UAS Newsletter – January 2005

UAS Newsletter – January 2005

The New Year sees over 180 undergraduate ambassadors going out into schools compared with 87 last year; a figure set to rise as some departments are still in the process of selecting undergraduates to go out later in the semester. For the first time we have undergraduates going into primary and junior schools as well as secondary schools and colleges. In order to grow these numbers further we undertook a range of activities last year, details of which follow:

Departmental Mailing

In October 2004 Simon Singh wrote to Heads of all Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths departments in the country (over 360 in total) informing them of the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme and inviting them to find out more. The response to this letter has been very positive and a number of departments have been visited and are planning to introduce the module into their degree programmes in 2005.

Professional Bodies

All subject and professional bodies have now been sent UAS information to raise awareness of what we are doing in their subject area. The Maths, Stats & OR Network November newsletter featured the UAS report for 2003/4 and we hope to be able to publish more articles in relevant magazines and journals in the New Year. If your organisation has a publication that would be willing to run an article on UAS please contact our Project Manager, Alex Brabbs at

Advisory Panel

The first meeting of the UAS Advisory Panel took place in November with representation from all stakeholders in UAS: university departments, subject bodies, teachers and graduates. The panel proved invaluable for highlighting issues faced by each group in relation to the module. These included the importance of departments having access to relevant information and advice, and the essential need for good communication networks between departments, schools and undergraduates. Possible solutions to overcome these issues included UAS providing a ‘crib sheet’ to aid departments in setting up the module and a list of web based resources, in addition to those already provided, detailing initiatives such as Aim Higher, SETPoints and Widening Participation etc. To try to ensure that undergraduates interested in teaching have the best possible chance of gaining an ITT place we will be sending information on UAS to all initial teacher training providers within the next month.

Conference and Articles

In order to raise our profile nationally UAS are offering sessions at relevant conferences and in January attended the Association of Secondary Education conference to provide information to schools who may be interested in having a UAS undergraduate coming into their school. In April we will be offering a session at the BCME conference – the largest mathematical education conference in the country – attended by all the leading UK mathematical organisations. On the articles front, Ray d’Inverno and Paul Cooper of Southampton University have recently had an article on their experiences of developing and piloting the UAS module at Southampton published in one of the world’s premier mathematics education journals. The article “Those who can teach: Addressing the crisis in mathematics in UK schools and universities” can be found in Educational Studies in Mathematics, 56, 343-357, 2004, Kluwer, Netherlands. The Editor’s note at the foot of the opening page invites subsequent comments, discussion, or further papers on the UAS initiative. If any organisation has a conference or publication in which they would like UAS to feature please contact me at

UAS Documentation

The template documentation provided by UAS to departments adopting the UAS module has now been revised, making it more concise and easier for new departments to edit. If you would like a copy of the new documentation please contact Alex Brabbs (via email) who will be happy to provide you with either an electronic or hard copy version.

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