'Championing the rights of children'

Schools blighted by 'science deserts', minister warns

Garry Wed 07 May 2014 16:40

A new campaign is launched by George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, to get more pupils to study science and engineering as it emerges that no girls take physics A-levels in half of mixed schools.

Half of mixed schools are failing to enter any girls for A-levels in physics amid mounting concerns over the creation of "science deserts" in England, ministers have warned.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, said it was “not good enough” that so few girls study traditional subjects to a high level.

He said a dramatic change was needed in schools to overcome the perception that science and engineering is part of Britain's “great industrial past” with little relevance to the 21st century.

The comments were echoed by Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, who said the country was blighted by "science deserts" where few teenagers study the sciences to the age of 18.

At half of all mixed state schools, no girls are studying physics at A-level at all, she said.

More pupils have started taking the sciences at GCSE level aged 16 but beyond this point the "pipeline of talent is broken", she said.

The comments were made as a major cross-government campaign was launched designed to get more pupils into science, technology, engineering and maths – the so-called STEM subjects.

Read more... (Daily Telegraph - 7 May)