Why you should join...
If there's one subject whose image needs a make-over, it's science. There are many reasons UK schools don't produce scientists - a teacher shortage you can do nothing about, but you can make your teaching bang up-to-date, and subject associations can help.
The Association for Science Education (ASE) has members from primary teachers to university, with an increasing number of technicians. It has recently joined with the Science Council to introduce the designation of Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach), under powers granted by the Privy Council. This recognises professional standing, continuing professional development and expertise. But the non-specialist primary teacher may prefer subscribing to the primary journal for pound;20 a year. Also available are the secondary journals and Education in Science magazine, in-service training, an annual conference and some specialist insurance protection to cover unforeseen laboratory incidents. Especially valuable is the Science across the World project, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, linking schools globally. NQT membership is pound;37.
If your interests are the environment, geology or geography, or you are struggling with an earth science element of the curriculum, look at the Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA). As well as the journals, you get access to resources for fieldwork, including the Jurassic Coast world heritage site, rock and fossil kits, and a virtual quarry. Training topics include selling geology to your SMT. Membership is pound;25 and, as a smaller association, it offers great opportunities to get involved.
The Association for Science Education, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AA. Tel: 01707 283000; www.ase.org.uk
Earth Science Teachers' Association, ESTA Membership Secretary, PO Box 23672, Edinburgh EH3 9XQ. www.esta-uk.org