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Is there a crisis in school science education in the UK?

Smith, Emma (2010) Is there a crisis in school science education in the UK? Educational Review, 62 (2). pp. 189-202. ISSN 0013-1911

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131911003637014

Identification Number/DOI: 10.1080/00131911003637014

This paper reviews the extent to which contemporary concerns over the recruitment, training and retention of scientists have persisted among science education policy makers. Drawing upon key government reports that have been commissioned in order to review the position of science education and training over the last 90 years, we consider the historical context of contemporary 'moral panics' about the position of science education in schools. Three themes emerge: the nature and purpose of the school science curriculum, the recruitment of science undergraduates, and the teaching of science in schools. The review suggests that many of the concerns which pre-occupy us today, such as the perceived ‘quality’ of the science teaching workforce, are the very same that existed when science was first introduced as a school subject. This raises issues about the role of policy in influencing educational change more generally but also questions whether there ever was a ‘golden age’ for science education in the UK.

Type of Work:Article
Date:May 2010 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Education
Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Education
Department:Education and Social Justice
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Keywords:education, social justice, education policy, science, education and social justice, secondary education, secondary schools, science crisis, teaching, teacher recruitment
Subjects:LB2361 Curriculum
Q Science (General)
LB Theory and practice of education
LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
L Education (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:University of Birmingham
ID Code:592
Refereed:YES
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