Science Learning Centre West Midlands

Article excerpt

The Science Learning Centre West Midlands is one of a network of nine regional Science Learning Centres set up to help teachers make a bigger difference to pupil enjoyment and understanding in science.

This joint initiative between the Department for Education and Skills and the Wellcome Trust was part of a growing concern in the decline in numbers of young people selecting to study chemical and physical sciences post 16.

The West Midlands hub is based on the beautiful Keele University campus.

The hub hosts the team of course developers and provides state-of-the-art facilities for training and conferences.

Centre director Tina Whittaker describes the outreach delivery of courses throughout the West Midlands as an essential part of the service to schools.

"Teachers should be able to access the highest quality science training without the restrictions of long car journeys," she says.

There are five satellite venues, across the West Midlands, selected to make the best use of public transport links or be within an hour reach of most schools.

Participant feedback has been very good from partner venues at Telford, Kidderminster, Birmingham, Leamington Spa and Hereford and an additional satellite centre at Worcester offering the forthcoming Applied Science course joins in June.

The Science Learning Centre is able to support schools by making sense of the many projects available and showing relevance by matching classroom needs to quality resources, so saving teachers' valuable time.

The regional centre collaborates with local authorities, local universities, local industry and other government initiatives including the FE Subject Learning Coach Programme that is now managed for science within the regional science team.

Paul Malpass, national lead for post-16 science, enthuses when he seeks to build further on the subject learning coaches scheme community of learning. More than 1,000 teachers in this region attended a science-focused training event organised by the Science Learning Centre last year.

A full range of courses are on offer from discovery learning for the early years and primary creativity to modern issues - climate change, new approaches to old topics and the confidence raising for those teaching topics beyond their own area of expertise.

With such a wide variety of choices the biggest challenge is making sure that all three thousand schools know where to go for their first choice in CPD to raise science standards in their school.

To get regular course updates, teachers should email c.l.phillips@slcwm.keele.ac.uk or request a school visit from a field officer.

Fast approaching is the West Midlands Science Learning Centre's first birthday on June 8.

To celebrate there will be a showcase of free workshops and discounted courses for teachers and technicians.

Primary - CPD for Classroom Creativity Courses designed to enable teachers to make the most of opportunities to work outdoors, to challenge Myths and Legends and to learn through discovery and enquiry.

WM509 Key Stage1 and 2: Mythical Beasts June 7 WM408 Foundation Stage: Create a Science Corner July 3

WM607 Trees and tree rings: innovative approaches learning in and out of the classroom June 27

Primary-CPD for improving science skills Courses designed to support schools responding to or preparing for some of the common whole school issues raised by Ofsted.

WM65 Let's Investigate. Developing Scientific Enquiry for KS 1 & 2 June 27

WM63 Getting into data logging and beyond June 5

Birthday event - free showcase events Join us to find out how we can work with your school to raise standards in science. Primary, secondary and technician events available.

WM417 Difficult Science through Practical Work

WM121 Logotron workshops - David Shakespeare presents effective science ideas. …