In response to the criticisms of Twenty-First Century Science GCSE made in The Times on 11 October 2006, Philip Greenish, Chief Executive of The Royal Academy of Engineering made the following statement:

"The teaching of science at GCSE level must both excite and enthuse young people in science and its applications and prepare them for higher level study. The new science GCSE aims to make scientific issues accessible to a wider audience than has previously been the case, which has the potential to increase pupils’ appetite for studying we desperately need more scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Good scientific learning in schools is an essential underpinning of good engineering practice.

"The new science GCSE has an additional advantage: it helps to move the discussion of science and engineering from the periphery of public debate to its centre. For example, MMR is an important topic for millions of families in the country - to divorce discussion of it from the study of science would be a missed opportunity.

"Of course pupils should learn fundamental scientific principles. However, the study of science risks becoming an arid exercise if the focus is purely on the mastery of key scientific precepts. This is one of the reasons why there is a relative shortage of students studying science in the first place".

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Richard Wilson, Director of Communications at The Royal Academy of Engineering