Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 18:53 UK

Science lessons 'lack excitement'

School science lesson
Mr Perry believes health and safety rules risk making lessons dull

Science lessons are at risk of becoming dull because of health and safety constraints, according to the head of Scotland's economic development agency.

Chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Jack Perry said he had "grave concerns" that teaching in schools lacked excitement.

The former science student said when he was at school "blowing up stuff" in the science lab was "great fun".

He was responding to concerns about a shortage of scientists and technicians.

Mr Perry told the agency's annual public meeting in Kilmarnock: "I have real concerns about the teaching of science in our schools. We're in grave danger of taking the most exciting subjects and making them dull. That's a crime".

He later expanded on his views in a BBC Scotland interview.

Let's try and recapture some of the excitement around all science and technology because it really is great fun
Jack Perry

He said: "When I studied, you didn't wear goggles, a lab coat or gloves, and blowing up stuff was great fun. I realise the world has moved on, and health and safety concerns are significant, but that's one of the reasons that's often cited (for the changes in teaching practice)".

He said the numbers taking science in Scotland had been rising, against the trends in other countries.

But he added: "Excitement needs to be generated around science. When I studied, you were constantly in the lab, constantly experimenting, and for whatever reason, the kids don't get as much opportunity to get hands on experience.

"If we want more of our children engaged in science and technology, how can you re-create that excitement of that unstructured stuff, of experimenting on your own?"

Mr Perry continued: "Some signs are encouraging, and schools are doing great work, but my opinion is let's try and recapture some of the excitement around all science and technology because it really is great fun."

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