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Primary schools 'need to place greater focus on science teaching'

20/09/2017 Joanna

Primary school teachers are not receiving the support they need to enshrine science teaching as a key area of focus, according to a new report.

Conducted by CFE Research on behalf of the Wellcome Trust, the survey of teachers revealed that only around one hour and 24 minutes a week is typically being devoted to the subject by UK primary schools, suggesting that it is not seen as a priority for primary teaching.

Indeed, whereas 84 per cent saw maths as very important to the senior leadership team of their school, with 83 per cent saying the same for English, this number falls to just 30 per cent when it comes to science.

When asked what barriers they experienced when teaching science in primary schools, 35 per cent cited a lack of budget and resources, while 22 per cent pointed to a lack of time and curricular importance, 11 per cent blamed a lack of subject knowledge and ten per cent hinted at issues relating to setting up space or accessing the necessary resources.

Hilary Leevers, head of education and learning at the Wellcome Trust, said: "Right now, science isn't prioritised enough in most primary schools and not enough time is being devoted to the subject. Wellcome recommends a minimum two hours of science teaching a week and we're looking to support teachers to achieve this."

The publication of this report coincides with the launch of Exporify, a new free digital resource developed by the Wellcome Trust to help bolster teachers' confidence and their passion for science by providing new ways for them to help their pupils develop problem-solving abilities, learning skills and creativity through science.

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