Science: Teachers

Education written question – answered on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Conservative, Mid Worcestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps she is taking to help schools provide subject-specific continuing professional development for science teachers.

Photo of David Laws David Laws The Minister of State, Cabinet Office, The Minister for Schools

The Department for Education currently supports curriculum-focused continuing professional development (CPD) for science teachers and technicians through a contract with Ltd to manage five regional science learning centres (RSLCs). The five RSLCs additionally co-ordinate and quality assure up to 10 local science learning partnerships (SLPs) each, which bring together teaching schools and other outstanding schools, higher education institutions, independent schools, further education and sixth-form colleges and employers and industry experts to deliver CPD locally.

In addition, the Department provides funding to Ltd to support the payment of impact awards for science teachers and technicians who attend and undertake CPD run by the regional science learning centres and science learning partnerships.

The Department also funds the Triple Science Support Programme (TSSP), delivered by Ltd, to provide an extensive programme of practical support and guidance to schools on how to provide triple science at GCSE level. The TSSP focuses its support on schools that do not currently offer triple science or that have few pupils taking triple science.

The Department supports the improvement of science teaching through a joint arrangement with the Wellcome Trust and industry partners to fund CPD through scholarship awards called Enthuse Awards. Over five years from August 2013 to July 2018, the Department will provide £10 million to schools to support teachers’ attendance at high quality science CPD training delivered by the National Science Learning Centre.

The Stimulating Physics Network has also been set up to provide support at regional level to increase progression to A-level physics. This is funded by the Department and administered by the Institute of Physics. The network provides two strands of support: universal support for all schools, which offers programmes of workshops, networking opportunities and other professional development events though a team of physics network co-ordinators; and developing intensive partnerships with selected schools provided through a team of teaching and learning coaches who facilitate tailored programmes of CPD.

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