Press release

Education Minister launches the Big Bang Fair

Elizabeth Truss opens the UK’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Today Elizabeth Truss welcomed the first excited visitors to the UK’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people.

Speaking at the launch of the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, the Education Minister reiterated the value of maths and science to the UK economy and praised the event for showcasing how imaginative and varied the subjects can be.

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said:

The Big Bang Fair brings to life the exciting opportunities maths and science open up.

I was impressed by the sheer variety of activities taking place, from mathematical magic tricks to taste tests.

Elizabeth Truss MP opens The Big Bang Fair 2014

The Big Bang Fair takes place in March every year and aims to inspire young people about the opportunities that exist for those with the right experience and qualifications in these subjects. The fair also hosts the finals of the National Science and Engineering Competition, with thousands of students from across the country competing to claim one of the most prestigious science and engineering honours for young people.

The minister spoke of the many exciting careers prospects which science and maths can lead to, as well as the higher salaries which young people with these skills can command.

She said:

The range of high profile employers present at the fair - including GCHQ, Siemens and Rolls Royce - show the careers these subjects can open up.

Maths commands the highest earnings in the jobs market and roles in tech and science are paid 20% more than other jobs.

That is why we are determined to raise standards in maths and science by reforming the curriculum and recruiting the brightest and the best into teaching.

We are already seeing improvements. A record number of students are taking single science GCSEs. A record number of students are taking maths and science A levels. The message is getting across that maths and science gets you everywhere.

A recent study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on public attitudes to science shows an increasing understanding of the importance of science.

In 2008 fewer than a third strongly agreed that young people’s interest in science was essential for our future prosperity. Now in 2014, more than half think that.

The minister’s visit came after she spoke at the launch of an All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy on Wednesday. The cross-party group of MPs will raise awareness about the importance of basic maths skills and inform policy on improving adult numeracy and the future teaching of maths in schools.

Notes to editors

See a video of the minister launching the fair.

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Published 13 March 2014