Shortage of science graduates will thwart manufacturing-based recovery

Too few women studying science, maths and engineering and a curb on immigration make government hopes forlornyoung scientists

The government’s hope that it can drive an economic recovery by growing the UK’s manufacturing industry will be thwarted by a lack of science and technology graduates, a report suggests.

The report – which concludes that there is an annual shortfall of 40,000 science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates – has been released amid calls for a national campaign to boost the number of women in science.

A spokesman for the Social Market Foundation (SMF) thinktank, said the number of home-grown graduates in STEM subjects needs to increase by half just to keep science-related industries at their current size.

If the government would like to grow these sectors to drive a recovery at the same time as reducing migration, the shortfall balloons even further.

Nida Broughton, a senior economist at the SMF, said: “The government has made clear its aim to rebalance the UK economy towards manufacturing and away from financial services. But it has also pledged to reduce immigration. Our analysis shows that the gulf between skills and jobs makes these aims incompatible in the short-term.”

The manufacturers’ association, the EEF, estimates that 90% of Britain’s engineers are male and 80% of workers in the manufacturing industry are male. That compares with other sectors, where men are an average of 51% of the workforce.


School leavers lack key employability skills

A survey published by the Confederation of British Industry highlights the lack of key employability skills in the majority of young school leavers. Key areas of concern are English, numeracy, self-management and the growing decline in students taking STEM subjects.

A spokesman for the Department of Education agreed that it is right for employers to raise concerns and commented that the Government are commited to “The recruitment of specialist maths teachers, introducing phonics-based reading for six-year-olds and restoring the rigour of GCSE and A-level exams” in order to help improve matters.

See the full BBC news story here:

Nationwide Education will soon be launching an Employability  resources for ages 4-16 helping to develop key employability skills in students and to encourage career aspirations. Keep checking the website for more details.

National Grid awarded ‘Beacon’ status by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service

Featured  in the Design and Technology with ICT Education Show, National Grid have been awarded ‘Beacon’ status by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, placing them in the top 10% of education providers in the UK.

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National Grid Education – new case study

We have recently updated the case studies on our website including the visually engaging National Grid Education ‘School Power’!

Screenshot of the National Grid Education web siteAimed at 4-11 year olds, their teachers and parents as well as being a portal of information for volunteers, National Grid Education’s School Power brings Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to life in an extraordinary way.

Interactive storybooks deliver oftentimes complex science messages in a simple yet engaging way that allows children to relate science themes to their everyday lives.

To find out more visit: National Grid Education case study dbda

GO, Account Manager


Staff’s confidence crisis hits science grades

TES  reports on the findings from Ofsted’s ‘Successful Science’ review of science teaching in schools from 2007-2010 which found that science teaching in primary schools has deteriorated over the last three years due to teachers’ “lack of confidence”, Ofsted has warned, however standards have improved in secondary schools.

Areas of particular concern included primary teachers’ limited knowledge of science, the low take-up of continuing professional development and reduced levels of local authority support.

The review found that in weaker primaries, pupils had “fewer opportunities to plan and carry out investigative activities”, and many repeated their learning when they moved between key stages due to “weak communication and poor continuity”. However the abolition of science testing at KS2 had allowed more “varied”, “engaging” and “enjoyable” lessons.

Source: TES and Ofsted ‘Successful Science’  ndp dbda

Examples of engaging and stimulating science resources:
National Grid Education – School Power
Syngenta Periodic Table


ndp dbda

Ofsted finds science improving in secondary schools

The quality of science education has improved over the past three years with pupils’ progress in science reported as good or outstanding in 70% of primary schools and in two thirds of secondary schools visited. However there are areas that need further improvement, particularly in primary schools.

Key points for dbda:
– in schools which showed clear improvement in science subjects, key factors in promoting students’ engagement, learning and progress were more practical science lessons and development of the skills of scientific enquiry
– the best science education has scientific enquiry and other aspects of ‘how science works’ at its heart
– insufficient professional development  in science to tackle the lack of confidence amonst primary teachers, particularly in their understanding of scientific enquiry skills and the physical sciences
– lack of specialist training and short tenure in the role, limited the effectiveness of science coordinators in developing teaching and raising achievements in primary schools
– secondary teachers in particular benefited from attending courses at the network of Science learning Centres, but too few of the schools visited had taken advantage of this high quality provision

Ofsted’s report ‘Successful Science’ is based on an evaluation of science education in England 2007-10 which looked at the strengths and weaknesses of science in 94 primary schools, 94 secondary schools, two special schools and 31 colleges.

For full report:

Source: Ofsted (Nicki)

Learn STEM, find hamburgers for aliens

Last year US President Barack Obama initiated the National STEM Video Game Challenge, and now this has borne fruit in the form of Mission Earth: The Search for Hamburgers. The Video Game Challenge’s official web site showcases many more games like it.

Source: Kotaku (Jamie)

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