15 August 2008
High-achieving 14-year-olds should automatically take the triple science GCSE to boost the number of pupils going on to careers in science and engineering, the CBI business lobby has said.
CBI director general Richard Lambert said that although test results in science at 14 were improving, only 7% of 16-year-olds take the more demanding triple science course.
'We need to create an environment in schools that reflects the importance of science, and the value of studying it,' he said.
Under the CBI's proposals, around 250,000 14-year-olds who achieve level six or above at Key Stage Three would have to opt out of the course.
The CBI said such a policy would require more specialist science teachers in schools (currently supported by a £5,000 incentive for science graduates to become teachers) and improvements to science labs.
The lobby also recommends offering a £1,000-a-year bursary to undergraduates on science, technology, engineering and maths courses and a £120m investment in careers advice to help 'challenge misperceptions about science and engineering degrees'.