Our Policy Work
The Association for Science Education provides an independent, powerful voice for the science education community. We represent the views of our members on a broad range of areas across science education. Submissions to government consultations and position statements are written by expert committee members supported by staff.
Working to improve science education in partnership
The Association for Science Education, Institute of Physics, Royal Society, Royal Society of Biology and Royal Society of Chemistry work in partnership to promote high-quality science education in schools as an Education Policy Alliance. 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.
ASE Consultation and Policy Responses
July 2020 - We share our submission to Ofqual, regarding the proposed assessment of GCSEs and A Levels in 2021, and OCR's proposed Natural History GCSE qualification...
April 2020 - We share our submission to Ofqual, along with details of two upcoming Association For Science Education online events we've organised for members relating dirctly to the issue of exam-less assessment...
March 2020 - CEO Hannah Russell responds to government decision that all schools will close for duration of the Coronavirus crisis.
October 2019 - The ASE reaction to news that new science teachers in England will receive ‘staying on’ bonuses of up to £9,000 from next year as part of the government’s promise of increased funding for schools.
May 2019 - A letter from subject associations urges the DfE to prioritise subject-based mentoring
May 2019 - ASE welcomes the ambition of these Ofsted proposals and appreciates what Ofsted is hoping to achieve for the education of our children and for their teachers. We strongly support the proposal to introduce a ‘quality of education’ judgement that recognises the relationships between the curriculum, teaching, assessment and leadership, and the extent to which these can be collectively evaluated through the stages of intent, implementation and impact. ASE’s consultation response reflects the perspectives of our membership. We would like to thank all our members who contributed to our response.
April 2019 – ASE welcomes the ambition of these Ofsted proposals and appreciates what Ofsted is hoping to achieve for the education of our children and for their teachers. We strongly support the proposal to introduce a ‘quality of education’ judgement that recognises the relationships between the curriculum, teaching, assessment and leadership, and the extent to which these can be collectively evaluated through the stages of intent, implementation and impact.
May 2018 - ASE opposes changes made to Working with Big Ideas of Science Education that compromises the scientific accuracy and the pedagogical effectiveness of the idea.
March 2018 - ASE welcomes the spirit of the consultation in proposing ‘options to strengthen development and career progression for all teachers, throughout their careers……making teaching as attractive as possible to prospective teachers…….developing existing teachers and supporting them to stay in the profession.’ We agree that there needs to be significant improvements to career progression offered to all teachers, which will benefit recruitment, and more importantly, retention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feb 2015 - The ASE welcomes the announcement of support from the Department for Education (DfE) for an independent College of Teaching; we are in favour of the College although there is some work to do to ascertain how subject associations, like ASE, work in partnership with the College.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.