UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: DCSF and BIS Response to Science and Learning Expert Group Report

Press Release   •   Feb 25, 2010 10:20 GMT

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Department for Children, Schools and Families thank Sir Mark Walport and the Science and Learning Expert Group for their report and will now consider the recommendations he makes.

Schools Minister Iain Wright said:

“There’s a lot to be proud of in science education – more and more young people are taking science qualifications, there’s record investment in science teachers, the 2007 TIMMS study showed that we lead Europe on maths and science, and we’re putting more stretch and challenge into exams.

“I’m pleased Sir Mark Walport applauds the huge strides we’ve made in the last few years thanks to sustained Government commitment, and that he highlights the UK’s strong showing in international comparison studies.

“He raises some important issues expressed to him by stakeholders. Many are already being addressed, such as the need for greater maths content in GCSE science, the need to continue recruiting and supporting specialist teachers and the requirement for science A levels to have greater stretch and challenge.

“This gives us great encouragement we’re on the right track. But we are not complacent. There is more we need to do to build confidence in the system, and make sure it is responsive to the needs of stakeholders.

“We will now consider the recommendations carefully. I am grateful to Sir Mark and the expert group for the work they put into this project, and would like to thank them for the report.”

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said:

“The UK is a world-leading science and research nation. It is imperative that students are stretched by science education as the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians will be vital for securing strong economic growth in the years ahead. I am grateful for Sir Mark’s report which makes a number of recommendations to build on the significant progress we have made in recent years.”

Notes to Editors

1. The Science and Learning Expert Group report can be downloaded at http://interactive.bis.gov.uk/scienceandsociety/site/learning/

2. Five independent expert groups were created in May 2009 by Lord Drayson, Science and Innovation Minister. These groups aimed to engage the science community, media, public, business and policy makers to help change cultural attitudes to science in the UK.

3. Science and Learning Expert Group – headed by Sir Mark Walport Director of the Wellcome Trust – aimed to develop, in consultation with relevant stakeholders and delivery partners, an Action Plan for improving the overall coherence of activity across Science and Learning and with other strands in the Science and Society Strategy.

4. For more information, please contact Oliver Lane, DCSF press office 020 7340 8111, oliver.lane@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk or Rachel Clarke, BIS press office, 18002 020 7215 5945, Rachel.clarke@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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