Compulsory science is lunacy

15th January 2010 at 00:00

Congratulations to Professor Sir John Holman, director of the National Science Learning Centre, on his knighthood. But I would like to put a counter-argument to his article "Science GCSE has our future in its hands" (January 8).

I believe making science a compulsory GCSE subject is lunacy. Not everyone is good at, nor likes, science. We are forcing a generation to study a subject they have no intention of taking further than GCSE and which they will never use. Worse, they spoil lessons for those who are interested.

I have no dispute over the statement that "the UK needs many high-quality scientists, engineers and technicians", but the truth lies in the "high-quality" - and some of our students will never be that.

But Professor Holman is correct to say the crucial thing for pupils is choice - a choice whether to study science for GCSE would be my option. If implemented, I think we would see more students opting to study A-level sciences as the quality of teaching at GCSE would be better without the disruptive influence of those who hate the subject. As a student once said to me when I observed a dire science lesson on food chains: "When the f*** am I ever going to use this in my life? I want to be a builder."

Sarah Howes, Deputy headSenco, Croydon.

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