Criminal checks on people working with children to be eased

More than half of the 9 million people who have needed criminal record checks to work with children and vulnerable adults are to be freed from the burden under new legislation.

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Staff’s confidence crisis hits science grades

TES  reports on the findings from Ofsted’s ‘Successful Science’ review of science teaching in schools from 2007-2010 which found that science teaching in primary schools has deteriorated over the last three years due to teachers’ “lack of confidence”, Ofsted has warned, however standards have improved in secondary schools.

Areas of particular concern included primary teachers’ limited knowledge of science, the low take-up of continuing professional development and reduced levels of local authority support.

The review found that in weaker primaries, pupils had “fewer opportunities to plan and carry out investigative activities”, and many repeated their learning when they moved between key stages due to “weak communication and poor continuity”. However the abolition of science testing at KS2 had allowed more “varied”, “engaging” and “enjoyable” lessons.

Source: TES and Ofsted ‘Successful Science’  ndp dbda

Examples of engaging and stimulating science resources:
National Grid Education – School Power
Syngenta Periodic Table


ndp dbda

Ofsted finds science improving in secondary schools

The quality of science education has improved over the past three years with pupils’ progress in science reported as good or outstanding in 70% of primary schools and in two thirds of secondary schools visited. However there are areas that need further improvement, particularly in primary schools.

Key points for dbda:
– in schools which showed clear improvement in science subjects, key factors in promoting students’ engagement, learning and progress were more practical science lessons and development of the skills of scientific enquiry
– the best science education has scientific enquiry and other aspects of ‘how science works’ at its heart
– insufficient professional development  in science to tackle the lack of confidence amonst primary teachers, particularly in their understanding of scientific enquiry skills and the physical sciences
– lack of specialist training and short tenure in the role, limited the effectiveness of science coordinators in developing teaching and raising achievements in primary schools
– secondary teachers in particular benefited from attending courses at the network of Science learning Centres, but too few of the schools visited had taken advantage of this high quality provision

Ofsted’s report ‘Successful Science’ is based on an evaluation of science education in England 2007-10 which looked at the strengths and weaknesses of science in 94 primary schools, 94 secondary schools, two special schools and 31 colleges.

For full report:

Source: Ofsted (Nicki)

Back to Basics – curriculum review

The Government’s ‘back to basics’ review of the curriculum started last week to decide on the future status of the eight non-core subjects and develop study programmes in English, Maths, Science and PE (statutory). There are fears that citizenship could be a casualty of the review. The Government wants the new curriculum (to be taught from 2013) to give schools ‘greater freedom to construct their own programmes of study outside the National Curriculum and develop approaches to learning and study which complement it’.

Phase 1 Timings: Autumn 2011 – Ministers consider recommendations; Early 2012 – public consultation on core subjects for teaching from Sept 2013

Phase 2 Timings: non-core subjects reviewed by Autumn 2012; public consultation early 2013, teaching from Sept 2014

Source: TES 21st Jan (Nicki)


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