Science - Testing times ahead

27th January 2012 at 00:00
The majority of pupils say a career in science is 'not for me'

Although the majority of 10 and 11-year-olds enjoy science at school and have positive views of scientists, fewer than one in six aspire to a science career. This is worrying news for people who argue that we just have to make science in schools more interesting if we want to increase participation rates, particularly among girls and some under-represented groups in society.

"Liking science isn't enough" is one of 10 "facts and fictions" examined in a new publication from the Aspires team at King's College London. Led by Professor Louise Archer, the team of researchers has studied young people's career aspirations since 2009 and has surveyed more than 9,000 Year 6 pupils and interviewed over 170 children and parents. Ten Science Facts and Fictions summarises research and makes the case for the pressing need to integrate awareness of STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and maths) into the mainstream curriculum.

The Aspires team argues for a policy commitment to "science for all" that could help to attract more diverse talent, helping STEM to fulfil its national economic remit and increase the scientific literacy of all children. It's an argument worth making.

Justin Dillon is professor of science and environmental education at King's College London and is a coordinator of the Economic and Social Research Council's Targeted Initiative on Science and Mathematics Education

What else?

Find out more about STEM ambassadors and work experience with STEM guides.

Engage the artists in your class with kritur's "Draw me a scientist" lesson, or be crafty with drdavidbailey's cut-out volcano models.

See Teachers TV for a creative lesson about light through shadow theatre.

In the forums

In the TES science forum there is a debate on whether primary schools need specialist science teachers.

Teachers chat about how changes to the science curriculum in 2013 will affect assessment.

Find all links and resources at

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