COMMONS

New inquiry: school science practicals and field trips

School experiment
05 April 2011

The Committee has noted press reports that the number of practical experiments in science lessons in schools and science field trips may be in decline.

The Committee is carrying out an inquiry into practical experiments in science lessons and science field trips and invites written submissions from those with an interest in the subject, especially from pupils aged 11-18, their teachers and science undergraduates who have recently left school.  To assist those who wish to make submissions, the Committee suggests the following questions as a focus.

1. How important are practical experiments and field trips in science education?
2. Are practical experiments in science lessons and science field trips in decline? If they are, what are the reasons for the decline?
3. What part do health and safety concerns play in preventing school pupils from performing practical experiments in science lessons and going on field trips? What rules and regulations apply to science experiments and field trips and how are they being interpreted?
4. Do examination boards adequately recognise practical experiments and trips?
5. If the quality or number of practical experiments and field trips is declining, what are the consequences for science education and career choices? For example, what effects are there on the performance and achievement of pupils and students in Higher Education?
6. What changes should be made?
7. Is the experience of schools in England in line with schools in the devolved administrations and other countries?

The Committee expects to put in place arrangements for an e-consultation to assist pupils in school to give their views to the Committee.  An announcement will be made later in April.

Image: iStockphoto

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