Science Community welcomes Rose Review of Primary Curriculum

01 May 2009

SCORE (Science Community Partnership Representing Education), the body representing the UK's foremost science education organisations, welcomes the publication today of the Rose Review on Primary Science.  This review of the entire primary curriculum was commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in spring last year.  Led by Sir Jim Rose, it is focused on, among other things, raising standards, reducing prescription and widening participation.

Sir Alan Wilson, the Chair of SCORE, said, "The proposed curriculum highlights how primary science can develop our youngest students' natural curiosity. It promotes a hands-on approach to science education and moves towards less prescription.  We commend the emphasis the report places on the importance of science, as a crucial means to help young students constructively explore the world around them. 

"The new curriculum will also attempt to increase the relevance of classroom science to young minds through the increased emphasis on cross-curricular studies.  If the distinctive aspects of each subject can be retained successfully, this approach will provide meaningful contexts for scientific concepts, enabling students to connect what they are learning with day-to-day experiences.

"However, the success of these proposed reforms will depend heavily on the assessment tools that are put in place. The SCORE partners share the concerns of many other organisations about the appropriateness of the current science tests and their impact on children in Year 6 and earlier years due to the high stakes use of the results. SCORE continues to recommend a move towards teacher assessment throughout the primary school.  This would enable teachers to give students a broader, more engaging range of authentic science experiences in the primary years."

SCORE looks forward to supporting the DCSF to develop practical methods to help it implement the most crucial aspects stemming from the Rose Review: 

  • Suggesting how pupils can have a broader range of 'hands-on and minds-on' investigative science experiences so that they can fully engage with the subject;
  • Advising on ways to combine science and technology and ensure that they keep their place in the curriculum;
  • Making sure that timely and appropriate support is provided to teachers. 

This will help them to develop their confidence in order to manage the curriculum changes effectively, as the aspirations of the Review will not be realised if teachers are not appropriately supported.
Sir Alan Wilson continued, "We see the Rose Review as a very promising starting point.  The Government, the SCORE partnership and teachers now need to work together to ensure that we are equipping our youngest minds with the skills necessary to face the challenges of the future."

SCORE, a partnership of scientific learned societies, science teachers and other key science organisations was founded in 2006 by the Association for Science Education, the Biosciences Federation, the Institute of Biology, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Society and the Science Council.

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