Science - Research shows it's 'cool'

19th March 2010 at 00:00

School science is "cool" again, according to a public survey of attitudes towards medical research, funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The Wellcome Monitor, a survey of almost 1,200 adults and 400 young people aged 14-18, explored awareness, interest, knowledge and attitudes relating to medical research. It also examined the young people's attitudes to science education and careers.

The release of the findings coincided with the launch of National Science and Engineering Week last week.

Published by the National Centre for Social Research, the survey found that 81 per cent of young people said science lessons were interesting, with nearly a quarter describing them as "very interesting". This compared with 69 per cent of adults who said they had found science lessons interesting when they were at school.

The findings contrasted with many of the findings in the ROSE (Relevance of Science Education) survey in Scotland in 2006, which reported:

- school science provides little motivational interest for pupils taking the less demanding courses;

- only a small minority "like school science better than most other subjects";

- few agreed that school science had taught them to think more critically;

- pupils rated primary school science as neither interesting nor a good preparation for secondary;

- there was very strong support for the benefits of practical work.

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