THE BLOG

Maths and Physics: A Formula for Success

10/11/2014 01:16 GMT | Updated 09/01/2015 10:59 GMT

The launch of the Your Life campaign represents a major milestone for me as both education secretary and minister for women and equalities.

Ensuring that all young people, boys and girls equally, leave school with the skills and knowledge they need to get a job and succeed in life is a key part of our plan for education - and of this government's long-term economic plan that is turning Britain around.

The Your Life campaign is a major step towards this, encouraging more young people, and especially girls, to continue to study maths and physics: two of the subjects most highly valued by employers and universities.

There has already been significant progress. At A level, we now have a thousand more girls studying physics every year - and two thousand more girls studying maths - compared to 2010. Our most recent A level results show that for the first time maths is now the most popular A level subject, accounting for 10.7% of entries, compared to 10.5% for English. The proportion of students entering science A levels in biology, chemistry and physics have all increased, too.

We have updated the science, maths, computing, and design and technology curricula at all key stages to ensure they reflect the essential knowledge and skills students need to get the top jobs and thrive in modern Britain.

But there is much more to do, which is why I'm proud to lend my support to Your Life. It's essential that more young people realise how far maths and physics can get you, and that by dropping these subjects after GCSE they may be limiting their options later on in life.

Too many young people don't yet realise that STEM skills can help you succeed no matter what you choose to do. They can help you access some of the most challenging and stimulating careers, whether that's in design, manufacturing, finance, marketing, or even setting up your own business.

At the campaign launch, I will be speaking directly to some of the young people who are about to make these important life choices. They in turn will be grilling some of our top business executives on how maths and science help them in their jobs, each and every day.

It's this link with industry that will lead to a shift in the way young people think about these vital subjects.

The Your Life campaign will help open young people's eyes to the exciting and frequently unexpected opportunities these subjects can provide. It presents them with a future which isn't predetermined, but in which they are free to choose whatever they want to be, a future which isn't exclusive to boys or girls, or to children who may be more practical than creative.

The boundaries between arts and sciences are blurring and more jobs are becoming dependent on STEM skills: from working on special effects for blockbuster films to creating smartphone apps.

It will be our current generation of school children who determine how, in as little as 10 years' time, we might be travelling to and from work, who develop the innovative new products that we will be buying, and who build the Britain of the future.

With the support and backing of more than 200 organisations from business, education, civil society and Government, Your Life brings together a wide range of existing initiatives to get the message directly to young people, to inspire and promote better opportunities for every child and strive to equip the UK with the skills it needs.

The names represented on the Corporate Advisory board give a flavour of the widespread demand for these skills - and the range of successful careers they can lead to.

From engineering, aerospace and electronics, to household consumer brands in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, Your Life has the support of some of the UK's top employers.

We want to show young people that maths and science can open up endless possibilities for their future - and for Britain's future too. Our plan for education will ensure that we equip every child with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed - and our message is that maths and physics can get them there.