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Science: Education

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to raise the school science examination standards in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland. (249819)

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has responsibility for the curriculum in England only; responsibility for the rest of the United Kingdom was devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Assemblies for Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Government’s ambition is to create an education and training environment throughout the whole of England that delivers the best in science teaching and learning at every stage. To support this ambition we announced in January 2008 a £140 million strategy over the period 2008-11 to educate the next generation of scientists and mathematicians and help recruit and train more science and mathematics teachers. Much work is already under way to improve standards of science teaching and learning, including:

Raising attainment through the Secondary National Strategy;

Streamlining the curriculum to make it more manageable and focus on the key concepts of science, as well as its excitement and relevance;

Supporting 500 science and engineering clubs for pupils at key stage 3 with an interest and aptitude for science.

Providing additional incentives to recruit more high quality science graduates into science teaching.

Improving the quality of teaching by making available good quality continuing professional development through the network of Science Learning Centres, which we fund jointly with the Wellcome Trust.