A national network is being set up to deliver high-quality continuing professional development to science teachers and technicians. The first centre will open in October 2004 and a national centre in 2005.The centres will be managed by universities and colleges working in partnership and they will offer teachers access to newly furbished laboratories and advanced ICT equipment. They will provide innovative courses covering traditional science and the wider ethical issues of science in society, cutting-edge scientific research and developments across business and industry. Their objectives will be to reinvigorate teaching skills, boost science literacy and understanding of its impact on society among pupils.
A new website will serve the network at www.sciencelearningcentres.org.uk. From spring 2004 the site will provide access to course information, a booking system, as well as continuous professional development resources.
The Regional Science Learning Centres will be funded by 26 million pounds from the Department for Education and Skills and the National Centre by 25 million pounds from The Wellcome Trust.
Alan Johnson, Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, said: “Science education in the UK ranks among the finest in the world, but the speed of scientific development means that if we are to retain this position, all science teachers need to be familiar with contemporary ways to inspire their students both as citizens and scientists of the future. Through our close partnership with theWellcome Trust, we feel that the Science Learning Centres will provide a catalyst to bring together educators, scientists and industry to offer teachers innovative thinking and advanced resources.”