The contest is a Europe-wide effort, with questions designed in Strasbourg and distributed to teams of young Mathematicians across the continent. Some of the problems are posed in, and must be answered, in a foreign language, which adds a unique flavour to the competition.
The most important part of the competition however is effective teamwork. Pupils compete as a class, working together on the puzzles and submitting their best collective solutions.
Resident geek of the Maths Department, Mr Smith said: “Maths is a much more sociable pursuit these days. Whereas in the past, Maths problems would be solved by individuals working in isolation now Mathematicians are able to form connections across the world in collaborations to develop Mathematical ideas. That’s exciting and it’s nice to see that ethos epitomised in the incredible Mathématiques sans Frontières competition.
“Every once in a while, you’ll teach a bunch of students who secure their legendary status. My Advanced Higher class from this year have done that. Back in S3 they finished third in Scotland for this contest. They followed that up with a second place finish in S4. We were delighted when they were crowned the national 2018 champions in S5. Not only did they retain their title as top team in Scotland this year but they also achieved 100% across the 13 problems. They are an amazing bunch who are intelligent, funny, kind, enthusiastic, talented, creative, geeky and they each have massive futures ahead of them. I’m going to miss them like crazy.
“I feel like the manager of a successful football team where the entire squad is retiring. We’ll need to start training up the youngsters and rebuild a new generation of contenders. However, our S4 team finished in the top 10 in the S4 contest and our 3M2 and 3M1 classes finished fourth and second respectively so we’re in good shape for the future.”
The results were revealed at a ceremony held at the brand new Blantyre Campus of University of the West of Scotland with Dr Alan Walker giving a presentation about the relevance of Maths for a variety of career pathways.
As a reward for Grange's phenomenal success, the competition organisers arranged for the Happy Puzzle Company to provide a day of hands-on Maths puzzling activities for a range of pupils from across S2, S3 and S4 at Grange.
Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning said: “What an incredible achievement by our marvellous Mathematicians from Grange Academy. Our young people have been a credit to their school, to East Ayrshire and wonderful representatives for Scotland.
“Their prize of a puzzle day was enjoyed by younger pupils who loved the experience.”