The demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills is growing, particularly for sectors such as engineering, construction and manufacturing. To support this, the Government has made substantial spending commitments for mathematics, digital and technical education. The Government is also encouraging more students into STEM, from primary school to higher education.
Mathematics, science and computing are compulsory subjects in all state-maintained schools, which pupils will study at least until age 16. State-maintained schools must teach the national curriculum programmes of study for these subjects in full, which ensures that all pupils gain a thorough and rigorous grounding in each discipline. Academies and free schools are also required to teach mathematics and science as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, using the national curriculum as an exemplar.
At GCSE, the majority of pupils enter mathematics and science, and entries to computer science continue to rise. Entries to STEM A-levels are also rising, with a 26% increase between 2010 and 2019. The Government is funding programmes to increase the take-up of mathematics (such as the Advanced Maths Premium), computing and physics, and to support better teaching of mathematics, science and computing in schools. This includes a new £84 million programme to improve computing teaching. This also includes focused action to address existing gender imbalances in STEM, which are more pronounced in subjects such as physics, computing and mathematics.
The Government has committed to improving STEM careers advice in schools in the Department’s careers strategy, including for sectors such as energy. The Department is also raising awareness of the range of careers that STEM qualifications offer, through programmes such as STEM ambassadors.