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A new ASE strategy

24 October 2011

My favourite quote from the US TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer was from a scene where Buffy, as was often the case, was in a seemingly impossible situation. Usually this involved escapees from the underworld laying waste to the population around her school. She was surrounded by her usual, fairly inept contemporaries to whom she addressed the immortal line: “I’ve got a strategy – you’re not in it”. A succinct put-down if ever there was one.

You could say that I am in a contrasting situation. I need a strategy for the next five years (or rather ASE does), you’re all in it and you’re welcome to be part of creating it. However, I’m not expecting escapees from the underworld to feature among the challenges ahead.

This is why we need a new strategy. ASE now has a shiny new structure. The new Council has had a transition meeting and looks forward to its first full meeting in November. The Assembly has met and has discussed how it will work in future. The old Council and I refreshed the existing Strategic Plan in 2009, knowing that these huge changes would be taking place, but now we need to think about the next five years. We need to consider what ASE needs to do to pursue the mission, and what we’re all going to do to as part of that. During the next year, I will be putting together the thoughts and ideas from all sectors of ASE to create a Strategic Plan which will fit the current situation, and I would like input from all of those who care about the future  of ASE. This will be an exciting time – it will include the year when we celebrate our 50th anniversary - so it is important to get it right.

Here is how you can get involved. The first task is to ensure that we have the mission statement, and the vision right. The staff Leadership Team and the new Council have already tackled two questions:

  • What is the purpose of ASE? (In three bullet points.)
  • What should ASE’s mission statement be?

A number of Honorary Members who responded when I wrote to them recently will, hopefully, also answer these questions when I ask them shortly. Any readers of this blog who care to answer them are very welcome to put in their thoughts, either in the comment box below or directly to me at

The final responsibility for the new plan is with Council so I will be using these responses to build a plan for Council to debate. I look forward to hearing from you.


Dennis Sutton

Wed. 30/11/11

What is the purpose of ASE?
1. to promote excellent teaching and learning of science in schools and colleges.

2. to maintain a high profile and exert a strong influence in the key centres of decision-taking about the teaching and learning of science.

3. to undertake research into, and evaluation of the teaching of science in support of purpose 1

What should ASE’s mission statement be?

To develop and improve organisational structures and processes which enable the Association to better achieve, year on year, the purposes which are identified above.


The real and difficult question is “How do we achieve the above?

How do we persuade the majority of teachers of science and technicians that the Association is a ‘must join’ organisation for them?

How do we support regions/sections in the provision of relevant professional development for members locally?

How do we persuade head teachers who perceive their schools as being short of finances that the professional development we can offer is excellent value for money in terms of potential improvement in performance?

We currently produce very helpful resources for teachers of science. We also give access to many more on the website. Searching for the relevant resource can be very time-consuming. Could we offer a service which categorises a range of resources relevant to a particular topic and age range?

There are many more questions of the “how” kind which need to be addressed.

Dennis Sutton
Nov. 29th 2011

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