Science minister: no dumbing down on my watch

05 December 2008

The UK science minister stated yesterday that he would not stand for "dumbing down" of science exams, when asked about the RSC's evidence of a decline in standards at an EPSRC press conference.

Lord Drayson, who holds a PhD in robotics, said there was the need "to make sure that we provide the stretch for the brightest and best," echoing the findings and recommendations of the RSC's Five-Decade Challenge report, and our call to "stretch our kids".

"There will be no dumbing down on my watch," he told the conference, held to announce 250m of new EPSRC funding for doctoral training centres. The RSC had issued a media statement at the conference welcoming the 114m of this money which will largely support the chemical sciences.

He said, "I think it's extremely important that as we think about the training of the next generation of young scientists, we make absolutely sure that as well as bringing up the standard of STEM teaching for everyone, we make absolutely sure that the educational process to develop the brightest and the best - who are going to be the future PhD students of tomorrow - provides them what they need too, and as a science minister I'm determined to make sure that happens."

Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC, said, "We are very pleased with Lord Drayson's promise of action yesterday to ensure no dumbing down in science exam standards, and his support of the need to stretch our brightest and best."

"Should he make good on his word and compare the current exams with those of his own education, he will surely concur with the RSC's own evidence and the 4800 signatories of our petition to the Prime Minister," Dr Pike said.

Related Links

Link icon BBC News Online coverage of Lord Drayson promising no dumbing down of exam standards
A news story on BBC News Online reporting Science Minister Lord Drayson's comments about exam standards

Link icon RSC petition on 10 Downing St site
Petition the Prime Minister to reverse the demonstrable decline in school science examination standards that is destroying our competitiveness

External links will open in a new browser window

Contact and Further Information

Press Office
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA