Scotland 'behind in science at school'

Written by Tom Freeman on 12 November 2014 in News

Scientific societies say more needs to be done to protect science in schools

Scotland has fallen behind other countries in teaching science at school, new research has claimed.

State schools in Scotland also lack the resources and equipment to provide adequate education in science, according to a report published today by Learned Societies’ Group on Scottish Science Education (LSG), a collaboration of scientific societies and professional bodies.

Figures collected by SCORE (Science Community Representing Education) suggest the Curriculum for Excellence has led to less spent per pupil on science education in primary and secondary schools in Scotland is less than in England’s more traditional curriculum.

In a survey of Scottish schools, more than 80 per cent of secondary schools indicated that they are not confident in having enough equipment to deliver practical science work effectively over the next two years, with 98 per cent of secondary and primary schools reporting that they have to draw on external funding sources to support practical science work.

Professor Sally Brown, chair of the LSG, said, “Taking part in science practical work at school is an essential part of the learning process. It demonstrates the essence of science and the scientific method as it underpins the skills that young people need and the country is seeking.”

The LSG is publishing the report Resourcing of Science in Scottish Schools at the annual Science and the Parliament event today. At the event the Royal Society of Chemistry will also launch a campaign to increase the supply of primary school teachers with a science background.

Bristow Muldoon, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Public Affairs Adviser in Scotland, said: “A good science education at primary school is crucial to make sure we have a steady supply of skilled scientists for the Scottish economy, so [we are] calling on the Scottish Government to commit to every primary school having access to a science subject leader – a teacher with a science background or appropriate level of training to support their colleagues in teaching science.”

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