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Boffins to UK.gov: Don't muck around with science teaching

You cannae change the laws of physics

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A group of prominent UK scientists is warning that changes to the way science is taught in schools are being made too fast, and without proper consultation.

The Science Community Partnership Supporting Education (Score)* says the planned changes should be piloted before being rolled out on such a massive scale. Its report was published to coincide with a House of Lords debate on science in schools.

The government has proposed changes to the science curriculum in a bid to make the subject more accessible to students. It says it wants science to be more flexible and less prescriptive. We at El Reg are all in favour of this. If the powers that be can find a way to make that gravity stuff optional, we'd be much obliged.

Score says schools should be given the option of trying the new curriculum out over the next year before the changes come into force in two years' time

The Institute of Physics has warned that while the less restrictive curriculum means teachers can exercise judgement about how to teach their students, it could also end up with many classes being taught "to the test".

Daniel Sandford Smith, the education manager for schools and colleges at the Institute of Physics, told The Guardian: "This kind of teaching to the test actually undermines the government's ambitions in making these changes to personalise pupils' learning."

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) says it has consulted widely on the proposed changes, and that plenty of teachers agree with the plans. It added: "Teachers are not being asked to tear up lesson plans and start again from September 2008." ®

*Comprising the Association for Science Education, Biosciences Federation, Institute of Biology, Institute of Physics, Royal Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Science Council.

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