HOW do text messages get from one mobile phone to another? How does a picture appear on a television screen? And what makes video game work?

The answer to each of these questions is science. Science affects everything we do in life - so why are the numbers of students choosing to study the subject constantly falling?

Since 1984, the number of pupils studying physics A-level has slumped by 57 per cent, and those studying chemistry by 28 per cent.

But while student numbers are in decline, the role played by science graduates in the economy is becoming ever greater.

It is estimated that by 2014, the UK will need some 2.4 million employees with science and technology backgrounds. However, many engineering and technology-based businesses are struggling even now to recruit suitably qualified candidates. In some industry sectors the shortfall could be as high as 80 per cent this year.

Just last week the Government announced a £5,000 cash sweetener' for teachers if they opt to retrain in physics, in an attempt to boost the popularity of the subject.

Most experts blame the decline on schools failing to excite pupils in science and leading them to take up careers in arts and humanities.

But one Worcester school is bucking the national trend with the number of pupils taking up science rocketing in the past year alone.

Nunnery Wood High School is a designated specialist science college. That doesn't mean it only teaches science - it aims to raise achievement in all subjects - but science is its particular strong point.

In the past year the number of pupils from Nunnery Wood going on to study biology at Worcester Sixth Form College has soared by almost 400 per cent; physics has risen in popularity by 160 per cent; and chemistry is up 42 per cent.

The school claims this is all down to its unique approach to science - showing the pupils that it's not just all about the periodic table or Bunsen burners. The school encourages its students to see that science is in everything they do, and studying science can open a wealth of doors for them.

Assistant headteacher Mel Mason, who is also director of science at the school, says: "We aim to guide our students to look at all aspects of science and see how they can use it in life. We give our pupils confidence in the subject and show them what they can achieve and it is having a really positive impact."

Every year the school hosts a science week when every subject area looks at how science affects that particular topic. From geography, history, and maths to English, drama and sport, pupils examine what impact science has in life. This year the theme of the week was space' with students across all curriculum areas exploring the theme, creating solar systems, looking at famous astronauts, and even performing plays about space.

"Our aim is to ensure pupils are enthused about science at all levels," Mr Mason says. "It is about making the subject fun and getting the pupils to look at it in a new light. Interest in science is falling nationally but here at Nunnery Wood we are bucking that trend."

Students from the school spend time at both Worcester Sixth Form College and Worcester College of Technology getting involved in science activities, aiming to show them what opportunities are available post-16.

But it is not only its own students that Nunnery Wood works with to develop science. The school's six feeder schools are also involved with special activities. Each year Nunnery Wood runs a murder mystery event, inviting Year 5 pupils to the school to take part in a whodunit'.

"The pupils have to use science, looking at all of the evidence, to find out who the murderer is," Mr Mason says. "We find this really encourages students to get involved and makes them excited about the subject from an earlier age."

The school achieved specialist science status just three years ago, in which time it has seen its GCSE results in both science, and all other subjects rise significantly. This year, 81 per cent of GCSE science students gained a grade A* to C with one in four achieving an A* or A.

Science as a GCSE subject is compulsory for all students in Britain. Although Nunnery Wood offers the core science subject it also gives students the option to take advanced science, and study biology, chemistry and physics separately. This means some students can leave with as many as five GCSEs in science.

"We have a fast track group of students that start taking GCSE science up to two years early," Mr Mason says. "This year, 95 per cent of those students gained an A* to B grade in the subject.

"Science in schools needs to change and adapt to keep young people interested in the subject."