Education and outreach

IOP Statement on the Perkins Review report published today (30 January 2019): Engineering skills for the future - the 2013 Perkins Review revisited

The IOP welcomes this ‘five years on’ update on the valued Perkins review and commends its ambitions; many of which the IOP shares. Physics remains, as the report highlights, the best preparation for many engineering degrees and valuable preparation for many other degrees.

There has been progress since the Perkins Review in 2013 including a 10% increase in entry numbers for A-level physics with a 14% increase amongst girls – and there is good evidence that the IOP approach of improving gender balance by working with the whole school is beginning to show increases (including an 8% increase in the number of girls in England taking A-level physics in the year to 2018).

But there is still much more to be done; the gender imbalance in entries to engineering courses is concerning – and is a symptom of society-wide and school-wide problems arising from stereotyping and unconscious bias. Furthermore, there remains a shortage of physics teachers – which could be alleviated by more engineering graduates opting to go into teaching. We know that engineering graduates make excellent physics teachers – with the added value of bringing their knowledge of engineering into the classroom.

This is why the IOP continues to work productively with the Government and the engineering community to ensure everyone has an excellent experience of physics.

It is only by this concerted, collaborative effort that the current desperate shortage of physics teachers will be lessened, and the current gender imbalance reversed.