As it stands, school students learn maths and science right the way through primary and secondary school until they reach the age of 16. It is then when they have a chance to either discontinue the subjects or continue to further their knowledge into AS and A Level.
The Royal Society has recommended, in a report on the future of education, that all pupils must study maths and science until the age of 18 as part of a broad-based, baccalaureate-style qualification.
The Royal Society’s ambition for the next 20 years of science and mathematics education is that it should enable people to make informed choices, empower them to shape scientific and technological developments, and equip them to work in an advanced economy.
This is necessary if the UK is to maintain its position as a world leader in science and engineering, achieve economic growth and to secure the health and well-being of the whole nation.
The Vision aims to raise the general level of mathematical and scientific knowledge and provide confidence in the population and the skills employers need.
There is currently fantastic practice in primary and secondary schools and colleges across the UK’s four nations. The Vision for science and mathematics education from 5–18 years of age offers a way to build on these foundations and to ensure that the UK’s education systems meet the needs of all in the 21st century.
Sir Martin Taylor, the warden of Merton College, Oxford, who chaired the committee, said the aim was to link learning and skills to the current and future needs of the economy.
He said: “We know the analytical and problem-solving skills acquired by studying mathematics and science are greatly prized by many employers. What we need now is a stable education system that is properly designed to meet this need.”
One of the report’s strongest recommendations is that all primary schools have access to at least one specialist teacher in science and mathematics, and for all post-primary science and mathematics lessons to be taught by qualified subject specialists.
I, for one, think that this is an incredible idea. The problem seems to be that many soon-to-be college and sixth form students appear to be relieved that they don’t have to ever learn science and maths again when it becomes a choice to do it or not.
I believe it depends on the teaching method – meaning if it’s kept to lecture theatres, where students are forced to just listen and dictate the teacher’s rules, then it gets dull and routine. The idea designed by companies, such as TG Escapes, have the right idea when it comes to changing things up and keeping them interesting. Children and teens will undoubtedly benefit from these kind of methods, and will hopefully want to continue these subjects without being forced to do so by new proposals.
Nonetheless, the new proposals will bring out a smarter generation of children, especially if the silent classroom routine is scrapped, and an alternative, more upbeat way of teaching is brought in.