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Welcome to the Planet

Science Year is dead; long live Science Year - or Planet Science, as it is now called. Science Year, the project to improve the perception of the subject, came to an end last September. In recognition of its potential for further impact, ministers have extended it under the new name of Planet Science until the end of July 2003.

After consultation, our team has agreed four aims for the project:

* to provide resources and advice to help secondary schools improve their science learning environmentl to increase opportunities for the engagement of specific target audiences in science

* to encourage young people to continue their engagement in science after the age of 16

* to co-ordinate and map the activities of organisations and individuals involved in science.

Over the next few months we will be rolling out new projects in collaboration with partners such as the BBC, the Science Museum and the Association for Science Education. These projects will involve teachers, teenagers and parents, and will be developed so that their impact will be felt well beyond the end of July.

One example is our plan to develop a series of resources concerning science lab design. We are working on this with the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services (CLEAPSS), the Department for Education and Skills, and the ASE. The project will include examples of successful refurbishments, commentaries from teachers who have been involved and tools to assist with future lab projects. All resources will be free for schools.

Our outreach programme will target pupils who experience barriers that prevent them from getting involved in additional science activity. We will give practical support where most needed.

Other activities will include providing free school science equipment, distributing a free book of experiments for use at key stage 2 and developing science careers resources.

Mike Tomlinson is director of Planet Science. For more information, visit www.planet-science.com

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