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8th September 2000 at 01:00
2001 looks set to be a special year for science, says David Moore of ASE

Now the new year is under way with teaching being guided by the latest version of the national curriculum for science, it may well feel that relatively little has changed. Closer examination will show that the document is more readable and links to other subjects are helpful.

The new version of "scientific enquiry" gives more scope for imagination in gathering and considering evidence. Recognition of the contribution that science makes to the development of key skills is equally important. Experienced members of the Association for Science Education have contributed to the development of the document and feel that they have helped to make this a more teacher-friendly publication.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has to be the final arbiter, but there is a real and professional role for those who want to contribute to the curriculum, those who have something to say about what you are requested to teach. A small group is now meeting to consider how the next version of a science curriculum can be more relevant to life in the 21st century. If you would like to contribute to this, let me know.

I believe that the focus of atention is shifting from curriculum content to how best to teach science. One of the principal aims of ASE is to raise the quality of science education through developing and sharing best practice. ASE has launched a framework for professional development. Participants are asked to undertake several small projects, all directly relevant to their own needs, and to submit evidence of their achievement. ASE and the Open University working together will accredit this with the award of a Certificate in Continuing Professional Development. To find out more, contact Malcolm Oakes, at ASE In-set Services, tel: 01203 690053.

ASE has long been keen on the idea of a Year of Science - and there is to be one, starting in September 2001! It will celebrate the successes of science teaching in schools and colleges and will share the latest ideas. A website is now being set up.

In January, ASE marks the centenary of the founding of an association for teachers of science, at the University of Surrey in Guildford. Come and join the celebrations!

Dr David Moore is chief executive of ASE, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AA. Tel: 01707 283000.E-mail:ase@asehg.telme.comWebsite:

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