Ofsted has today published an evaluation of science education in schools and colleges in England from 2007 to 2010. Responding to the report’s findings, Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:
Science is a critically important subject for this country which needs to be taught by those with knowledge and flair. It is good that many schools are providing pupils with an excellent science education, but it is disappointing that some of our brightest pupils are being held back because of a lack of expertise. The recent PISA study also gives cause for concern, with England slipping down the international league tables in science - from 4th in 2000 to 16th in 2009.
As Ofsted points out, teachers must be properly equipped with the right skills and knowledge if standards in our schools are to improve. Our recent White Paper outlines how we will do this - by creating more opportunities for teachers to learn from each other and by building a new cadre of teaching schools, which will act as local centres of excellence in teacher training and development.
We will also review the National Curriculum to make sure pupils are properly equipped for further study. The introduction of the new English Baccalaureate, which will include science GCSEs, will also provide a powerful incentive for schools to drive participation in science at GCSE and beyond.
We hope all schools and FE colleges will learn from the best practice shown in this report to drive improvement in science education.