Delivering skills for the future

The UK is recognised as a centre of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) excellence, and evidence shows that students from all over the world are increasingly attracted to studying there.

Below is an extract from this article published in Relocate's Guide to Education & Schools in the UK. Click below if you are interested in receiving a full printed copy of the guide.

In the same year as Tim Peake broke through the Earth’s atmosphere to begin his mission on the International Space Station, the five millionth Raspberry Pi computer was rolling off the production lines in a technology park on the outskirts of Cardiff. Meanwhile, the British Council was reporting that the UK remained a top destination for undergraduate study in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths, otherwise known as STEM.

A centre of STEM excellence

As an internationally recognised world leader in science and engineering, according to non-profit organisation the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), the UK’s academic research base has provided 16 per cent of the world’s most significant academic papers, and the UK has more Nobel Prizes than any other country, with the exception of America.In its report Keeping the UK at the Heart of Global Science and Engineering, CaSE goes on to cite further evidence of the UK’s position as a centre of STEM excellence. For example, the UK is responsible for the development of an eighth of the world’s most popular medicines.Britain has also led from the front in the creation of smartphone technology. It is responsible for the technology involved in 80 per cent of digital cameras, and 35 per cent of all electronic devices were developed in the UK.“The UK’s strength in science and engineering helps us live healthier and happier lives,” says the report. “It provides high-value jobs. It makes our society more resilient to global challenges. And it is a major driver of economic growth.”

Attracting international students

It is hard to deny the UK’s superior STEM credentials and attractive research base for academic study. Indeed, according to the British Council, the UK has become especially appealing to international students seeking to further their studies, and ultimately their careers, in STEM subjects.In a 2015 British Council survey, which analysed the reasons behind international STEM students’ choice of course and country of study, undergraduate respondents chose the UK overwhelmingly because of its reputation for high-quality education and excellent career prospects.
Heathfield School
“It’s great to see that the UK’s excellence in teaching and research in these areas is recognised by STEM students around the world,” said Gordon Slaven, the British Council's head of higher education. “The fact that the UK continues to attract large numbers of STEM students means that the UK education experience is contributing to the development of countries around the world, and creating long-term connections for the UK in the future. Creating a young workforce with transferable, in-demand skills is what will drive the global economy forward.”[…]

Further UK Guide articles:

Innovations in STEM teaching

One college that is appealing to international students on the strength of its distinctive STEM offering for gifted pupils seeking a place at a top university in the UK is the newly opened independent National Mathematics and Science College (NMSC), in Coventry. The NMSC is a coeducational school specialising in maths, further maths, physics, chemistry, biology, computing and economics.Chairman Dr Martin Stephen, former high master of St Paul’s School, London, and The Manchester Grammar School, established the college with the vision of providing a world-class education in STEM subjects for sixth-formers looking to secure a place at a good UK university.“By transforming a vision of a future-proof digital-learning ecosystem into reality, the college will enable students to reach higher and achieve more,” says Dr Stephen. He is well qualified to represent the school for high-performing students, having recently co-written his most recent book on the subject of education, Educating the More Able Student.
St Lawrence College

The STEAM movement

The pressure from education establishments to include art and design in the STEM equation is mounting. With its roots in the US, the STEM to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) movement is quickly gathering momentum. Founded by academics and students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the STEM to STEAM programme sets out that today’s students should be encouraged to develop the “creativity and critical thinking, making and problem-solving skills needed for the entrepreneurial and innovation-driven jobs of the future”.“The demand for STEAM resources has picked up in the past few years as teachers recognise the importance of incorporating creative thinking and visual learning into their classrooms,” notes dean of faculty Tracie Costantino. “We are now able to begin to satisfy their hunger for connecting the arts and sciences in ways that resonate with students of all ages.”[…]

Addressing UK skills shortages

Although there have been significant developments in the teaching of STEM or STEAM subjects in the independent sector recently, the state education system in the UK has been criticised for failing to keep up with the rest of the world in its delivery of science, technology and maths in its primary and secondary schools.And, according to this year’s CBI skills survey, an increasing number of UK employers are worried that they will not be able to recruit enough highly skilled employees, a concern that has been compounded by the Brexit result and fears over reduced access to migrant workers. “Not only will we have our existing UK skills shortages to address,” says the survey, “but potentially reduced access to migrant skills will also impact businesses.”
TASIS The American School in England

Maths: the 'mastery' approach

Following recent international tests, which showed that pupils in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong performed consistently better than their counterparts in England, the UK government took steps to revise maths teaching in English schools. Shanghai topped the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test tables in 2012, with 15-year-olds there judged to be three years ahead of pupils in England.Following visits to schools in China teaching the lauded maths methods, the Asian ‘maths mastery’ approach has been adopted in a selection of schools in England. It is typified by careful planning and ensuring that all children have a grasp of the toughest maths principles, building on their depth of understanding of the structure of maths.The UK government has made £41 million available to train teachers in the new method. So far, 140 teachers from primary schools in England have been trained by a National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM), which was established to help schools adopt the approach.[…]Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit  

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