Schoolzone: Britain needs more scientists and engineers

Britain needs more scientists and engineers


11 Sept 2014


“Britain needs more scientists and more engineers” According to the new education secretary (she's called Nicky Morgan, by the way), who wants our next generation to compete successfully in the international market. The solution to this? Inspire primary aged children into careers in science and engineering, of course.

Autumn will see the launch of our Mrs Morgan’s first major campaign, encouraging girls to become more interested in these careers. This dovetails nicely with her role has Equalities Minister.

In a system which is focused upon ‘closing the gap between boys and girls’, schools are increasingly under pressure to invest in solutions that encourage boys' writing through ‘boy-friendly’ topics and resources, whilst encouraging girls' interest in maths and science through role models and experiences.

During my own time of teaching in KS1, our writing about dinosaurs produced the best boy’s writing I had seen – coincidence? Of course not. The boys loved the topic and writing a letter about a dinosaur loose in the school grounds was the perfect scenario. I am not sure if this conformed to a gender stereotype of boys and dinosaurs, but I am not too worried, because it got them engaged in something that was previously more challenging, show-casing their capabilities as writers. The icing on the cake… the girls enjoyed it and developed their writing skills equally.

Does this pressure on neutralising gender stereotypes mean getting rid of pink Lego blocks? The female Lego sets of the Astronomer, the Palaeontologist, and the Chemist flew off the shelves in days, after all.

What is important is that whatever it is that makes children play, explore, create and develop has got to be a good thing.  

Jenny Winstanley






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