On Tuesday 28 June, Victoria Prentis MP asked the Minister for Universities and Science what was being done to promote the take-up of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. She also asked about the potential effect of studio schools such as the Space Studio in Banbury and the new Bicester Technology Studio.

The below account is taken from the official House of Commons Hansard for 28 June 2016:

Victoria Prentis (Con) (Banbury): What steps he is taking to promote take-up of STEM subjects in higher education.

Mr Speaker: I call Minister Johnson—the only Johnson who matters today.

The Minister for Universities and Science (Joseph Johnson): Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Government are fully committed to making the UK the best place in the world to do science. The number of full-time students accepted to study STEM subjects in England is up 17% since 2010. Initiatives such as the STEM ambassadors programme and the new Polar Explorer programme are providing inspiration for young people to consider STEM careers.

Victoria Prentis: To what extent can studio schools, such as the excellent Space Studio in Banbury and the new Bicester Technology Studio school, be used to promote the take-up of STEM subjects later in a student’s career, whether that is at university or as part of an apprenticeship?

Joseph Johnson: That is right: studio schools are pioneering a new and valuable approach to learning and are focusing on equipping students with a wide range of employability skills and academic qualifications. Schools such as the ones my hon. Friend mentioned in Banbury and the one in Bicester that will open in September give students the opportunity to work with specialist employers such as the UK and European space agencies and those in the fields of technology, sustainable construction, engineering and computing.