A committee of MPs has concluded that many students are receiving poor practical science experiences during their secondary school education.
The Science and Technology Committee report, ‘Practical Experiments in School Science Lessons and Science Field Trips (HC 1060-I)’, concludes there was no credible evidence to support the frequently cited explanation of health and safety concerns for a decline in practicals and trips. Instead, more focus is needed on what happens after teachers have been recruited to the profession: knowledge and practical skills must be maintained and developed in order for high quality science education to be delivered.
The report goes on to say practical science is relatively expensive and carries little cachet for parents comparing schools. The inspection regime and the requirements set for exam boards should therefore drive higher quality with more and better practical science lessons.
The Committee also found a lack of coherence in the provision of science educational materials. It urges the science community to utilise the Science, Technology, English and Mathematics (STEM) directories – the online database of STEM enhancement and enrichment activities for schools and colleges – and calls on the government to secure the future of the directories which provide vital contacts between schools and scientists.
Finally, the Committee urges the government to provide a detailed strategy on how it intends to achieve its ambition to increase participation in school science subjects.
Despite some downbeat words, it does appear that the government is committed to keeping practical science alive.
We are always excited to spot Gratnells trays in the national media, so today we were thrilled to spot some trays in ITV’s Daybreak Programme. Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley introduced a feature about a Donate A Coat appeal and the cameras cut to Nick Dixon at Houghton Primary School in Cambridgeshire. And featuring in the background was a lovely array of F1 shallow trays. We know they are in pretty much every UK classroom – but it still gives us a ‘shallow’ thrill to see them on TV.
For the first time Gratnells will be exhibiting at BETT 2012 in London in January next year. I will be joined by Spencer Randon, our Director of International Sales, and Robert Marmoy, our export manager to field calls and queries about Gratnells products.
BETT is dedicated to showcasing the best in UK and international educational technology products, resources and best practice, BETT has enabled thousands of practitioners to enhance their knowledge of learning through technology.
Taking place each January at Olympia in London, BETT attracts more than 600 educational suppliers and around 30,000 visitors. It brings together the global teaching and learning community for four days of innovations and inspirations.
Why not get in touch to make an appointment on firstname.lastname@example.org
We have developed a fantastic new stand for our quadrant tray. As you can see from the pictures it can be used as a single or joined together to create the perfect sand and water play area. For more details and costs please contact me directly on email@example.com
After months of building work the LearnSpace project (formerly aka The Learning Cube) in Corby, Northamptonshire is finished (well nearly…a lot of technology and sound proofing is still needed). A disused warehouse has now been converted into a large empty space into which model classrooms can be built to conduct detailed research into the learning environment. While it will not be formally opened until next year the venue was used for the first meeting of UK Learning, the British arm of CEFPI, the Council of Educational of Education Facility Planners. CEFPI is a North American professional association whose sole mission is improving the places where children learn. An interesting time was had by all.
There is less than a year to go before the opening of the new Kettering Science Academy. Thanks to Northamptonshire County Council and Willmott Dixon Construction I was given an advanced tour of the building amid the work. The new academy consists of a series of two-storey facility wings arranged around a grand circular courtyard and replaces the existing secondary phase of the academy. The building is linked to the retained primary schools by means of a landscaped avenue and exploits the changes of level across the site. The academy is due to open next September with Brooke Western Academy trust as the sponsor.
We were delighted to receive a photo from Sandra Wollerton our Gratnells Science Technician of the Year showing herself and a fellow Technician at Danum Academy, Doncaster with part of her prize.
“The trolleys supplied by Gratnells are the most useful we have ever had. They are so much more useful than bigger ones on a day to day basis. The bigger ones were supplied automatically when we had our labs refurbed but the science department weren’t involved in such detail. This sort of thing is perhaps thought of more by a technician than anyone else.”
It just goes to show once again the importance of specifiers and architects having the right information when designing a lab specification.
We have installed a new state-of-the-art spray line extension at Gratnells HQ. This large bit of equipment now gives us the facility to spray all our metalwork in a variety of colours more easily. We are now offering five colours as standard instead of our previous three – grey, beige, white – and now blue and silver complete the range. The new extension also gives us the facility to produce our frames, trolleys and runners in any colour – so if you are interested in a bespoke run just drop me an email