Science: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd March 2015.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of schools offering triple science GCSEs; what steps they will take to support more state schools in all areas to offer triple science GCSEs to their pupils; and what steps they will take to encourage the recruitment of science teachers.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Out of 3,910[1] mainstream[2] secondary schools in England with at least one pupil at the end of key stage four, 2,736 schools entered at least one pupil for triple science GCSEs[3] in 2013/14. This figure does not include schools which offered triple science GCSEs, but did not enter any pupils for these qualifications in 2013/14. It also excludes those schools with no pupils entered for triple science GCSEs but where pupils have been entered for all three of GCSE science, GCSE further science and GCSE further additional science, which together cover the same content as GCSE triple science.

The Government is providing £2.6 million in funding for the Triple Science Support Programme over the period 2014-16. This will give state funded schools with low take up of triple science practical support and guidance on providing triple science at GCSE. The support comprises professional development for teachers, setting up networks of schools to share good practice and advice on how to overcome barriers to offering triple science such as timetabling and lack of specialist teachers.

We are continuing to attract top graduates into science teaching. For 2015/16, we are continuing to fund scholarship schemes worth £25,000 tax free in chemistry and physics. We have also announced increases in bursaries also worth up to £25,000 tax free for both these subjects and up to £15,000 tax free for biology. The new package of measures announced by the Prime Minister on 8 December 2014 to train more science and maths teachers will build on this. This £67 million package will benefit up to 17,600 teachers over the course of the next parliament.

[1] As published in the Department for Education’s 2013/14 performance tables.

[2] Does not include special schools.

[3] This includes full course GCSEs, Level 1/Level 2 certificates, Cambridge International Certificates and Edexcel certificates in physics, chemistry and biology.

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