Science boosted with 3,000 extra teachers and after-school clubs

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Indy Politics

Chancellor Gordon Brown today announced plans for an extra 3,000 specialist science teachers under measures to boost science in schools.

In future schools will be judged on how well pupils perform in sciences as well as in the current key subjects of English and maths, he suggested.

And teenagers will have a new "entitlement" to study all science subjects at GCSE, Mr Brown said in his Budget statement.

The announcements follow concern among scientists and teachers over falling numbers of teenagers taking some science subjects at school and a spate of cuts in university chemistry and physics departments.

The Chancellor told MPs: "The Education Secretary is announcing today a comprehensive programme for recruitment, retraining, retention and reward of 3,000 science teachers; a new entitlement to study the full range of science subjects at GCSE level; the funding of after school science clubs starting in 250 schools.

"And to ensure investment is matched by performance in our schools, we will benchmark science results just as we now benchmark English and mathematics."

He announced moves to "strengthen excellence" in medical research.

Britain will have a single budget for the Medical Research Council and NHS research, worth at least £1 billion a year, he said.

And university researchers will have a more streamlined funding system.

Mr Brown said: "I believe Britain can lead in some of the fastest growing and highest value-added sectors - city and businesses services, education, creative industries, science based industries.

"Once small, now one third of our whole economy and a third of our exports, soon they will be a much higher share of jobs and wealth."

He added: "To make best use of the additional £1.5 billion a year we invest in scientific discovery, we are today setting out plans for radically simplified allocation of the research funding that goes direct to universities."