(2) what steps he is taking to increase the uptake of fieldwork by pupils in secondary schools.
The Department has not commissioned research to examine the link between take up of fieldwork in secondary schools and the number of post-16 students taking science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.
The Government are doing much to increase the take up of fieldwork by pupils in secondary schools. This includes:
Contracting with the Association for Science Education to run a support programme to improve the use of practical work in science across secondary schools.
Sending Practical Work in Science booklets to all secondary schools which include good examples of fieldwork activity.
Continuing to fund the National Network of Science Learning Centres to provide continuing professional development opportunities for teachers including those that support the use of fieldwork across all stage of the curriculum.
Publishing the STEM directory of science enhancement and enrichment activities which lists a vast range of activities, including fieldwork related ones, that schools can access to enliven science teaching and learning.
Developing online resources and guidance through Government funding for the Action Plan for Geography, which is managed by the Royal Geographical Society and the Geographical Association to help teachers with fieldwork. These are available on the Geography Teaching Today website which includes a virtual fieldwork and local learning centre to help teachers make the most of geography in their local areas. This includes expert advice and planning on embedding fieldwork in the curriculum.
The Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto which was launched in November 2006 and aims to provide all young people with quality learning experiences outside the classroom covering the whole curriculum. This is made explicit in the new secondary curriculum which also provides that practical and enquiry skills are something that pupils need to learn to make progress in their science and geography learning.