Mayor's plan to introduce pupils to the wonders of science

15 July 2015

Mayor adds science unit to the London Curriculum, with backing of experts from, UCL Institute of Education and supported by the Wellcome Trust

Schools in all 33 London boroughs will be introduced to world-leading innovations in science and technology in the city and career opportunities opened up by these subjects

Part of ongoing drive to raise attainment for schoolchildren across the capital

The Mayor of London has announced a brand new initiative that will see thousands of London schoolchildren in every borough learning about science through the ground-breaking discoveries, inventions and scientific ideas that have emerged or been applied in the capital. Many of the world’s top inventions, engineering feats and scientific discoveries have been made in London including the world's oldest underground railway and rapid transit system; the TV set, with John Logie Baird giving the first public demonstration of moving silhouette images by television at Selfridges department store in 1925; and Penicillin, which was discovered by Alexander Fleming at St Mary's Hospital in 1928. London is also home to some the world’s finest universities and research institutes for science, engineering and technology, including Imperial College London, UCL and King’s College London. Produced by science experts at the UCL Institute of Education, and with support from the Wellcome Trust, the Mayor is introducing a new module that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as part the London Curriculum. Schools signed up to the curriculum will be given access to a brand new suite of resources and opportunities for Key Stage 3 that uses London’s bridges, rivers, health care, food industry and transport network to learn about biology, chemistry, physics, design technology, maths and computing. There will be three themed modules as part of the unit, with the first one, which has just launched, being inspired by the River Thames. The Thames theme will explore the physics, design and technology and biology of the river through its ecosystems, bridges, structures and barriers. Two further themes will be brought to the classroom in autumn called Keeping London Healthy and Transport and Connections which will explore innovations being developed in health care, food and sport science in the capital, and the city’s world-leading transport network infrastructure. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the most powerful scientific discovery engines in the world and we want to stimulate young people’s curiosity both about their academic subjects and the extraordinary city around them. There is no subject on the school curriculum that can’t be illuminated through the discoveries, designs, history or cultural and scientific life of this city and that is what the London Curriculum is all about.” The Mayor has already invested in STEM subjects through the London Schools Excellence Fund. The fund is part of the Mayor’s Education Programme and, alongside the London Schools Gold Club and London Curriculum, has boosted standards in the capital’s schools. It has been established with £20 million from the Department for Education and £4.25 million from the Greater London Authority. Sheila Curtis at the UCL Institute of Education said: “The new science unit on the London Curriculum is an excellent way to use the context of the capital to allow students to see how relevant STEM ideas are to their lives. The design of the London Curriculum is such that teachers will be easily able to integrate it into the existing curriculum in exciting ways. Allowing students to explore the richness of technological innovation and scientific advances all around London should inspire our young people to study and consider jobs in science, engineering and technology as a really rewarding career in the future.” Professor Robert Winston at Imperial College London said: “London is a world-leader in scientific research and is home to some of the most important discoveries and innovations. Every young person should have the opportunity to learn about science and the world around us. I’m delighted that the London Curriculum is using the capital’s important scientific credentials to inspire our discoverers of tomorrow.” Dr Matthew Hickman at the Wellcome Trust said: “The new London Curriculum modules offer a fantastic opportunity for young Londoners to learn not only about cutting-edge research, but also the huge range of STEM careers across the capital. Over the past five years, the Wellcome Trust has invested over £500 million in London’s scientific research and engaging the public with it.” The Mayor introduced the London Curriculum in 2013 as part of his commitment to driving up standards in education and raising attainment for London's schoolchildren, regardless of their background and where they live. The London Curriculum, which already includes English, art, music, geography and history, helps pupils to experience and learn from the capital's rich variety of cultural assets and historical treasures. In addition to the STEM module, another module has just been launched, which focuses on dance. ENDS Notes to editors 1. The Mayor is committed to driving up standards in education and raising attainment for London's schoolchildren, regardless of background and where they live. The London Curriculum is one of several initiatives that have been introduced following recommendations that came out of his education inquiry last year. Now comprising 15 modules, covering dance, English, art, music, geography and history, the London Curriculum uses the city to bring to life the new key stage 3 National Curriculum in an exciting and innovative way. More units will be brought to schools across London next year including languages, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), citizenship and Religious Education. 2. The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We provide more than £700 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.Our £18 billion investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.