Secondary Partnerships

From the time when we instituted the first ever full time Scientist in Residence in a school at Clifton College, Bristol in the period 1988-1993, we have been developing working partnerships between professional scientists and a wide range of schools.

This has forcefully demonstrated that every school is different and that there are a multiplicity of ways in which students can be involved in genuine experiences of scientific exploration and application in widely divergent curricular and cross- curricular contexts and also out of school, for example working on science-based community or industrial projects, leading public debates on science-based issues, expeditions, as well as in straight laboratory work.

Year 10 students from Florence Brown School, Bristol with two of their teachers and civil engineer Rowland Morgan presenting their work at a Royal Society soireeSuccessful enriching examples have frequently involved schools in long term projects with scientists/engineers or other specialists, to which each generation of students in the school can make a contribution. This is very different from the all too common practice of students repeating the same old science investigations year on year because they producing pleasing grades.

Examples of some of our early work in this area was included in our 1995 publication Scientific Research in Schools, a Compendium of Practical Experience, which was sent to all secondary schools free of charge. A few copies are still available and may be purchased for £10 including postage from Clifton Scientific Trust.

In every context the stress is on partnership and creativity, and increasingly, as our pioneering work with our Japanese colleagues displays, on science as a cultural bridge.