The government this week (Tuesday 6 December) announced a £12.1million investment in Science Learning Partnerships (SLPs) until 2019 to support the teaching of science in schools.
The multimillion pound package will enable SLPs to provide continued professional development for science teachers, support schools to share best practice and offer tailored in-school support. The programme will also support schools to encourage more teenagers to take GCSE triple science - physics, chemistry and biology.
This announcement comes as new data in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 report showed very positive headline results:
- by age 15, students in the United Kingdom perform above the OECD average in science
- UK boys and girls are equally likely to score at level 5 or 6, the highest levels of proficiency, in science
- quarter of UK students want to work in science
- higher than average number of UK students have positive attitude towards science
- there is no significant gender difference in the expectations of UK students
Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive of the National STEM Learning Network that manages the network of Science Learning Partnerships, said "These positive headlines are the result of the hard work and dedication of teachers, support staff and STEM Ambassadors in schools, colleges, community organisations and STEM employers from across the UK. A coordinated approach to engaging young people in STEM subjects is beginning to pay off. We are ensuring teachers have the professional development they need, that resources are available, and that role models from industry can work with pupils to build their enthusiasm for the subject. Much more can be done and we are delighted that the government has announced further funding for Science Learning Partnerships."
David Struthers continues: "As the local SLP we are the go-to place for professional development that helps to improve science teaching in schools. Seeing the difference we make across the area is fantastic."
The PISA study is conducted every three years and tests 15-year-olds in science, maths and reading in over 70 participating countries. More than 5,000 teenagers were tested and surveyed in England and also asked about their learning experience and future aspirations.
Further detail is contained within the full PISA 2015 UK country note.