The Association for Science Education


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Teachers’ tweet response to Royal Society 20-year vision for science education

Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Compiled by Richard Needham

Extract: This online discussion focused on the recently published Royal Society report: Vision for Science and Mathematics Education. The special hosts for the session were Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Professor Sir John Holman, who were interested to hear teachers’ views on the Report. We take a step-by-step look at each vision.

A-level science – what value practical?

Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Roger McCune

Extract: The Qualifications Regulator in England (Ofqual) has decided that with the implementation of revised (linear) science specifications, first teaching from September 2015, the assessment of practical skills will not contribute to the overall qualification grade. This could have significant implications for post-16 science teaching. The decision was taken by Ofqual in the light of issues that they identified with the current A-level science practical assessments. How science is taught and how our young people are prepared for study at third level education is at stake. Can we be sure that the decision taken by Ofqual is right?

In Your View: What is a good science teacher?

Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Andy Piggott

Extract: Search the Internet for the qualities of a good teacher and a whole range of ideas are thrown at you. Some contain very outmoded ideas, such as that teaching is about the ‘transmission of knowledge’ to students. I have no doubt that such ideas hold sway in government departments! Most people in schools can recognise a good teacher almost instinctively, yet tremendous effort is made at national levels and amongst schools’ managers to impose systems that are meant to ‘improve’ teaching.

Reflections of a Faraday Challenge Day Leader

Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Keira Sewell

Extract: I have just finished my second year as a Challenge Leader for the Faraday Challenge, a STEM-based scheme run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Aimed at 12-13 year-old students, its purpose is to engage students in future careers in engineering.

Helping students build their future in engineering

Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Vincent English

Extract: EngineeringUK estimates that the UK will require 87,000 new engineers a year over the next ten years. However, with skills shortages threatening to derail the UK’s engineering industry, it is clear that immediate action needs to be taken if this quota is to be met. In this article, Vincent English, managing director of Vernier Europe, offers his ideas on how schools can help to rebrand engineering as a desirable career choice for students and discusses the need to equip students with the practical skills needed to thrive in the workplace.


Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Poppy Leeder, NERC

Extract: Earthquakes are one of many areas of research for which the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) provides funding for researchers to work on – with many people travelling to different locations around the world to better understand what happens when there is an earthquake.

Letters to editors

Issue: September 2014 257

International News: A different approach to tackling poaching

Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Lynne Symonds

Extract: Lynne Symonds, past Chair of ASE International Committee and founder of The Wulugu Project, is seeking help with an ambitious but realistic project to tackle poaching at a neglected game reserve in Ghana, through using education to radically improve the lives and prosperity for those who live there.

Primary Science Focus

Issue: September 2014 257

Author: Lois Kelly

Extract: News from the Primary Science Committee and Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT)

The Great Bug Hunt 2014

Issue: September 2014 257

Extract: The winners of this year’s Great Bug Hunt competition have been announced! The competition, brought to you by the Association for Science Education’s learning resource site, takes science learning out of the classroom and brings it to life in the outdoors. This year’s competition was supported by the Royal Entomological Society.

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