The history of Twenty First Century Science

The Twenty First Century Science project was established by the University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) in the early 2000s. Its aim was to design courses that would develop the scientific literacy of future citizens as well as being good preparation for young people who want to study science beyond GCSE level.  This approach to the 14–16 science curriculum was inspired by the Beyond 2000 report published by Robin Millar and Jonathan Osborne in 1998 (read more about the research-informed development of Twenty First Century Science.

The Twenty First Century Science courses were developed by science education researchers, experienced curriculum developers and teachers working in collaboration.

The first course materials were piloted in schools in England in the early-to-mid 2000s. In 2006, the first editions of the specifications were published by OCR, with textbooks and teaching resources published by Oxford University Press. The course specifications and materials were updated to match the revised GCSE science curriculum in 2011, and again in 2016.

The project has been funded by The Salters’ Institute, the Nuffield Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Project staff have included John Holman, Robin Millar, Jenifer Burden, Mary Whitehouse and Alistair Moore at the University of York Science Education Group, and Andrew Hunt, Peter Campbell, Angela Hall and Emma Palmer at the Nuffield Foundation.

The Twenty First Century Science project is grateful to the many teachers, schools, scientists, authors and examiners who have contributed to the development of the course specifications and materials.