Published in September 2008, this report assesses national trends in 14–19 science and mathematics participation and attainment across the UK from 1997 to 2007.
Worryingly, the report reveals that the enormous changes in this area during this period have had surprisingly little impact on increasing participation in these subjects beyond the post-compulsory phases of education. There are some notable successes, however, and we must look at these to consider what lessons may be learned from them, particularly as the education systems of the UK continue to diversify. This increasing differentiation may mean that it will become even harder to review the state of science and mathematics education in the UK. However, the interests of ‘UK plc' and the shared educational issues that policy-makers across the UK need to deal with make it all the more important that the governments of the Home Nations develop systems that can be assessed using comparable standards.
The second report of the 'State of the nation' project was led by a Working Group, made up of experts in education. Professor Julia Higgins DBE FRS was the chair of the Working Group.