Press release

Study reveals a quarter of schoolchildren hope to work in science

The government announces more than £12 million to support science teaching in schools.

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New data published today (Tuesday 6 December) shows more than a quarter of teenagers in England are considering a career in science, while three-quarters of pupils believe their science lessons are helping to prepare them for life post education.

The results, as published in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 report, also showed pupils in England typically report being given greater opportunity in science lessons to explain their ideas, draw conclusions from an experiment and conduct investigations than pupils in other high-performing countries.

To support the teaching of science in schools the government has today announced a £12.1 million investment until 2019. The multi-million pound package will provide continued professional development for science teachers, support schools to share best practice and offer tailored in-school support. The programme will be delivered through a network of national science learning partnerships and also support schools to encourage more teenagers to take GCSE triple science - physics, chemistry and biology.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

We are determined to give all young people the world-class education they need to fulfil their potential. It is encouraging to see so many young people setting their ambitions high, as we know science is valued by employers and is linked to higher earnings.

Studying science offers a wide range of options following school - whether that’s a career in medicine, engineering or teaching science in the classroom these are the vital skills needed for the future productivity and economic prosperity of this country. This extra funding will further support high-quality science teaching in our schools.

More than a quarter of pupils (28%) in England hope to be working in a science-related career by the time they are 30, a significant increase compared to 16% in 2006.

The PISA study is conducted every 3 years and tests 15-year-olds in science, maths and reading in over 70 participating countries. More than 5,000 teenagers were tested and surveyed in England and also asked about their learning experience and future aspirations.

Further information

Sixty-eight per cent of pupils in England believe that the content of their school science lessons is helping to prepare them for the future and 71% of pupils believe it will help them to get a job when they leave school. This is significantly higher than the OECD average.

England continues to perform above the OECD average in science, remains at the OECD average in maths and performs significantly, but only just, above the OECD average in reading.

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Published 6 December 2016