The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) aim to improve chemistry education and ensure that students are inspired to engage with chemistry learning. They are well known for providing resources and support for secondary level teaching, but they were keen to expand their primary level offer. Therefore, they commissioned Shift to conduct research to explore the current level of awareness of their services at the primary level, the challenges faced with teaching science at this level and the types of resources that would be most useful to teachers of primary science. The aim was to uncover how the RSC could develop more resources and how they could better support teachers’ needs with teaching primary level science.
Shift conducted 40 telephone interviews with primary school teachers who taught science. We interviewed 10 teachers from each region within the UK to gain a picture of how curriculum demands and teaching needs varied across England, Ireland (5 NI, 5 ROI), Scotland and Wales. The sample also included science leads and headteachers from each territory, in order to gain insight into the decision-making behind science teaching. The discussions focused on:
- Their approach to teaching science and any anticipated changes to this
- Challenges faced in teaching science
- The current sources they use to access science resources
- The content and format of the science resources they already use
- What they would find most useful, if the RSC were to offer more support at this level.
Through this research, the RSC were able to gain valuable insight into how science is currently being taught at the primary level. In particular, a key understanding was gained of the different needs of science teachers in different regions, and how the RSC could better support them. The key findings of the research were presented in a report, accompanied by a presentation that Shift delivered to members of the RSC team.