WALES: Welsh Schools in Science Rap; Drive to Lift Teaching Standards Urged
Byline: By TOM BODDEN Welsh Affairs Correspondent
A CRITICAL report by schools' inspectors yesterday called for better training for teachers to improve standards in science in secondary schools.
A study by the inspections body Estyn revealed standards were lower in science than in almost all other subject at secondary level, especially at GCSE, but also in sixth form.
The quality of teaching for 14-19 year olds was also classed as 'generally worse'.
The findings came despite the Welsh Assembly Government drawing up a science vision for Wales in 2006, which stated improvements in science education was key to overcoming shortages in those studying more advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The last six chief inspector's of schools annual reports highlighted low standards in science in secondary schools compared to other subjects, compared with primary schools, where pupils' achievement in science is among the best.
The report called for greater co-operation between schools to offer a wider range of opportunities in science for learners of all abilities and interests.
Estyn also urges the Assembly Government to secure more training opportunities for teachers who do not specialise in physics and to review incentives to encourage the recruitment and retention of qualified physics teachers.
The Assembly Government should 'develop a national strategy to drive up standards and the quality of teaching and leadership in science', it said.
Janet Pritchard from the college of education at Bangor university said that this year's intake of student teachers specialising in physics, at just four, was at its lowest for more than 20 years.
When qualified non specialist teachers were offered further training on issues such as classroom management, but few on subject knowledge. …