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Oak National Academy award to develop science in schools

Posted on 14 March 2023

Researchers at the University of York have been awarded £1.4 million to develop online science materials for schools.

The award will develop online science materials for schools, covering the primary and secondary science curriculum in England, age 5-16

The University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) and the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC), part of the Department of Chemistry at York, will work together to develop lesson resources for teachers and pupils covering the primary and secondary science curriculum in England, age 5-16.  

Working with the Oak National Academy, the curriculum resources will draw on the expertise and work of both groups and will be developed by members of UYSEG’s  Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST) project team and CIEC, working with expert science teachers across the country.  


The materials will support teachers to engage in evidence-informed practice, to improve and develop resources, a current key Government initiative in education.  

Professor Judith Bennett, Department of Education and part of UYSEG, at the University of York, said: “The provision of high-quality digital resources, built around a well-structured curriculum, and underpinned by the best educational research, will be an invaluable resource for use in science classrooms.”

UYSEG aims to support science education through the development and evaluation of curriculum resources that translate science education research into practical classroom resources, as well as producing research that influences policy and improves training and support for education practitioners.

Knowledge and skills

Joy Parvin, Director of CIEC said: ”As well as developing a full suite of resources for Key Stages 1 and 2, we will be collaborating with our secondary colleagues to smooth transition from Key Stage 2 to 3, thus building on the knowledge and skills children have gained during their primary years.”

The CIEC team of six primary science specialists and dedicated science education researchers, engage in a wide range of primary science initiatives, nationally and internationally, focusing on the development of primary science resources and the delivery of continuing professional development. 


Professor Paul Wakeling, Head of the Department of Education, said "The project builds on a long and distinguished tradition of research and curriculum-focussed work in science education at York which helps science teachers to improve pupils' learning"

Matt Hood, Chief Executive of Oak National Academy, said: “Every part of the education sector – from trusts to publishers to subject associations – are part of this collaboration, forming a coalition of top-tier expertise. It means teachers will have access to some of the smartest curriculum thinking and resource design on tap, something they have told us they want.

“Our subject expert groups are a truly diverse mix of classroom teachers and subject experts from across the sector and have a vital role in providing feedback on our curricula and resources as they are developed to make sure they meet the needs of teachers whatever their school and context.”

Further information:

University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) in the Department of Education

UYSEG has a national and international reputation for its research and curriculum development work.  Current and recent projects include a project on the assessment of practical work in school science, funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Royal Society, and a project exploring teaching science in an interdisciplinary way, funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC) in the Department of Chemistry

CIEC is a collaborative organisation, with current partnerships with many STEM companies across the UK to run Children Challenging Industry, Science Oxford’s Thinking Doing Talking Science, Teacher Assessment in Primary Science, National STEM Learning, and the Association for Science Education (ASE BEST Bites, an online Continuing Professional Development resource for teachers, in partnership with ASE and UYSEG, and funded by Wellcome).

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