Concern over sharp drop in science and maths entries

Budget cuts and negative perceptions about STEM disciplines are blamed for the 1,700 fall in core science and maths Highers

Politicians, scientists and business leaders have all voiced concern about the sharp drop in the number of core science and maths Highers taken by Scottish pupils this year.

They cite a range of likely reasons, from budget cuts in schools to negative perceptions about both the difficulty of STEM subjects and the career possibilities that they can bring.

Overall, entries for physics, chemistry and maths Highers fell by 1,700 in 2015 to 41,747, a decline of almost four per cent on last year. Until now, they had been on the rise since 2011 when the Scottish Science Advisory Committee said there was an "urgent need" to make science teaching more exciting and relevant.

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