X equals time for science

19th November 2004 at 00:00
I read your coverage of the Tomlinson Report with great interest, especially in view of the declining interest of pupils in the sciences. It is important that debates about "gold standards" and whether or not to preserve A-levels and GCSE do not obscure the many positive changes called for in the report, in particular the freeing up of time.

The key to reversing the decline in the take-up of science at A-level is to give teachers the space in the curriculum, the training and the confidence to show that science is an enthralling subject.

I welcome Lord May's calls for scientific reasoning to be put at the heart of the curriculum, but I firmly believe that in order to achieve a scientifically literate society, to the benefit of everyone, we must re-engage teachers with their original passion for the subject.

There needs to be ongoing training for teachers to nurture the scientists of tomorrow and to make science relevant for all pupils, but there also has to be room in the timetable for teachers to take advantage of training.

The launch of the national network of science learning centres makes up one part of the equation for success - now teachers need the time to take advantage of this opportunity for the advancement of science.

Professor John Holman

Centre director, National Science learning centre

University of York

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