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GCSE results offer no comfort to concerns over UK’s engineering and talent pipeline

25 August 2016


Reflecting on today’s GCSE results, which show a fall in the number of pupils achieving a GCSE (A*- C) in Design & Technology, together with a drop in the those passing their Physics GCSE, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is highlighting the need for urgent action from Government, schools and colleges to encourage more pupils to study these crucial engineering gateway subjects (Physics and Design & Technology).

The IET is concerned that there is still not enough young people studying Physics and Design & Technology at GCSE level, which is exacerbating the UK’s engineering and technology skills shortage. These fears are compounded by pressure for schools to move towards the EBacc and could effectively mean that schools drop ‘non-core’ subjects such as Design & Technology from the syllabus.

Stephanie Fernandes, IET Principal Policy Advisor of Education & Skills, said: “It’s not good news that fewer young people are achieving pass grades in these crucial subjects at GCSE. The EBacc has the potential to effectively drive out subjects like Design & Technology (D&T), as well as creative and artistic subjects, from schools.

“Given engineering currently accounts for 27 per cent of our total GDP, and we are expecting a shortfall of 1.82 million new engineers over the next decade, removing subjects like D&T from the curriculum is incredibly short sighted.

“D&T is vital for engaging young people in the creative and problem fixing side of engineering. If they don’t have this opportunity at school, it is inevitable we will produce fewer engineers, which represents a genuine risk to our economy.

“We are calling for the Government to reconsider their plans to ensure the introduction of the EBacc doesn’t result in a reduction in the number of engineers in the UK.”

Notes to editors:

Rebecca Gillick, Communications Executive

T: +44 (0)1438 765 618

M: +44 (0)7725 498 129

E: rgillick@theiet.org