Headlines: October 20th, 2009

More students would opt to study science after the age of 16 and exam grades would improve if more heads allowed teachers to attend professional development programmes, according to a report today. The National Science Learning Centre is leading a campaign to improve the quality of science teaching and for the first time it has analysed fully the impact of the network of National and Regional Science Learning Centres.

It has surveyed more than 2,000 teachers and found that more than 90 per cent said continual professional development programmes had a positive impact on them, their school or their pupils. Almost as many reported changing their teaching methods and more than two thirds said they had developed new skills in teaching.

In the last year 73 per cent of secondary schools in England and 17 per cent of primaries have sent teachers on a Science Learning Centre programme.  The NSLC says the survey findings suggest strongly that if teachers from all schools and colleges across the UK took advantage of the continual professional development on offer there would be a significant increase in students’ engagement and achievements.

Professor John Holman, Director of the Centre, said the figures told a fascinating and extremely important story, offering hard evidence that a teacher’s interest and passion for a subject led directly too increased student motivation and attainment. “We know what the formula is and what a dramatic effect more continual professional development for science teachers would have. The challenge is to make sure all head teachers are aware of the huge benefits high-quality CPD can have and its transformative effect on students,” he added.