A few months ago, Education for Engineering (E4E), the body representing the professional engineering community on education and skills matters, published the first in a series of reports on pupils’ participation and attainment in science and mathematics qualifications at key stage 4 in England.
The first report, entitled ‘Opportunity or Ability?’, examined national and regional GCSE results, as well as differences in participation and attainment in science and mathematics between co-ed and single sex schools in both the state-maintained and independent sectors. Read More
The report by the Royal Academy of Engineering published this week looks to put an end to a very long running debate – does the UK produce enough STEM graduates?
Those with long memories will count the number of times analysts have pointed to graduate destination data to show that a proportion of scientists eschew science careers and that engineers don’t always choose engineering employers. This usually provokes a row over what that data means for the economy, for university funding, and for those considering investing in a university education. Read More
The House of Lords Science & Technology Committee has published its new report on Higher Education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) Subjects, following an extensive inquiry to which CaSE submitted evidence.
Lord Willis, chair of the sub-committee responsible for the report, commented that “it is vital that higher education in the UK has a strong STEM sector and is able to produce the graduates and postgraduates hi-tech industries will demand.” Read More
Posted in Blog, Highlights
Also tagged Education
Posted in Blog
Also tagged Consultation, Education
The UK’s schools are not producing enough technologists. Evidence from sources such as the CBI, DBIS and NESTA reveals that many sectors of UK business and employment are experiencing severe skills shortages which threaten our international competitiveness. Most of these are related to applications of digital technologies.
The new Centre for Innovation in Technological Education (CITTE) aims to change that. It will support schools in strengthening the way technological education is integrated into the curriculum – to develop students’ technical and employability skills. Its approach will promote more positive perceptions of technology in teachers, parents and children – through stimulating, collaborative activities. Read More
It’s been an exciting few weeks in the world of education policy. Amidst all the media coverage last week of a possible return to O-level examinations, you could be forgiven for forgetting that a draft national curriculum has now been published for primary schools. Documents for English, mathematics and science are now available to view on the Department for Education’s website to allow for informal consultation.
Reaction so far to the mathematics curriculum has been mixed. The inclusion of Roman numerals has attracted particular attention in the newspapers, along with memorising multiplication tables all the way up to 12 times 12 (CXLIV of course). Whether or not being able to count like the Romans did should be an educational priority is a moot point. Read More
From large scale power and water infrastructure to the nanotechnology and bioengineering that are beginning to enhance our daily lives, the products of engineering are ubiquitous in modern society. This makes it a subject of huge importance to the global economy, and to humanity as a whole.
Yet, we take much of this for granted. It is perhaps time engineering is better acknowledged for its contributions, not only to improving our quality of life, but the contribution that investment in technology and engineering projects makes to growth. In 2009, UK industry contributed 21% of the country’s GDP. Although UK engineering is highly successful, it is vital that it maintains its competitive position.
Yesterday HEFCE announced an allocation of £5.3 billion to universities and colleges in England for 2012-13, plus additional ring-fenced allocations of £80 million and tuition fees loans (via BIS) of £3.6 billion – a total of £9.5 billion. This is an increase of £200 million on the 2011-12 allocation of £9.3 billion.
The media regularly announces a national ‘crisis’ in engineering skills, with substantial numbers of engineers quoted as being needed during a given timeframe. These headlines are often sparked by shortages in specific sectors, regions and companies. But does this reflect reality?
David Willetts delivers his speech at Policy Exchange
We may be barely into 2012 but it seems that BIS were busy over the Christmas break. At Policy Exchange this morning, David Willetts delivered a speech on ‘Our hi-tech future’ which also included the launch of new Research Council impact reports. Coverage of the speech in the morning’s media on the BBC website and a interview on BBC Radio 4 had focused on an idea for ‘privately funded science universities’. However, while Higher Education Institutions are central to the plan, the speech went much further that this, with the intention to ‘set the Government’s goal that we should be the best place in the world to do science’.
With my professional careers adviser hat on, I would like to add to CaSE Director Imran Khan’s commentary on the ‘Is there a shortage of scientists?’ paper which was published in the British Journal of Educational Studies and picked up by the press recently on the basis of a press release issued by the British Educational Research Association.
Yesterday we saw some surprising coverage suggesting that new figures “cast doubt on the government’s drive to encourage teenagers to study [science and engineering] at university.”
That’s quite a claim to make, particularly at a time when HEFCE and the Government are considering yet more changes to Higher Education funding in light of discussions following the White Paper.
However, I don’t believe they stand up to scrutiny. I’ve written an article for the Guardian’s Comment is Free explaining why a continued emphasis on science and engineering is important, and the Royal Academy of Engineering have also issued their own response.
It’s clear that not only are these subjects worth studying for their own inherent value, but that employers in all fields – not just science and engineering sectors – find them incredibly valuable; policy-makers should take note.
Posted in Blog, Highlights
Also tagged Education
Another great set of A-levels for science and maths, but huge challenges remain
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) welcomed another great year for science and maths A-levels. As well as big increases in the number of students taking maths, further maths, biology, chemistry, and physics, we also saw the ‘market share’ of these subjects increasing for the second year running. In other words, the increases are not simply a result of more students taking A-levels.
Gove with Athene Donald, member of CaSE's Advisory Council
Someone over in Downing St has their ducks in a row. While last Tuesday saw the publication of the long-awaited and delayed Higher Education White Paper, received with a fair bit of disquiet, it was sandwiched between two stories from the Department for Education.
Monday saw the release of both an important new incentive scheme for getting science and maths graduates into teaching and targeted scholarships of up to £3,500 for teachers to fund ongoing training in science and mathematics. And on Wednesday Michael Gove gave a speech to the Royal Society elaborating on the importance of mathematics and stating “And we unequivocally believe that maths and science education are at the heart of improving our society and our economy.”
The Enterprise and Learning Committee’s report on The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Agenda was published on 28 January 2011 on a wave of criticism about education standards in schools.
We highlighted a catalogue of issues – spanning the entire learning pathway – that we believe need concerted action in order to develop the STEM agenda in Wales.
CaSE has sent a letter and analysis regarding the Government’s Education proposals to Michael Gove.
The letter is supported by eminent figures in science and engineering, including Lord May and Lord Rees (former Presidents of the Royal Society), Ian Taylor (former Conservative Science Minister), Sir Harry Kroto (Nobel prize-winner), and Dame Bridget Ogilvie (former Director of the Wellcome Trust).
An article by Times science editor Mark Henderson focused on our argument that funding for teacher training should not be restricted to graduates with a 2:2 or above, but you can read the full details, below.
CaSE has responded to the measures announced by the Home Secretary on Wednesday aimed at limiting the number of non-EU migrants entering the UK. We welcome the efforts made by the Home Office to cater for the UK’s need to attract and accept talented scientists and engineers, however, we remain concerned that the changes to the systems may well decrease the number of such individuals who can enter the country.
CaSE has produced a briefing document – Science, Engineering, and the Immigration Cap: Preliminary Reaction & Proposals – analysing the Government’s announcements.
CaSE has responded to the Home Office Consultation on Limits of Non-EU Migration and the Migration Advisory Council Consultation on an Annual Limit on Economic Migration to the UK
By Katherine Barnes, Science Writer
Backlash over the Government’s interim cap on non-EU migrants continued this week, with scientists and engineers from academia and industry criticising the scheme and warning of its impact on the economy. University leaders are now protesting against a “double whammy”, with impending cuts to the science budget and an immigration cap that limits their ability to bring in top talent from abroad.
The government’s temporary cap on migrants was imposed on 28 June, in order to prevent a sudden swell in visa applications before a more permanent limit is brought in next year, but the limit was based on the number of overseas staff recruited in 2009, in the depths of recession.
Another version of this appeared on the S Word blog
Imran Khan, Director of CaSE, and Katherine Barnes, Science Writer
As the countdown towards the Comprehensive Spending Review continues, scientists are busy planning protests against what they expect will be deep cuts at Vince Cable’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Warning over brain drain
In an interview this morning on the BBC’s Today Programme, Lord Krebs, Chairman of the Lords’ Science and Technology Committee stressed that the global market for science talent is “highly mobile”, and even talk of cuts, whilst other countries are increasing spend on science, is leading to a “haemorrhage of talent” to overseas. He added that the future of the science base is also about the future of jobs and the economy, and “the Government might do well to ask itself why other countries are choosing to increase investment whilst we are talking about cutting it.”
Ian Haines is the part-time Executive Secretary of the UK Deans of Science
The UK Deans of Science (UKDS) represents the individuals (usually formally designated as Deans) who are responsible for science in Higher Education Institutes across the UK and who generally hold the budgets for science, including any research budgets. It has members in about 65 universities. Following much discussion the following statement has been agreed by the Executive Committee and has been communicated to members of the Coalition Government and others. We do not wish to make Doomsday predictions about immediate risks posed by any cut in funding for UK scientific research and development but if the government fails to grasp the opportunity of the coming Comprehensive Spending Review to make real changes the country’s economy it will be several decades before another chance offers itself and then probably only as a result of another crisis brought on by the financial sector. Of course, by then it is likely to be too late…