Careers advice 'crucial' in encouraging greater science take-up

Aug 24, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- More pupils do physics and chemistry after the age of 16 in schools which provide a more comprehensive range of careers supervision and advice, according to new research by academics at the University of York.

The study revealed that schools which had a higher take-up of physics and chemistry were those that set up science-based work placements with local employers – and allowed a significant say in their choice of placement.

The researchers compared the take-up of physics and chemistry in four pairs of secondary schools across England in rural, semi-rural and urban locations. They included six comprehensives and two all-girl grammar schools.

The research, led by Professor Judith Bennett of the University’s Department of Education, was commissioned by the AstraZeneca Teaching Trust.

Using the National Pupil Database, the research team identified schools with similar characteristics including both 11-16 and 11-18 schools. They examined the average performance across all GCSE and Science and the average numbers going on to take A-levels as well as the proportion of those doing physics and chemistry.

Professor Bennett said: “We wanted to look at factors that influenced pupils’ decisions including particular features of the schools. The strongest message to come out is that take-up of physics and chemistry is greater where careers advice and guidance is more comprehensive.

“We found take-up was better where teachers were more heavily involved in careers advice and guidance and where pupils were able to experience science-based work placements. Pupils also appreciated being involved in the selection of their work placement.

“Schools with a high uptake were well-networked with local employers and arranged for people working in the area of science to come in and talk to pupils. Pupils were also encouraged to set up science-based societies in .”

Explore further: Precarious work schedules common among younger workers

More information: Bennett, J., Hampden-Thompson, G. and Lubben, F. (2011)  Schools that make a difference to post-compulsory uptake of science: final project report to the Astra Zeneca Science Teaching Trust. York: University of York, Department of Education. An electronic version of the report may be found at: www.york.ac.uk/education/research/research-paper/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Comprehensive schools do not reduce social mobility

Mar 04, 2011

Children are no worse off in socio-economic terms if they go to a comprehensive rather than to schools in the selective system, according to new research. The study found that when the total cohort of children ...

Positive school environments can help reduce student smoking

Jun 20, 2008

A survey of high-school children in Scotland has shown that pupils who experience positive and inclusive social environments in schools are less likely to take up smoking. New research published in the open access journal ...

Mobile phones help secondary pupils

Sep 11, 2008

Ask a teacher to name the most irritating invention of recent years and they will often nominate the mobile phone. Exasperated by the distractions and problems they create, many headteachers have ordered that pupils must ...

Shortage of physics teachers in the UK worse than ever

Nov 21, 2005

An independent report published today directly links the steep decline in the number of students taking A-level physics to the shortage of expert physics teachers. With over 30% of physics teachers due to retire in the next ...

Recommended for you

Precarious work schedules common among younger workers

Aug 29, 2014

One wish many workers may have this Labor Day is for more control and predictability of their work schedules. A new report finds that unpredictability is widespread in many workers' schedules—one reason ...

Girls got game

Aug 29, 2014

Debi Taylor has worked in everything from construction development to IT, and is well and truly socialised into male-dominated workplaces. So when she found herself the only female in her game development ...

Computer games give a boost to English

Aug 28, 2014

If you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary. It has now also been scientifically proven that someone who is good at computer games has a larger ...

Saddam Hussein—a sincere dictator?

Aug 28, 2014

Are political speeches manipulative and strategic? They could be – when politicians say one thing in public, and privately believe something else, political scientists say. Saddam Hussein's legacy of recording private discussions ...

User comments : 0