UK teachers fly the flag for science in Cascais

After an utterly rewarding, but very exhausting four days in Cascai, Portugal, the UK delegation to the Science On Stage (SoS) Europe Festival returned to these shores proclaiming the expedition a great success – with a number of UK-based teachers singled out for special recognition.

Founded in 2000, on the basis that best way to improve science teaching and to encourage more schoolchildren to consider a career in science or engineering is to motivate and inform their teachers, the not-for-profit SoS Europe Festival brings together science educators from across the continent to exchange best practice and teaching ideas and concepts.

This year’s event saw 400-plus teachers from over 30 countries come together to present and exchange their innovative teaching concepts at a fair, workshops and in short lectures – with the UK represented by 13 primary and secondary teachers, plus an additional support team.

Three of the UK teachers – Sharon Durant, David Rigmand and Adrian Allan – were selected to be part of the highlights package shared on the main stage at the end of each day, meaning that teachers from the UK comprised a full quarter of the Festival’s best-regarded ideas! On top that, the collaborative project between Emma Crissell and Italian teacher Frederico Andreoletti was awarded "Highly Commended" in the joint projects category. 

From a German team’s suggestions of new ways to show how light travels in straight lines, to a Slovakian representative’s range of simple experiments using clothes pegs demonstrating conductivity of materials, the range of insights that can be applied in the classroom was impressive. As too, apparently, were the singing efforts of a multi-national choir of teachers following Sharon’s ‘Sing A Song For Science’ presentation on the main stage!

UK SoS representative Stuart Farmer said: "The Festival brings together educationalists from across Europe in a way that allows them to share ideas together and break down borders. It’s really interesting to hear the perspectives of teachers from other countries – especially coming, as we do, from a country where we have an extremely proscribed curriculum in comparison with most places.

"The whole Festival was really well organised – it was a great venue and it was by far the best team spirit we’ve had as a UK delegation at the festival."

We’ll have a more detailed look at the UK team’s projects and experience in future issues of Education In Science magazine and on the ASE website, while there will be a number of special sessions featuring the Festival at the 2020 ASE Annual Conference in Reading.