Science lesson reforms leave campaigners bemused

“Teaching pupils to think and work scientifically should be at the heart of science education”

The Campaign for Science and Engineering has reacted with bemusement at new Government plans to shift focus away from the scientific method in science lessons.

New draft Programmes of Study repeatedly state that ‘working scientifically’ is not to be taught separately as content in its own right” (DfE’s emphasis).

CaSE director Imran Khan commented:

“Teaching pupils to think and work scientifically is one of the most important things schools can do for their pupils.  We hope the Government will promote this as their work in this area continues.

However, we’re a bit bemused as to why the DfE is being so proscriptive in how teachers should and should not teach this as set out in the draft programme of study. It also seems to fly in the face of DfE’s approach more generally. Michael Gove and Nick Gibb seem keen to give schools and teachers as much freedom as possible, whether that’s via the introduction of Academies and Free Schools or through a slimmed down National Curriculum – and yet here they seem keen to proscribe very specifically what teachers should and should not do.”

Imran added:

“The Government’s decision in February not to stop Academies from teaching creationism as a valid science, through a change in the model funding agreement, remains a big concern.  This decision was made despite them already having done so for Free Schools.  There are many more Academies than Free Schools – 1,500 versus 24.  Inserting the clause would have put a clear stop to Academies teaching creationism.”


Notes to editors:

1. The Campaign for Science and Engineering is the UK’s leading independent advocate for the science and engineering sectors. Find out more at

2. For an archive of CaSE’s education policy work and statements, see here:

3. CaSE is a signatory of the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism’ campaign, see here:

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One Comment

  1. jane thomson
    Posted 13/06/2012 at 12:18 | Permalink

    I does seem weird

    ‘Working scientifically’ has been separated from core knowledge in previous Programmes of Study and they now want to ensure it is contextualized, embedded within the core knowledge. I think this is fair enough but they could have said it better. Maybe that ‘Working scientifically’ will be assessed within the core knowledge?

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