Scotland must catch up with England in STEM subjects: MP

Gordon MP Colin Clark
Gordon MP Colin Clark

A North East MP believes that schools must prioritise STEM subjects above all else to train enough engineers and technicians for the future.

Gordon MP Colin Clark raised the importance of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen as a major promoter of science, technology, engineering and maths.

But he said the SNP must do more to “catch up” with England in the STEM stakes.

During questions in the Commons, he asked the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation what the UK Government is doing to increase the take-up of STEM subjects - guaranteeing a generation of well-equipped workers.

Scottish Conservative Mr Clark said: “The Oil & Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen is a major promoter of STEM subjects.

“Does the Minister agree that it is essential to prioritise the take-up of STEM subjects if we are to have the engineers and technicians that we need for the future?”

Sam Gyimah MP said the English school system had welcomed 17% more entrants to STEM A-levels since 2010, adding:

“However, there is clearly a lot more to do, which is why we are focused on doing a lot through careers and through the university system.”

The UK Government is investing an additional £406 million in skills, including maths and digital, including an advanced maths premium, and an £84 million programme to improve the teaching of computing.

After the session, Mr Clark said Scotland is behind England in science, maths and reading.

He added: “There is also a shortage of STEM teachers in Scotland and it risks undermining children’s opportunities, including at Inverurie Academy in my constituency.

“We have to catch up with England and re-establish the world-class education system we once had.

“That’s why it’s disappointing the SNP have deprioritised its education Bill."