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STEM Subjects

Volume 646: debated on Monday 10 September 2018

To address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths skills, the Government are committed to encouraging more students into STEM education and training. We are investing an additional £406 million in skills, including in maths and digital, and this includes the advanced maths premium and an £84 million programme to improve the teaching of computing.

I welcome the investment to which the Minister referred. Does he agree that it is at primary school where children need to be encouraged to enjoy maths? Initiatives such as the green car challenge run by south Shropshire engineering ambassadors, where year 6 pupils in south Shropshire make a vehicle that can run on renewable energy, can excite young people and bring STEM subjects to life.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Excellent projects such as the green car challenge for year 6 pupils in schools in south Shropshire help to bring science to life and they help to motivate those pupils when they start secondary school where, since 2010, the proportion taking at least two science GCSEs has risen from 63% of 16-year-olds in 2010 to 91% now.

Does the Secretary of State and the rest of the Education Department recognise the importance of agricultural science to help address the need for more food production in this country on the back of the forthcoming Bill? Is it not about time that we included agricultural science in the STEM subjects?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right about the importance of agriculture and of studying agricultural sciences. The sciences—maths, chemistry, physics and biology—are important preparation for studying agriculture post-16.