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Improving maths and science education

Wednesday, June 29 2011

Michael Gove

Education Secretary Michael Gove gave a speech to the Royal Society in which he set out his vision for "a new goal for the education system so that within a decade the vast majority of pupils are studying maths right through to the age of 18."

The Secretary of State highlighted the widening gap between UK skills and the skills of emerging nations, stating that:

  • At school, British 15-year-olds' maths skills are now more than two whole academic years behind 15-year-olds in China.
  • In the last decade, we have plummeted down the international league tables: from 4th to 16th place in science; and from 8th to 28th in maths.
  • At undergraduate level, over half of degrees in China, Singapore and Japan are awarded in science and engineering subjects - compared to around a third in the UK, EU and US.

He then set out some of the measures to address the challenges that this reality presents:

  • Allocation of £135 million over the spending review period to support sustainable improvement in science and maths education in schools.
  • Better financial incentives for high-achieving graduates, especially those in shortage subjects like science and maths, to train as teachers.
  • Introduction of teaching schools - modelled on teaching hospitals - to spread outstanding practice across the education system.

"Our vision for the future is clear," said Gove.

"We are empowering teachers. We want schools to be more responsible to parents instead of to politicians. We are reducing bureaucracy as fast as we can. We want to reverse the devaluation of the exam system. We want a National Curriculum that acts as a foundation of core knowledge - not a detailed blueprint for lesson plans.

"And we unequivocally believe that maths and science education are at the heart of improving our society and our economy."

Click here to read the speech in full.

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