Business leaders raise concern over science curriculum

Business leaders claim the “sheer scale of prescription” in the new science curriculum will leave pupils in England little time for practical experiments, the absence of which they believe will stop them developing a serious interest in science. This is from the BBC…

The CBI says teenagers will develop a serious interest in science only if they have the chance to get hands-on experience in the subject.

The government said the new national curriculum was “far less prescriptive”.

The CBI’s comments come on the day a consultation into the government’s new draft national curriculum closes.

In its submission to the consultation, the CBI also raised concerns about new proposals for design and technology lessons, saying the plans “lacked academic or technical rigour” and were “out of step with the needs of a modern economy”.

It says: “Encouraging young people to develop a serious interest in science depends above all on their having plenty of opportunity to get hands-on experience of conducting practical experiments.

“Achieving that in turn requires science teachers to have flexibility to innovate in how they develop young people’s scientific understanding. The scale of detailed prescription on programme content for science in particular runs the risk of hindering creative delivery.”

Neil Carberry, the CBI’s director of employment and skills, said: “Business demand for science, maths and technology skills has long outstripped supply. It risks squeezing out space for practical, hands-on experiments, which are vital to help children develop an interest in science from the start of school.

“The proposed design and technology curriculum is out of step with the needs of a modern economy. It lacks academic and technical rigour, as well as clear links to the realities of the workplace.”

Mr Carberry said that the CBI supported the government’s move to make maths more demanding, as well as plans for the majority of pupils to carry on with maths up to the age of 18.

But he called on the government to “send out a powerful signal” by extending the maths curriculum beyond GCSE examinations.

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