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Cash is the catalyst for science

It was pleasing to see the Scottish Executive announce pound;5 million in January specifically for science resources. It could all just be coincidence. After all, the Executive's own science strategy and several HMI reports previously have identified resourcing problems in schools.

But things have changed re-cently. We now have an accessible and listening Government here in Scotland, and many individuals and bodies such as the Association for Science Education have been arguing the case for science education over a period of time.

Research which I have been conducting for an MBA in educational management provided hard evidence for the first time of the actual funding situation within schools.

I would call on all teachers to consider conducting small-scale research, whether as part of a certificated course or continuing professional development, or even just to inform their everyday teaching. Don't keep your findings to yourself though. If teachers are to be treated as professionals, we must act as professionals and have a proper professional debate through meetings, journals and other activities.

ASE, working in partnership with the other relevant organisations, can give our profession a strong and influential voice. We have reached a critical point where we can make things happen - please play your part.

It is somewhat ironic that as a teacher now working in the independent sector I will not benefit from the Government's extra cash, though in the five years I have been at Robert Gordon's College I have persuaded senior management to invest more than pound;100,000 in resourcing my physics department.

Adequate resourcing is only one small part of what brings success, but it does help - even the best teachers cannot enthuse pupils with experiments using "sealing wax and string".

What has our investment brought? Among other things around 85 per cent of our S2 now choose to study Standard grade physics and we have had more than 30 pupils study Advanced Higher in each of the last two years. Spend your slice of the cash well. But if we work together, it won't be the last.

Stuart Farmer Head of physics Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen

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