Is Britain being starved of vital skills?

Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:44
Written by Vicki Mitchem

Students who could be the next generation of leading scientists, architects, designers and mathematicians could be 'slipping through the net' as their potential remains unidentified.

That's according to insight which reveals that many students who have strong spatial abilities could be sidelined in school and  their potential to excel in the STEM subjects missed, resulting in under-achievement.

Someone with a bias towards spatial learning thinks immediately in images and only afterwards do they convert their thoughts into words.  Yet the education system tends to favour the type of 'verbal' intelligence most naturally displayed in language based tasks – reading and writing.

Evidence shows that those with strong spatial abilities tend to gravitate towards and excel in fields such as physical sciences, engineering, maths and computer science, as well as art and design subjects.

At the same time, we are hearing high-profile warnings that the UK is facing a skills crisis as not enough children are sticking with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects at school and this is having a knock-on effect on the economy.

Famous spatial thinkers include Einstein, Newton and Lord Rogers and experts say the earlier a child's potential in these subjects is identified, the better.

Watch the video to find out how we can plug the skills gap in key industries

Now, the latest edition of GL Assessment's Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT), the UK's most popular test of reasoning abilities for children aged seven – 16 years, contains a greater emphasis on uncovering spatial learners. This change means that CAT4 will help teachers to identify students who have the potential to pursue careers where spatial skills are needed, as well as how to support their learning in the classroom – and beyond.

Source: GL Assesment

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