Select Committee on Science and Technology Tenth Report


The Select Committee is concerned at the decline in the number of A-level entries in the sciences, and at the impact this may have on the future skill levels of the UK workforce. The inquiry will therefore focus on the role of teachers and teaching methods in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics from Key Stage 3 to A-level in state schools.

The current situation

  • The numbers of teachers in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics, including the numbers teaching outside their specialism.
  • Regional variations in the supply of specialist teachers.
  • The retention levels for science teachers.

Attracting science teachers

  • The incentives that exist to attract new graduates and those from other professions.
  • Other measures that could be taken to increase teacher numbers.
  • The effectiveness of teacher training in science subjects.

Teaching science

  • The adequacy of professional support for science teachers.
  • The effect of changes in the curriculum on attracting/retaining science teachers.
  • The impact upon teaching of schemes designed to help generate enthusiasm in young people for science subjects.
  • The effect on learning of class size or teaching to single-sex classes.
  • The role of the practical in teaching science.


  • Variations between schools in the teaching of science, including specialist schools, academies and CTCs; procedures for exchange of best practice.
  • The condition of school labs, and provision and use of lab technicians and teaching assistants.
  • Links between schools, universities and industry, to facilitate science teaching.

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