Professor Janice Griffiths, Chair Elect at the Association of Science Education (ASE), was the keynotes speaker. She introduced the idea of science capital and how it can support children’s learning. Janice highlighted the background to the issue: the UK is short of people with a scientific background across the board and particularly in teaching; issues of gender imbalance persist especially in physics; employment prospects are better for those working in STEM. The ASE is keen to address inequality and improve children’s life chances by promoting science skills and knowledge.
Children are more likely to follow STEM subjects if they have more Science Capital. Teachers can help fan the flame with the help of out of school experiences which provide access to experts and parent participation at home to support teaching and learning in school. Personalising and localising science can help students be more engaged. Using their own experiences and making things relevant to everyday life can improve involvement and attitudes to science. Examples to involve parents were enquiries addressing issues of school parking and speed limits.
Mary Kinoulty, Head of Learning at the Mary Rose Museum and Dr Debs Wilkinson, Senior Lecturer in Primary Science Education at the University of Chichester led a session on the benefits of using the same enquiry-based approach in both science and history with links to all curriculum areas.