More than £4m is to be invested to establish a new national network of excellence for science and technology to raise standards in Welsh schools, it was revealed today (Sat 7th Jan).
Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced that the new network will target the improvement of teachers' skills in science and technology and improve pupils' experience of the subjects while they are at school.
It will also involve schools working with the science and technology departments of universities, education consortia, further education and other experts to learn from the best practice available.
The Welsh Government is already investing over £1.6m in 2016-17 to support STEM subjects and a shift in focus from the science BTEC to science GCSEs in schools and the network will build on these measures.
The new Science and Technology network of excellence will:
- draw together cutting edge knowledge for teaching practice in science and technology for 3 to 18 year olds.
- co-ordinate the development and delivery of recognised science and technology professional development for teachers, based on global and local evidence of what works.
- improve pupils' experiences of science and technology in schools across Wales.
- enable schools to work together to develop courses, teaching resources and class-based research.
Kirsty Williams said:
"An understanding of science is crucial for our young people, from the technology they use, the way they communicate through to the energy they use in a rapidly changing world. It is also vital to Wales and how we develop our economy.
“Our aim in science is more than an ability to undertake simple experiments or remember basic concepts, but for our young people to be able to reason scientifically and understand the value of scientific approaches. This is key for the 21st Century and as tested by PISA. Our new curriculum is being designed to better integrate these approaches into teaching and learning, and this network of excellence will help us improve the skills and knowledge of our teaching workforce to the benefit of all our pupils.
"The science PISA results chimed with our own understanding that we are not where we wish to be. This new network of excellence is part of our national mission of education reform to raise standards.”