IET: UK ‘stagnates’ in global school test

Pisa tests from the OECD reveal that for the first time, the UK does not make the top 20 in any subject, in international tests taken by 15 year olds in maths, reading and science.

Stephanie Fernandes, IET Principal Policy Advisor, said: “GCSEs in the STEM subjects are the first crucial stepping stone to progressing into not just the engineering and technology sector but a wide range of careers and it is therefore crucial that a high level of uptake and attainment is achieved.

“However, GCSEs do not always provide the level of practical experience that employers need.  The IET’s Skills & Demand in Industry Report 2013 showed that 42 per cent of employers have expressed disappointment with the skills of new employees. This can be addressed in schools via work experience placements or by completing an apprenticeship after students have taken their GCSEs.

“It is vital that we encourage more students, particularly females, to study these key enabling subjects. Currently, some students effectively rule themselves out of an engineering career by not studying maths and science.  We must change this so that students can make informed subject choices.”


Notes to editors:

§  Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.

§  The IET is one of the world’s largest organisations for engineers and technicians.  We have nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries around the world.

§  The IET is working to engineer a better world. We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community, supporting technology innovation to meet the needs of society.

§  The IET is the Professional Home for Life® for engineers and technicians, and a trusted source of Essential Engineering Intelligence® and thought leadership.

§  For more information, visit

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan, External Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)1438 767336
M: +44 (0)7595 400912