Government to open schools dedicated to STEM subjects

By Nicola Brittain
29 Nov 2011 View Comments
An IWB from Promethean

Chancellor George Osborne confirmed the government's commitment to the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects in today's autumn statement with a pledge to create schools dedicated to STEM subjects.

The government will also provide £500m for scientific projects including supercomputing, satellite technology and a "world beating animal health laboratory," Osborne said, although he didn't name the lab in question.

Further reading

In a section of his statement about skills and youth unemployment, Osborne committed to spending an extra £1.2bn on schools. A significant proportion of this will be allocated to funding 100 additional free schools, including about 12 dedicated to the teaching of maths for 16 to 18 year olds.

Some of these schools will offer pure maths and others will combine the subject with physics, chemistry or computer sciences.

Osborne said: "This [initiative] will give our most talented young mathematicians the chance to flourish. These maths free schools are exactly what Britain needs to match our competitors – and produce more of the engineering and science graduates so important for our longer term economic success."

In addition, more apprenticeships will be made available that may also help to address the IT skills deficit among young Brits.

These apprenticeships or government-funded jobs will follow private-sector work experience for every young person unemployed for three months, and will kick in when the young person has been unemployed for nine months or more.

Last year's October spending review saw Osborne announce a reduction in the higher education budget from £7.1bn to £4.2bn, but STEM subjects were protected, as was research.

Other announcements today included 10 technology hubs, an increased broadband commitment and £75m allocated to technology-based SMEs.

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