Latest News

Newcastle Science City schools’ project to go region-wide

Newcastle Science City has been the inspiration for a pioneering science education initiative in the city which has been so successful in making students realise how exciting science and scientific careers can be, it is being extended throughout the North East.

The Newcastle Science Excellence and Innovation Partnership (SEIP) was set up last September, 2007, between seven schools with money from Newcastle Council.  The SEIP aim is to enthuse as many pupils as possible, and encourage them to study science once they are over 16, and work in a scientific field.  These SEIPS will now be established all around the region.

Projects which the schools have used to transform their science teaching include developing science clubs for pupils, for example, St Cuthberts’ ran sessions for pupils and their parents. These evening sessions have included practical experiments such as the dissection of a pig’s heart, followed by a debate about a topical science issue like stem cell research.

The partnership schools have also used the funding to develop interesting, innovative and very practical scientific experiments in the classroom, including using physics lessons to build and test small ships and creating rockets which can travel 15 feet in the air.

Anne Davies, Newcastle secondary schools science consultant, said: “The schools have grasped with both hands the chance to enhance their science teaching.  Through this funding they have been able to free a teacher once a week to develop links with scientific businesses as well as interesting scientific researchers, who have really stimulated their students in a different way to a more traditional lesson.

“Science teachers across Newcastle are now also sharing ideas and knowledge in a way they never have been able to do so before.  I am delighted there is an opportunity for that network and support to go region-wide as many schools can get the benefit of what has worked for us in the city and in turn we can learn from them.”

Keynote speaker at the event Professor Paul Younger, Newcastle University, Pro Vice Chancellor (Engagement) and former Newcastle Science City energy and environment theme leader said: “Newcastle Science City was created because we lead Europe in particular areas of scientific research and the Government wanted us to build on that success. 

“We are now encouraging the next generation in Newcastle to realise what a fantastic range of careers there are in science and the importance of it to our everyday lives.  Science is all around us and effects everything from the way we heat our homes to how we help elderly people remain independent.  This Newcastle education partnership has been trailblazing in the way it has stimulated young students’ interest in the whole range of sciences and I am delighted it is now being taken up by the rest of the region."

Peter Arnold, chief executive, Newcastle Science City said: “We need young people to be enthusiastic about science and realise a scientific career is not just one in a laboratory.  Science is all around us so the job opportunities are actually extremely varied.  The work of the Newcastle SEIP has been excellent and ground-breaking and it is a great measure of its success that is now being extended, so schools across the region can learn from it.”

Newcastle SEIP’s work from September 08 will build on the success of the last year and is also being developed to include an ‘active learning’ programme originally developed in Israel at the Weinburg Institute and the Nuffield Foundation in Britain.
Science will be used to teach literacy and numeracy and the children will be shown how to investigate and explore the subjects individually at their own pace  rather than learning by a rigid, ‘sit still and listen’ lesson.

Anne Davies has also conducted research into attitudes of students towards science to inform the development of the Newcastle Science City for the future and found the following were the key issues to be encouraged and targeted over the coming year:

  • The promotion of careers in science and find out what it is that discourages some students from wanting to have a career in science
  • The promotion of exciting practical work in science
  • The importance of a  good understanding of the value of science to society
  • To encourage girls to study science and to find out what would enthuse them, – Sacred Heart RC High School for girls in Newcastle is setting a good example and has a relatively high take up of science at A level with over half of 140 A level students doing at least one science, their head of science Les Lambert sees his success due to making the lessons relating to real life wherever possible and encouraging debate about scientific issues

Dated: 30/06/2008

Welcome to the future

Would you like to know more about Newcastle Science City?

Advertising Campaign
Gain an insight into the new Newcastle Science City advertising campaign.
Newcastle University
To find out more about Newcastle University click on the link below.
BBC Science & Nature
To find out more about BBC Science & Nature click on the link below.
International Centre for Life
To find out more about the International Centre click on the link below.