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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

United Kingdom

2009 Intel ISEF Educator Academy

educational environment
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.


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
science fairs
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
science fairs6
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