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After the call – life at ASE post the National Curriculum review call for evidence

18 April 2011

The responses to the National Curriculum review call for evidence have been submitted, on time and to a very high standard.  The discussions have been very interesting, and I hope that ASE members and others feel as though our consultation was open and transparent and that the views submitted are clear – impossible to reflect every view but reporting the results of the survey alongside the curriculum development model enables us to move some way towards that. Huge thanks to all involved for a terrific piece of work.

While we have been involved with that, there has been much talk in the e-verse about ASE and the case for joining your subject association.  I have also been discussing this issue with other subject associations.  Opinion is divided.  Some think that choosing membership is a no-brainer.  Why would a professional not want to join their association? The personal benefits in terms of opportunities to network, write and become known in the profession are clear and are associated with friendships created alongside the professional advancement.  On the other side are those who look more at the direct cost and compare that with benefits that are tangible such as the journals and book and conference discounts.  Both arguments have value – I would obviously favour the first, but I recognise that we have a case to make to the second group especially when times are tough. 

I think that the case we make through describing the professional characteristics required by those applying for Chartered Science Teacher is very useful in this regard.  The qualities for which we seek evidence for CSciTeach include a commitment to personal professional development and a scholarly engagement with science education and we also look for the impact of this professionalism on students and colleagues.  We would, of course, expect someone working at this level to show their involvement with the profession through membership of ASE.

So that is useful to articulate the “gold standard” but we also have to look carefully at the cost/benefit argument.  We are currently examining the journals, electronic and print and looking at how they might develop in future for the benefit of members. We’re also helping NAIGS members to be visible to potential users of their advice services.  These are set within a very clear framework – that of our mission to strive for excellence in the teaching and learning of science which includes and goes beyond the membership.

Although the call for evidence on the English National Curriculum is over for now, there is still plenty to do and plan for. Let us know your thoughts through this blog or on the forum pages.

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