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Science teachers go back to school

Posted on 28 March 2002

Visits to industrial sites and residential study courses at university are on the curriculum for school science teachers in two new programmes designed to enhance their teaching.

Science teachers in primary and secondary schools are set to benefit from two programmes being developed at the University of York to enhance science education. The programme has been made possible by a grant from Gatsby Technical Education Projects.

Primary school teachers will work with industrial partners to arrange visits by school children to industrial sites. Topics which might be taught with industrial themes include water usage in industry and the properties and uses of plastics. Visits to industrial sites will help the children to understand the application of scientific principles. The project will benefit both teachers and pupils by helping them understand the role of science in industry.

The secondary school Science Enhancement Programme will draw upon the links which have been established at the University between the Science Education Group and the departments of Physics, Chemistry and Educational Studies. Teachers on the programme will attend a three week residential study course. The focus will be upon updating teachers' knowledge of their subject, with contributions from external speakers from industry, as well as updating their knowledge of the latest developments in the teaching of science.

The first ten chemistry and physics teachers from all over England have just completed the first residential course. The teachers have studied Music, Vacuum Physics, Green Chemistry and Building New Molecules during the first of the residential weeks. Teachers will be encouraged to consider new ideas that they can bring to their teaching, for example, the role of practical work and how to encourage student thinking skills, and this will be emphasised in a personal project developed in their own schools. Over 60 teachers are waiting in the wings for their chance to come to York.

"I wasn't sure what to expect - the course sounded most interesting (which is why I applied), but it has been superb - the best I've been on in 30 years of teaching," said Anne Bambridge, of Mascalls School in Tonbridge, as she completed the final morning of the residential course. Anne, refreshed and inspired, is now going back to school to develop new practical materials and to work with her colleagues on implementing new ideas she has picked for the various science courses taught at Mascalls school.

Notes to editors:

  • The University of York Science Education Group is concerned with science curriculum development and associated research. The Group has developed the highly successful range of Salters Science courses jointly with industry. For further information, please go to
  • Further information on the Science Enhancement Programme can be found at
  • The Gatsby Technical Education Project has been established for the advancement of education for the benefit of the public. Further information can be found at

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David Garner
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Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153