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Science Education Best Practice

The Association for Science Education provides an independent, powerful voice for the science education community. We represent the views of our members and the wider education community on a broad range of areas across science education. Submissions to government consultations and position statements are written by expert committee members. 

Best Practice Guidance

Best Practice Guidance: Scientific Enquiry

April 2017 - Science curricula across the UK all include reference to the ways in which scientific knowledge is acquired. Statutory requirements use a range of terminology (for example inquiry and investigative skills, how science works, and working scientifically) which essentially describe the process of scientific enquiry.

Also see Scientific Enquiry in the UK for information on how science enquiry progresses from primary to secondary in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Best Practice Guidance: CPD Entitlement and Provision

April 2017 - Training and continuing subject specific professional development are essential components in maintaining high standards of quality science education and in meeting the need for change within science education.

Best Practice Guidance: Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

April 2017 - The ASE aims to foster positive working relationships with all those involved in ITE to support the development of sufficient quantity and quality of science teachers to meet schools’ needs, and hence to ensure high quality science education for all children and young people. 

Also see Overview of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) which has been provided by representatives from Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).

Best Practice Guidance: Technicians

April 2017 - The demands of the science curriculum in the UK can only be achieved when a suitable number of appropriately trained technical support staff are available. 

Best Practice Guidance: Professional Recognition

April 2017 - It is through the process of engagement in CPD and reflection as part of professional practice that a model of professionalism develops.  For technicians and teachers in schools and colleges, an appropriate qualification is only the starting point for the status of a professional. 

Consultation Responses

A response to the Department for Education consultation on primary assessment in England

June 2017 - The Association welcomes the spirit of the consultation as ‘a significant step towards establishing a settled, stable primary assessment system that is trusted by teachers and parents’ and in support of efforts to address teachers’ significant workload issues, agrees with the principles of assessment that ‘government should only collect data that is needed for a robust accountability system’. The main focus of our response is on the role, operation and improvement of teacher assessment in science.

ASE Scotland Response: A response to the Scottish government’s draft STEM education & training strategy

January 2017 - ASE, as part of The Learned Societies’ Group on Scottish STEM Education, welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to bringing forward a STEM Education and Training Strategy. However, we would have expected the strategy to draw more extensively and explicitly on the many constructive, specific and evidence-based recommendations from the STEM Education Committee.

ASE Response: A response to the House of Commons Education Committee’s inquiry on Primary Assessment

October 2016 - The Association strongly recommends a continuation of the current arrangements for primary science assessment in 2016/17, and beyond, to allow time for the national curriculum to become embedded and for teachers to gather and track pupil data over sufficient years to make moderated judgements against all the performance descriptors.

ASE Response: A response to the Joint Royal Society-British Academy call for views on educational research

October 2016 - The ASE is a unique group which brings together teachers, educational researchers and others and so offers the opportunity for an exchange of ideas and genuine debate about research into practice. The Association’s Research Group helps teachers and other members to realise the potential and scope of different forms and approaches to research. As a result that they can begin to understand, and develop their ideas in practice, that research can provide insights, interpretations and answers about current interests in educational practice. 

ASE Response: A response to the IPPR report ‘Beyond the plateau: The case for an institute for advanced teaching’

October 2016 - In this response to a recent report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research, we welcome any initiative which seeks to close the educational attainment gap between economically less advantaged children and their wealthier peers. However our response calls for caution with respect to international comparisons and further consideration of existing CPD and master level qualification programmes.

Joint Response: A response to Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence to inform their ‘Partial review of the Shortage Occupation List: Teachers’

The ASE, alongside other charities and learned societies, have responded to the Government's Migration Advisory Service (MAC) urging them to recognise the shortage of STEM teachers in the UK. The joint response provides evidence to support the continued inclusion of chemistry, mathematics and physics on the list and provides further evidence to suggest that computing teachers should also be added. 

ASE Response: A response to the Govenment's white paper ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’

May 2016 - In this response we welcome aspects of the Government's proposals, including greater support for teachers during their early careers, more professional freedom and recognition of the importance of high quality professional development. However we have raised concerns that there is a lack of evidence to support the proposed mechanisms for achieving these ambitions. We outline the need to provide a broad and balanced curriculum within a local context. We argue that Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) should be retained and a further consideration of ITT provision is required.  Our response includes 5 recommendations to Government. Further information.

Joint Statement: Human Development and Reproduction in the Primary Curriculum

March 2016 - The purpose of this document, produced jointly by the Association of Science Education and the PSHE Association, is to inform teachers, school leaders and governors about what the science curriculum requires in respect to sex education and the vocabulary that supports this teaching and learning.

LSG Statement: Improvements to National Qualifications and Assessment: a response to the Scottish Government’s review

March 2016 - Learned Societies’ Group on STEM Education in Scotland (LSG) highlight aspects of the qualifications and assessment reforms that we consider, from a STEM perspective, to be a priority for the review. This includes multi-course teaching, internal assessment, the uptake of STEM courses and enabling feedback processes.

ASE Statement: Assessment in Science

February 2016 - For assessment to be effective and informative teachers should plan with assessment in mind.  Starting with the curriculum expectations for the age group  teachers need to think about what it means for children to have secure knowledge and understanding for a chosen aspect of the science curriculum and to plan activities that will support their learning and achieve the desired outcome.

Joint Response: Implementing the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)

January 2016 - This statement, in response to an Government consultation on implementing the English Baccalaureate, highlights issues surrounding teacher recruitment and the restriction of science options.

Joint Response: Teachers' Professional Development Expert Group Call for Evidence

October 2015 - ASE, as part of a group of expert organisations, has submitted a response on teachers' professional development to the Government. This response recognises the need for professional development for teachers that is fit-for-purpose, timely and accessible.

Joint Response: Supply of teachers - response to inquiry

November 2015 - ASE, with other science organisations, responded to the Education Select Committee's inquiry into the Supply of Teachers. This response included recommendations for government to tackle teacher shortages, as well as recognition for the issues at the heart of teacher recruitment and retention.

ASE Response: Content and Assessment for teaching from September 2017

September 2015 - This response to the DfE and Ofqual consultation has been formulated in consultation with ASE’s national 11-19 Committee, Assembly and Outdoor Science Working Group. Together these groups bring expertise in secondary science education, from a range of viewpoints, including education research, classroom practitioners and professional development.

Joint statement: Teaching about puberty

September 2014 - Joint briefing by the Association of Science Education and the PSHE Association. This briefing is focused on the content of the Science National Curriculum for maintained schools but will be valuable to all schools. The briefing provides guidance to schools about their statutory duties to ensure that all children learn about puberty.

ASE response: Effective initial teacher education

September 2014 - This statement was submitted in response to the Government's call for evidence concerning Initial Teacher Training in England. The independent review, led by Sir Andrew Carter, investigates the effective training of the next generation of outstanding teachers. 

Joint statement: Lack of funding of practical science in scottish schools

November 2014 - New research finds that pupils in state schools in Scotland are not being provided with the science equipment and resources to meets the demands of the curriculum and that teachers are insufficiently supported to teach science.

ASE statement: GCSE and A-level science practical work 

June 2014 -  ASE believes that practical work at the heart of science learning and that it is vitally important for the science education community to work together to improve the teaching and assessment of practical work in the science curriculum. This statement outlines our main concerns about government reforms to science qualifications and calls for research into developing assessment throughout the 11-19 phases in order to encourage and support the practical aspects of science learning.

ASE statement: Primary assessment and accountability

October 2013 - ASE's response to the Government's consultation on primary assessment and accountability covers teacher assessment and reporting to parents, national curriculum tests, baselines to measure progress, and accountability. 

ASE statement: Science education in Northern Ireland

September 2013 -  In Northern Ireland, students are not required to study any science beyond age 14, which contrasts with the rest of the UK and many other countries. We raise concerns about the impact of the revised curriculum on opportunities to prepare and inspire young people about STEM subjects.

View Previous consultation responses and statements

ASE's work with partners

The Association for Science Education, Institute of PhysicsRoyal SocietyRoyal Society of Biology and Royal Society of Chemistry work in partnership to promote high-quality science education in schools. As part of this group, we provide guidance and advice to those who make policy decisions about science education and advocate evidence-informed science education policy. Our collective belief is that science education should prepare present and future citizens for modern society, stimulate interest in the further study of the sciences and educate the next generation of science-based professionals. Previously we used the SCORE brand when working together, but in future we will simply use the names of our organisations. All publications from before 2015 are available to read here.

Similarly ASE works as part of the Learned Societies' Group on Scottish Science Education (LSG) which was established in 2012. Its remit includes identifying and promoting priorities for school science education in Scotland; monitoring and responding to school science education initiatives and developments; and stimulating debate relating to these issues in Scotland. The group comprises representatives from the: ASE, British Computer Society, Engineering Policy Group in Scotland, Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Edinburgh and Society of Biology.

Since 1997, the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and the Association for Science Education have worked together in partnership on a variety of science projects to support and celebrate science in the primary setting. This joint statement reaffirms the partnership and our vision for the future working relationship is that, wherever possible, PSTT and ASE will partner on Primary School Science projects for the advancement of primary science in the UK in order to optimise the benefits for all. The Primary Science Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by PSTT, is endorsed by the ASE.

Find our more about our work with partners