensure that all people who enter the workforce outside academia, with bachelors’ or masters’ degrees or doctorates in mathematical sciences, continue to engage actively with mathematical sciences, and consider themselves to be, mathematical scientists”?
Q18. How do we make sure that the full community of early career mathematical scientists is represented and heard by the Academy – including early career researchers, teachers, and people working in industry, commerce, and government?
Q19. What actions and activities should the Academy take on to support and build the early career community?
- Actions within the communities of practitioners, teachers, and academics.
- Actions across the whole early career community.
Q20. What should be our three highest priorities for the early career community?
We have carried out the work to test the options – and have decided that the Academy should be a charity. Of the different forms of charity, a CIO (Chartered Incorporated Organisation) is the right form for the Academy to take.
Q21. Do you have any comments on the Academy’s plans for charitable status?
Q22. Do you agree that this structure, including the Trustees, is suitable to keep the Academy constructively and appropriately working towards the flourishing and support of the mathematical sciences and their impact?
Q23. Do you have any other comments on this section?
Q24. Do you have any comments on the proposed model of Fellowship?
Q25. “Excellence” is seen in many places in the mathematical sciences: in classrooms, elsewhere in education, in research, industry, government, finance, charities and more. What does “excellence” look like in your field/sector/community?
Q26. We are determined that the Academy will have Fellows from all parts of the mathematical sciences community, including teachers and other educators, research, academia, and innovators and practitioners of the mathematical sciences in industry, commerce, government and elsewhere. We will also have Fellows from all fields of mathematical sciences – and a diverse and inclusive Fellowship. How do we best ensure equity, diversity and inclusiveness amongst our Fellows?
Q27. Do you have any suggestions for the criteria that might be suitable for selecting Fellows working in your area of mathematical sciences?
Q28. Do you have any other comments on these proposals?
Q29. The Finance section sets out expected activities (in terms of what people hired do in similar organisations); a range of costings; and possible sources of funds. Do you have any comments on whether we are missing any activities that the Academy should pursue; or activities in the list that you think the Academy should not carry out? Are we right to look at all these sources of funds?
Q30. Are there any other comments that you want to provide?