BP has been investing in education since 1968 and the BP educational service (BPES) was established to inspire young people to pursue a future in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM).
Today the BPES website provides an extensive range of teaching resources designed for use by teachers. All resources and challenges are built around the curriculum, and are based on research into what really makes a difference in engaging young people in STEM. In our latest survey, more than 90% of teachers say the resources are good quality and relevant to the curriculum.
More than half of UK secondary schools and almost one in five primary schools have used BPES resources in the last year and since the launch of the BPES website in 2006, more than 70,000 users have registered, with hundreds of new users joining each month.
As part of our commitment to inspire young people to see themselves as future scientists and engineers, and to choose STEM-related careers, we are undertaking ground-breaking science education research to understand what influences the choice of STEM subjects in young people. Enterprising Science is being carried out in partnership between BP, King’s College, London, and the Science Museum.
Enterprising Science concludes that building interest in science is not enough; to be effective in boosting engagement in STEM, educators and resource providers need to build ‘Science Capital’ (science-related qualifications, interest, literacy and social contacts). Despite 70% of young people finding science interesting only 17% see it as being for ‘them’. Furthermore, the research suggests that science based on everyday scenarios can help young people see themselves as future scientists.
Building on this insight, BPES developed the Where’s the Science in that? resource collection, which demonstrates science is for everyone and can be found everywhere. The resources use familiar, everyday situations as a starting point to explore curriculum science. They are targeted at students aged 7 to 14, as research suggests this age group is the biggest opportunity to make a difference.
We are already seeing positive results from this approach, with 78% of users saying the resources are engaging for students who are not usually interested in Science.
BPES has also recently won a bronze award for the best educational programme at the Corporate Engagement Awards 2016 for demonstrating excellence in providing educational support to the sector.