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Benefits of CREST Awards

In the 30 years that CREST Awards have been running, we’ve learnt a lot about the benefits they offer – to teachers, technicians, STEM Ambassadors, parents and home educators, as well as to students.

  • Improved GCSE grades and increased interest in continuing in STEM education and careers
  • A sense of achievement for students of all ages and abilities
  • Real-life experience of ‘being’ a scientist and working on STEM projects
  • Students can use CREST to enhance their UCAS personal statements – our scheme is well-regarded by universities
  • Extra value from other activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, STEM Clubs, Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the Children’s University Passport to Learning.


thumb_03_60_60Rosy Halfyard

CREST Gold Award holder

The whole experience was amazing – I got a real feel for what working in a science setting is like.

For students who may be considering a STEM career, the
 CREST Awards can help to spark their interest and show the range of applications for STEM subjects. We have found that one-off activities are not usually enough to develop a lifelong interest in science. Our CREST framework provides a clear journey for students from CREST Star for primary school students to CREST Gold Awards at post-16 level.

And for all students, CREST Award projects help to develop creativity, teamwork and time management – valuable skills whatever career path they may choose.

A measurable improvement in exam results

In January 2016, we published a report by a team of economists from Pro Bono Economics. This revealed that students who have taken a CREST Silver Award achieved half a grade higher on their best science GCSE result and were more likely to continue with STEM education, compared to a matched control group.

A greater impact for more disadvantaged students

The report also showed that Silver CREST students eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) saw a larger increase in their best science GCSE (two-thirds of a grade) compared to a matched control group who were also eligible for FSM.

Students who were eligible for Free School Meals and took part in a CREST Silver Award were 38% more likely to take a STEM subject at AS Level than the matched control group.

A positive shift in attitudes

Before CREST Awards

Before CREST

In 2011, a study from the University of Liverpool concluded that CREST has a strong positive impact on students. Their attitudes towards Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) and aspirations for SET careers are significantly improved. This study also showed that involvement in the CREST Awards appears to encourage students to continue with the study of SET subjects.


After CREST Awards


A report into the CREST Expansion Scheme showed that three-quarters of participating students and 78% of teachers rated CREST as good or very good. Its strong point was that it put them in touch with real world STEM, and allowed them to develop independent personal skills, such as teamwork and creativity.



About half the CREST student cohort reported a positive shift in attitudes toward STEM and STEM careers as a result of participation in CREST. Many of those whose attitudes did not change were already positive about STEM. This attitude shift was largely brought about as CREST participants began to understand what science does, and how they and their ideas could fit into it. The image of scientists, either a mad caricature or a tidy nerd, began to take on a more aspirational aspect.


thumb_03_60_60Chris Conheeny

Tapton School

My Stem Club were assessed for their Bronze Award and had so much pride when they got it! The assessor was impressed at the skills they had learned in communication and facing challenges. The whole experience is so valuable!

thumb_03_60_60CREST teacher

It’s helped the self-esteem for some low achievers for whom it is their major achievement in school.