Science 'not a priority' for primary schools
Press release / Published: 19 September 2017
Wellcome launches Explorify resource to boost science teaching
Primary school teachers face barriers in teaching science, with only 1 hour 24 minutes a week typically being devoted to the subject, says a new report from CFE Research for Wellcome. It has been published amid concerns over the lack of prioritisation of science in primary schools. Wellcome has today launched Explorify, a new free digital resource focused on inquiry and curiosity to help tackle this issue and accelerate change.
When teachers were asked what barriers, if any, they experienced when teaching or leading science the top four categories were lack of budget and resources (35 per cent), a lack of time and curricular importance (22 per cent), lack of subject knowledge (11 per cent) and issues relating to setting up space or access to resources (10 per cent).
In addition, more than 8 in 10 teachers think that maths (84%) and English (83%) are ‘very important’ to the senior leadership team of their school, but this number falls to just three in ten (30%) when it comes to science, suggesting that the subject isn’t seen as a priority for primary teaching.
Wellcome’s Explorify resource aims to remove barriers, boost teacher confidence and ignite or reinvigorate teachers’ passion for science. It provides teachers with new ways to help their pupils develop problem solving abilities, life-long learning skills and creativity, powered by scientific investigation. It has been developed by Wellcome with partners such as the BBC and the Institute of Engineering & Technology.
Hilary Leevers, Head of Education and Learning at Wellcome, said: “Right now, science isn’t prioritised enough in most primary schools and not enough time is being devoted to the subject. Wellcome recommends a minimum two hours of science teaching a week and we’re looking to support teachers to achieve this. Good science teaching is about encouraging pupils to start thinking like scientists, and provoking their curiosity. Explorify is free and easy to use, and requires almost no preparation. It relies on sparking questions and conversations among pupils and developing thinking skills through creative activities. These skills are not only great for science but also benefit literacy, numeracy and life-long learning too.”
Explorify ambassador and renowned science vlogger Maddie Moate said: “Children are naturally inquisitive and curious. Explorify will help teachers bring this out of their pupils in the best possible way, encouraging them to question things, rather than just learn facts. The activities themselves have amazing imagery and clever video so they’re really immersive and engaging.”
Teachers can sign up to Explorify today. It will always be free and is aligned to UK curricula.
- Read the report: 'State of the nation' report of UK science education [PDF 1.6MB]
- Find out more about our work in primary science
- See why science education is one of our priority areas