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United Kingdom. 2009 Intel ISEF Educator Academy. Introductions. Educational Environment. In total, there were 560.000 teachers employed in the public sector (2001 census), with 9.849.100 pupils, i.e. ratio of 1:18 roughly.

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United Kingdom

2009 Intel ISEF Educator Academy



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Educational Environment

In total, there were 560.000 teachers employed in the public sector (2001 census), with 9.849.100 pupils, i.e. ratio of 1:18 roughly.

Compulsory school age is 5-16 in England & Wales, 4-16 in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Compulsory school is organised in a two tier system. In England, a three tier system (first, middle and secondary schools) still exists side by side, although it is being phased out.

Over 90% of pupils in England, Scotland and Wales attend non selective secondary schools; in Northern Ireland, secondary schooling is selective.

Approx. 1.8 million students are currently enrolled in the UK higher education system; about 1/3 of pupils go on to higher education at age 18 (in Scotland: 50%). There is an increasing number of mature students in either full-time or part-time university degrees. Higher education is a current policy priority for the government, with a target set to attract 50% of 18- to 30-year-olds by 2010.


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Educational Environment

  • The four countries of the UK have a high degree of autonomy within the Education system. This is reflected in differing versions of the national curriculum (introduced in England and Wales in 1988).

  • Maths & Science are compulsory subjects in the national curriculum to age 16

  • National Curriculum defines graduation requirements

  • University entrance is determined by Advanced Level exams taken at age 18


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Science Fairs

  • Historically, there have been fairs and celebrations for several organisations including the British Science Association’s CREST Awards and the Young Engineers

  • In March 2009 the Big Bang National Fair was a significant development www.thebigbangfair.co.uk This included activities, workshops, talks, hands-on areas for visiting students and the judging of 200 projects.

  • Funding came from numerous organisations, including the government, coordinated through ETB

  • This included the UK Young Scientist and UK Young Technologist of the Year

  • 12 Regional Fairs feed into the National Fair

  • Major developments already being put in place for 2010


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Science Fairs

The three biggest obstacles faced in the UK:

  • Embedding project-based learning that feeds into the Fairs.

    • Opportunities do exist to develop this, given recent curriculum changes that provide more freedom for teachers, and the abolishment of national testing in England at age 14.

  • Raising the profile of Regional Fairs to enable more teachers to attend with their students

    • Attendance is both time and cost intensive, and therefore tends to be de-prioritised accordingly

  • Prolonged secured funding


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