An innovative route
Amanda McLeod, of Strathclyde University's Innovative Routes to Learning initiative, found that the three-day course run by East Renfrewshire Council in July boosted enthusiasm for the subject. Her report on the academy said the pupils not only gained scientific knowledge, but also acquired more confidence and skills.
The academy, run at Williamwood High by teachers and S6 pupils, included a series of challenges involving maths, science, problem-solving, creative thinking and teamwork.
Stuart Allison, quality improvement officer at East Renfrewshire, said the aim of the academy was to encourage more young people particularly the more able ones to select two or three sciences at secondary.
Of the 73 pupils who took part, two-thirds were boys. "It fitted in with A Curriculum for Excellence, as it was inter-disciplinary. They had to draw on skills in ICT and technology. Some tasks were trying to break down some of the disciplinary barriers," he said.
East Renfrewshire education committee has proposed running the scheme next year.
Miss McLeod said feedback from the parents of participants suggested running the academy again when pupils were between S1 and S2. Innovative Routes to Learning already provides transition courses for South Lanarkshire, East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow, but this was the first science academy the department had run.