An invisible revolution?

23 July 2009

In 2008 nearly 110,000 students, some 15% of the age cohort, gained a GCSE or equivalent qualification in Applied Science. Five years earlier the number was less than 20,000. This substantial rise has received little public or policy attention.

GCE Applied Science and other qualifications such as BTEC Nationals are providing a progression route for a growing group of students not catered for in the past, but there is a lack of systematic support in terms of resources, training and guidance. 

There is also evidence that the proposed Science Diploma is causing planning blight, with uncertainty about the future of A level Applied Science leading some schools to consider withdrawing from offering the qualification.

In 2009 the Foundation commissioned Professor Jim Donnelly of Leeds University produce an overview of the current position, with the purpose of drawing attention to this “Invisible Revolution” and of informing wider debate. His report will be invaluable to policy makers as well as teachers and managers in schools and colleges who are considering how to respond to this encouraging but complex new development.

Download An invisible revolution? Applied Science in the 14-19 curriculum (PDF)