Crystal ball gazing is an inexact science, but that doesn't stop us indulging in it from time to time. The beginning of a new year is an obvious occasion to look into the future - so what can we see coming up in 2005 with implications for science teachers?
At one level, a general election is on the horizon, while at another, the new specifications for GCSE examinations will be published for courses starting in September 2006. While the former may have implications for science education, the latter definitely will impact on what we teach and what is learnt by pupils.
This year will also see events which could have a significant influence for years to come. For example, the Government response to the Tomlinson report on 14-19 reform will set the direction for the way in which we address that phase, while the opening of the National Science Learning Centre (see page IV) should provide a boost for the professional development of science teachers.
The Association for Science Education, under its newly awarded Royal Charter, will publish the guidelines for the Chartered Science Teacher designation (CSci Teach) which will, for the first time, give public recognition to the high levels of professional expertise and commitment of accomplished science teachers. However, we do not know the level of impact these events will have on teaching and learning in science. We do know, though, that in the midst of all this activity, there are significant opportunities to start making a real difference to the way in which our students perceive and experience science. What better place to start than at the ASE Annual Meeting in Leeds?
Dr Derek Bell is chief executive of the Association for Science Education