Tuesday 10th October 2017
In light of the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which included boosting STEM skills as one of its ten pillars, and timed to take place six months on from the publication of the Commons Science and Technology Committee report in April: Industrial Strategy: science and STEM skills, which called for the Government to complement its raft of initiatives to increase STEM skills, including the new further education T' level, by scaling-up existing local STEM-promoting initiatives, this event will bring delegates and policymakers together to discuss the current state of STEM provision in the UK and how to ensure the future generation of scientists and engineers.
Changing Attitudes, Support for Teachers and Expanding Specialist Provision
This forum will discuss what can be done to achieve the Government’s aim to make Britain the best place in the world to study maths, science and engineering, looking at how STEM is currently delivered in schools and how it can be improved, particularly looking at the free school and specialist school models, building on high-performing examples such as the King’s College London Mathematics School. Sessions will assess what can be done to ensure more young people become engaged with STEM from an early age, with a focus on changing attitudes amongst young people and raising awareness through better careers advice of the opportunities and benefits associated with studying these subjects, particularly in the context of the Government’s ambition to see a 20% increase in the number of Maths and Science A level entries from young women by 2020. Delegates will also discuss the current teacher supply situation, including assessment of the Government’s ongoing initiatives to attract highly skilled STEM graduates into teaching as well as how to best support existing teachers and the role organisations like Maths Hubs, Science Learning Partnerships and others can play in providing support and professional development.
Changes to 16-19 Policy, the Implementation of New Institutes of Technology and Alternative Routes into Employment
In light of the Government’s pledge in the recent Industrial Strategy to set aside £170 million in funding for the creation of new Institutes of Technology, aimed at delivering high-level qualifications in STEM, alongside the commitment to put technical and vocational qualifications at the heart education policy, sessions will assess the role of alternative routes into employment in tackling the shortage of STEM skills. Delegates will consider how the new Institutes will work in practice, as well as whether the Government’s Apprenticeships scheme has a place in reducing the STEM skills gap. Attendees will also assess the recommendations from Sir Adrian Smith’s study into the feasibility of compulsory maths study, expected shortly, including how to bridge the gaps in current provision and identify new pathways, and how to apply them to other STEM subjects.
Improving Degree Provision, Funding for Research and Engaging with Employers
In the context of Brexit, and with a slight drop in the number of students taking A levels in STEM subjects in 2016, the forum will look at how to ensure a pipeline of talent for these sectors and encourage more young adults to enrol in STEM degrees. Being held a little over a year on from the Shadbolt and Wakeham Reviews, sessions will also assess how much progress has been made in improving degree provision in STEM subjects to ensure that graduates have the necessary skills required by employers. Delegates will consider how to improve engagement between academia and industry in order to highlight potential future skills shortages and develop successful work experience programmes. Attendees will also discuss the potential impact of the recently allocated £300 million to fund support for STEM PhD places and further research talent, as well as the wider role of HEFCE and other Higher Education bodies in funding and supporting teaching and research in STEM subjects.