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Policy and funding

IOP responds to government’s levelling up agenda

2 February 2022

The IOP Deputy Chief Executive challenges the government to deliver substance as well as slogans as White Paper published.

Commenting today on the government’s announcement of its Levelling Up White Paper, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics (IOP), Rachel Youngman, said any attempt to improve the life chances of young people in left-behind communities has to tackle inequities in access to a scientific and technical education.

Responding as Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove presented his 12 ‘missions’ for his regional development strategy, Youngman stressed that education has to be at its heart.

“A good education in physics is a reliable route to a well-paying job – two million of them in physics-based industries at the last count. But children in deprived areas are one-third as likely to study and train in physics beyond aged 16 as their better-off peers – denying them this opportunity,” she said.

“Our Limit Less campaign encourages children from poorer areas to study physics, but there are too few physics teachers in such areas to allow all children to fulfil their potential. Until the government acts decisively on this teacher gap – 4,000 posts nationwide – levelling up is likely to remain just a slogan.”

The IOP’s policy team will also be responding in detail to the White Paper.