Universities are being sought by the government to open specialist post-16 free schools to encourage more pupils to study maths at A-level.

The government will also provide £350,000 dedicated funding every year to each existing and future maths school to support outreach work with local schools and colleges, schools minister Nick Gibb will announce today.

The two existing specialist maths schools – King’s Maths, linked to Kings College London, and Exeter Mathematics, sponsored by the University of Exeter and Exeter College – have been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Last year, 98 per cent of Kings’ maths students got an A or A* in their A-level mathematics, as did 75 per cent at Exeter.

The government set out plans to expand the maths schools across the country in its industrial strategy in January last year.

At the time, business secretary Greg Clark said the government would seek “partners” to help “spread” specialist maths schools across the country, but did not say who the partners would be.

Cambridge Mathematics School is due to open in 2020. It will be led by Cambridgeshire Educational Trust, in partnership with St John’s College, Cambridge.

Gibb will say the Department for Education want to encourage more students to study maths and “open up a wide range of options for future study, training and work”.

“The success of existing maths school shows the value of tapping into the expertise of our world-class universities,” he will add. “We now want more institutions to follow the lead of King’s and Exeter and help our most talented students, regardless of background and gender.”