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Science advances centre stage

MINISTERS are planning to set up a national centre for excellence in science teaching in England.

They are consulting on proposals for the centre designed to keep teachers up to date with scientific advances and improve the subject knowledge of non-specialist teachers.

A network of 10 regional centres is proposed. One, possibly a university with a strong science department, will act as a national co-ordinating centre. A virtual college and e-mail networks will also be established which science teachers everywhere can access.

Consultation on the proposals has been launched as Science Week gets under way today.

This national initiative, running from March 8 to 17, is designed to shake off the stereotype of eccentric, wild-haired boffins fiddling with test tubes, and show the relevance of science to everyday life.

Part of a broader National Science Year, the week intends to promote science, engineering and technology, and involve children, adults and families.

A series of events around the country are being hosted by museums, schools, libraries and industrial companies. There will be a few national events, such as an online environmental challenge launched by the National Grid for Learning.

Most of the events, however, will be local. These include lectures on the physics and chemistry of cooking in London, a look at tie-dyeing techniques in Bradford, and building a worm farm in Norwich.

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