CFE Research with the University of Manchester were commissioned by the Wellcome Trust to monitor and evaluate the impact of its UK-wide Primary Science Campaign. The campaign’s vision is that all pupils will experience an exciting, inspiring and relevant science education at primary school that leaves them well-prepared to progress further in science, and well-informed about science in their everyday lives. A key part of the campaign is Explorify; a free resource of engaging, creative science activities for all primary school teachers. It has been designed to stimulate curiosity, discussion and debate and will support teachers to encourage children to think like scientists. The report explores the nature of science delivery across the UK and captures baseline metrics prior to the campaign’s full implementation in autumn 2017.
Pupils are taught on average for one hour 24 minutes of science per week
58% of schools are teaching below two hours a week, the minimum needed to teach the curriculum properly with the required level of depth and understanding (and is also the international average from TIMMS, 2015)
Science leaders and teachers were asked how important they think the three core subjects are to their Senior Leadership Teams. 83% thought English was ‘very important’, 84% thought maths was ‘very important’ and only 30% thought science as ‘very important, illustrating the low profile of science in primary schools
In the past 12 months, just under a third (30%) of teachers had not received any support for teaching science
25% of teachers are concerned that they may not be able to answer children’s questions about science.
The research in this report is representative of the UK, with a sample size of 902 Science Leaders and 1,100 teachers. The data in the report is also presented for each of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. CFE also collected data from 1,906 pupils aged 7-11 from at least 50 schools.