Sir David Attenborough is celebrated for his huge involvement in the natural world. He’s campaigned relentlessly for our planet, helping to educate the global population on issues like climate change and global warming. He’s introduced species to the world – in fact, he’s got more than ten species named after him!
And now, the national treasure has just been credited for something else: driving interest in science subjects among GCSE students.
The ‘Attenborough effect,’ as it’s being called, is where pupils have the desire to ‘make a difference’ to the world, and it’s fuelling an interest in science.
A total of 767,722 16-year-olds took science double award this year, explains Schools Week, which is an increase of 5.1% (37,132) from the 730,590 students who sat the exam in 2018.
There has been only a slight jump in entries for single science, despite a bigger increase in the 16-year-old population.
Though vice president of Pearson, Derek Richardson, believes the work of the broadcaster and natural historian is having an impact on students.
“We know that young people are increasingly concerned about the world around them and want to make a difference,” Richardson said.
He continued: “The ‘Attenborough effect’ is fuelling an interest in science, and young people are focusing their studies towards the world of work where there’s an increasing demand for STEM careers.”
Richardson’s suggestion of pupils engaging with societal issues when picking their subjects echoed comments made a couple of months ago when A-level results were released.
He said that global warming discussions and Brexit contributed to the rise in students choosing to study A-level politics.
Science double award saw an increase in 7/A grades and above compared to last year (from 7.3% to 7.5%) and in grades 4/C and above (from 54.7% to 55.5%).
As we recently reported, the gender gap in science – especially chemistry – is narrowing even further. Girls continue to do better than their male counterparts in biology, while boys tend to be best at physics.
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