Practical science

We’re committed to supporting and improving practical science in schools and colleges. 

Why it’s important

Practical work is at the heart of science education. It helps students to gain:

Teachers must have the skills, confidence and resources to deliver high-quality practical work, as well as enough time and support to prioritise it. 

What we’re doing

Research into practical science

We’re working with the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Nuffield Foundation to explore how the quantity and quality of practical science in schools and colleges can be improved.

Since 2013, there have been changes to the way practical science is assessed at GCSE and A level. To help us explore the best way to assess practical science skills we are:

Student-led independent research projects

In April 2016 we published a rapid evidence review of the value of student-led independent research projects [PDF 873KB]. We also published our reflections on the review [PDF 2.1MB], highlighting the key findings and possible next steps.

We’re continuing to explore the impact of independent research projects on students’ attitudes towards and understanding of science.

We’ve developed a number of resources for students interested in carrying out independent research projects, including the Extended Project Qualification. These are available on the Big Picture website.

More information

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact Mat Hickman

More about our work in science education

Science education is one of our priority areas. Find out more about what we're doing to inspire teachers and students.

Education resources

We produce and fund a wide range of educational resources for teachers