By John Baker
Good news at my local comprehensive school - science subjects are popular again. Indeed, over half the lower sixth are doing physics!
But at 16-17 years of age, many pupils do not know what to expect of a career if they follow up their school science with a university degree.
Which is why I and 30-plus other parents were invited in to school last week to meet pupils and describe our jobs and careers after studying science at university. Needless to say, I was talking about science writing and journalism, but there were engineers, physicists, energy specialists and software experts there. Many with high-powered PhDs and more.
In one-on-one or small group discussions, it was vey heartening to see how much good questioning there was from the pupils - and their concerned parents, many of whom tagged along.
Unfortunately, as the school is in deepest Surrey in the UK, there were no parents from the chemical sector - but at least some from local pharma companies such as GSK and Pfizer. But I'm pleased to say there were some industry ambassadors from the Royal Society of Chemistry doing their stuff.
It's this sort of initiative by schools that will ensure more and more students take up science degrees and eventually careers. It may be five to six years off, but some of these interested pupils - and 60-70 or so turned up in the evening - will be ready for the chemical industry to recruit.