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Biology needs to get out more

More than 30 MPs want field trips to be made compulsory for all A-level biology students amid claims that many now gain degrees in the subject without ever having ventured outdoors.

Ian Gibson, Labour MP and chair of the Parliamentary select committee for science, said: "Basically, pupils never get their hands dirty now and that's wrong."

A cross-party group of backbenchers is backing his Parliamentary early day motion, which also urges the Government to encourage more field trips at GCSE and provide training for teachers to run them.

Their demands follow a Field Studies Council report which estimated 80 per cent of pupils under the age of 16 never do fieldwork, while two-thirds of A-level biology students had one day or less. Schools might never produce another Charles Darwin because of this omission, said the report.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has asked schools to identify how much fieldwork they do, as part of regular curriculum monitoring work.

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