This article offers a review of the major literature about attitudes to science and its implications over the past 20 years. It argues that the continuing decline in numbers choosing to study science at the point of choice requires a research focus on students' attitudes to science if the nature of the problem is to be understood and remediated. Starting from a consideration of what is meant by attitudes to science, it considers the problems inherent to their measurement, what is known about students' attitudes towards science and the many factors of influence such as gender, teachers, curricula, cultural and other variables. The literature itself points to the crucial importance of gender and the quality of teaching. Given the importance of the latter we argue that there is a greater need for research to identify those aspects of science teaching that make school science engaging for pupils. In particular, a growing body of research on motivation offers important pointers to the kind of classroom environment and activities that might raise pupils' interest in studying school science and a focus for future research.