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Broadchurch, The Fall, Sherlock - how TV crime dramas are helping recruit science students in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 15:34 21 November 2018

Suffolk New College science teacher and curriculum co-ordinator Harry Smy (centre) with students Topaz Postma (left) and Tyreece Hunt (right). Picture: JOHN NICE

Suffolk New College science teacher and curriculum co-ordinator Harry Smy (centre) with students Topaz Postma (left) and Tyreece Hunt (right). Picture: JOHN NICE

John Nice

A college in Suffolk has said it believes the popularity in crime dramas on TV has helped boost take up in science subjects, after demand for places has quadrupled.

Suffolk New College science student Bethany Pollard said the college had brought science alive, and wanted a career in detective work Picture: JOHN NICESuffolk New College science student Bethany Pollard said the college had brought science alive, and wanted a career in detective work Picture: JOHN NICE

Suffolk New College has had 64 students start its science subjects in September – four times as many as the 16 who began in September 2017.

Curriculum heads at the college said high profile campaigns to get youngsters into STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) had helped, but also believed demand had come from a more unexpected source.

Harry John Smy, science teacher and curriculum co-ordinator at Suffolk New College, said: “Crime dramas and documentaries have always played a big role in making careers in forensic science, investigative agencies and the police seem more enticing.

“They act as a hook and as far as I’m concerned, there is no right or wrong way to decide to study a subject, the most important thing is that a person is interested.

“It is then our role as educators to show them the reality of the subject.”

Bethany Pollard, 17, who is studying science at the college said: “I want to go to university and work in Australia.

“I’d love to be involved in detective work. Science is a brilliant subject and since studying here it’s really helped the subject come alive.”

The college pointed to recent research by the Education Policy Institute which suggested recruitment for teachers in subjects like science and maths, as well as getting young girls on board for engineering subjects, was a struggle.

A spokesman from Suffolk County Council’s education team said he hoped it would be seen at other colleges and sixth forms in the county.

He added: “It is encouraging to hear about the increased take up for science courses at the college.

“There has been strong work in Suffolk schools to equip and inspire young people to engage in science.

“It is reassuring that students recognise the variety of careers that the subject can offer.”

A STEM ambassador programme based in Ipswich is working to help highlight the exciting career progressions in those subjects for youngsters, as well as helping schools embed those subjects in their curriculum planning.


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