Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Update on Science in Schools Review

Last week at the Education Scrutiny Committee, I reported on teh work that I have been working on as part of the working group looking at science in Barnet's schools. The work we have done shows that while we should remain vigilant about the state of science in our schools, we should not be as concerned as the national media reports suggest. The average results for Barnet show an increase between 2001 and 2006 which are better than the national average and the average for similar local areas.

At Key Stage 2 attainment is stable for both boys and girls. Those achieving level 5 has risen by about 10% which is above the national average and the same as our statistical neighbours.

At Key Stage 3 attainment has improved for both boys and girls by13% at level 6 and 9% and level 5. We are meeting the nationally imposed target of 79% reaching level 5 in 2006 and are above the national average and those of similar local authorities.

At GCSE and A Level there has been an overall increase in entries particularly for the individual sciences as opposed to a broader curriculum. While results have increased in line with the national average.

Over the remainder of the review we will therefore examine the impact of the new GCSE curriculum that has been introduced nationally for those doing GCSE science in year 10 this year. This is a more practical curriculum which is aimed to make science more interesting to pupils in the 21st century and so encourage further uptake at A-Level and beyond.

As a committee we have decided to therefore spend the majority of our time looking at how this new curriculum is bedding down in our schools. We will look at how well teachers, with the support of the local authority have the capability to teach this new style and increasingly practical and computer based curriculum. Look at the views of pupils in the current year 10 and compare their view of the curriculum to older years. Look at examples of best practice and areas which can be improved.

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