This week is National Science & Engineering Week – but the study of physics in schools is in crisis because of a shortage of well qualified teachers and many pupils find lessons boring.
What is being done to tackle these problems? The Higher Education Funding Council for England is to provide an additional £75 million over 3 years to support very high cost and vulnerable science subjects. In an attempt to recruit science teachers the Training and Development Agency for Schools is offering financial incentives; and tomorrow over 200 schools across England will launch a £5 million initiative, funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), to develop After School Science and Engineering Clubs, aimed at 11 to 14 year olds.
Libby Purves is joined by Neil Downie, a physicist and science writer, and Andrea Mapplebeck, Professional Development Leader at the National Science Learning Centre at York University, to discuss issues surrounding getting pupils passionate about science, and recruiting and retaining science teachers.
FAMILY LEARNING IN PRISON
Many parents in prison are very keen indeed to do what they can to keep in touch with their child’s education. Now prison education departments are running courses to help. At HMP Blantyre House, a men’s resettlement prison in Kent, they run a regular five week course, covering everything from the school curriculum to child development and health and safety. The course culminates in a family learning day, when children are invited into the prison and the men put what they’ve learnt into action. It’s all designed to help the men prepare for their release, but also to be as good a dad as possible whilst in prison. Our reporter, Caroline Swinburne, went along to see a class in action.
FURTHER EDUCATION COLLEGES
The City of Westminster College recently announced their plans to create a world-class educational building in the heart of Westminster, with cutting-edge facilities to support the College's extensive and growing range of vocational and academic courses. Libby Purves speaks to Robin Shreeve, Principal of the College, about plans and vision for the college, and how the new building will contribute to the college’s role as a ‘skills hub’, particularly relevant in the light of Leitch Review of Skills published last December.