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Chief schools inspector calls for new approach to science curriculum

12/01/2018 Joanna

The government's chief schools inspector has called for a change in the way the science curriculum is designed in order to drive higher educational standards.

During a talk at the Association for Science Education Annual Conference at the University of Liverpool, Amanda Spielman said recent research has indicated that not enough attention is being paid to the science curriculum at present, with schools often focusing on English and maths at the expense of science.

Concerns were also raised about the fact that many schools only allow students to take science GCSEs if they achieve certain results, which places too much of a focus on grades and not enough on the individual aspirations of pupils.

Ms Spielman said: "Too few pupils, especially the more disadvantaged ones, are sufficiently challenged and too many have their education and career options unnecessarily limited. Making sure there is a challenging science curriculum for all pupils, with clear pathways into a career, further or higher education, should be a priority for all secondary schools."

As such, the chief inspector has called upon schools to do more to ensure their approach to science teaching does more to help students to develop a scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, as well as the uses and implications of these theories.

This means moving away from an approach in which practical science experiments are mainly conducted purely as a means of motivating students and allowing them to have fun, instead focusing on how these tasks can improve pupils' knowledge and ability to create and test hypotheses.

Ms Spielman stated that Ofsted will continue to invest in sector research to provide schools with accurate insights into how this can be achieved, rather than imposing curriculum guidelines in a direct, top-down manner.

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boris, 06 April 2018
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