Science teaching must change 2

September 13, 2002

Claire Sanders's report ("Search for the formula to put the spark in science", THES , September 6) rightly highlights some of the major issues facing higher education in attracting students into science and mathematics. However, in physics this year, acceptances to degrees are up by 12 per cent and A levels sat in physics are up for the first time in a decade.

The increase bodes well for the Institute of Physics's new A-level syllabus - "Advancing Physics" - which is being examined for the first time. Advancing Physics is an attempt to revitalise the A-level curriculum. The content is drawn from contemporary physics - the use of scanners for example - making it relevant to today's students. Particular attention has been paid to making Advancing Physics attractive to young women.

It is probably too early to say if the tide against the uptake of physics has turned, and we must not be complacent. The institute will continue to urge the government and its agencies to ensure that the school physics curriculum is exciting and relevant, and that it is taught by teachers with knowledge and experience in physics.

Julia King
Chief executive
Institute of Physics

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