Children’s interest in studying science is on the decline with time pressures and poor resources for teachers as the main factors, a study by the IET finds. With difficulties to engage pupil’s interest in STEM subjects arising, primary (72%) and secondary (63%) school teachers admit that heavy time pressures to teach a full curriculum is their biggest obstacle. This could be linked to dwindling popularity in the core subjects, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
More than half (57%) of primary school teachers also reported a lack of basic science resources such as Bunsen burners and barometers could also be responsible for a steady decline in interest for STEM subjects in Britain’s schools. Specifically, the research demonstrates that amongst 9 – 12 year olds, Science has shown a 10% decline, with Design & Tech down 12% and ICT / Computing falling furthest at 14% over the last four years.
The gender divide also remains an issue, with girls enjoying Art (56%) and English (38%) the most, whereas boys are most interested in Maths (49%) and ICT (46%). This is whilst it emerges that parents may be helping to reinforce gender stereotypes, with parents thinking their daughters would be most interested in the Arts, Education and Childcare, Healthcare and Hair and Beauty, and their sons most likely to go into Technology, Information Technology, Engineering, and Sport.
Aston spoke to David Lakin, head of education at IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology) to discuss the full report and what more can be done to ensure the UK has an incoming fleet of STEM students.