Science, technology and engineering are critical to the future of Britain and the wider world. However, as the new school year starts, Britain’s parents feel the next generation of scientists could be at risk if schools don’t keep up with technological and scientific advances, new research has found. The research quizzed parents of about current science lessons and their own memories of science at school.
In a survey undertaken by Opinion Matters last month, an overwhelming 87% of parents of children under the age of 25 said they felt children would be far more engaged in science lessons if they incorporated the most advanced technology as learning tools. However, almost seven in ten (68%) believed schools aren’t keeping up with the latest available technical innovations.
While science subjects are becoming more popular at A-Levels and GCSE – more than half a million pupils took GCSE science in one form or another this year – the government itself admits that only a handful of schools and colleges are taking steps to put technology at the heart of the classroom. Last month Education Secretary Damian Hinds called on UK and Silicon Valley tech firms to work with government and educators to provide support in this area.
At the same time, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, recently said science was being “squeezed out” of the curriculum in primary schools as teachers focused on preparing pupils for their maths and English SATs.
So, how do we get more children interested in science at earlier ages? And how do we equip schools and teachers to make the teaching of science more fun and engaging?
Companies such as the Bristol-based start-up, Interactive Scientific, believe they are part of the solution enabling children to grow up loving, not dreading their science lessons.
With fewer girls than boys choosing to study STEM subjects at secondary school and university and with just 14.4% of STEM jobs going to women in the UK, it’s hoped that the take up of high-tech teaching tools in classrooms around the country will not just stimulate more children, but inspire more teenage girls to embrace science and perhaps also one day produce the next Marie Curie.