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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 12:10 GMT
Maths and music specialist school
Hackney is to open the first maths and music specialist school
A specialist school planned for east London is to offer the combined specialisms of maths and music.

This will be the first of its kind in the country - and it follows growing concerns about the decline in student numbers taking maths.

The London Borough of Hackney says the linking of maths and music reflects the historic connections between the two subjects.

Mathematicians and musicians are believed to share similar aptitudes.

Mozart and maths

The school in Shoreditch will be sponsored by the financial services company UBS.

The setting up of the specialist school, due to open in September 2006, is part of a major overhaul of Hackney's secondary schools, being carried out by the Learning Trust, which runs the school system in Hackney.

This is a not-for-profit trust, chaired by former chief inspector Mike Tomlinson, which took over from the failing education authority.

Director of pupil services for the Learning Trust, Peter Wilkinson, said that the creation of a specialist school is an attempt to be "genuinely original".

There is longstanding evidence of an overlap between maths and music - and there has been considerable research into the interplay between the two disciplines.

Researchers have also investigated claims that exposure to certain types of classical music, such as the works of Mozart, can enhance maths learning.

There have also been links claimed between maths and jazz music.

"Maths is not as popular as it should be," said Mr Wilkinson, and he wants to raise the expertise of maths teaching available to state pupils in the capital.

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