by Sheila Curtis
We all know that there’s a big jump from GCSE to A level and for too many students it is a hurdle that seemingly is impossible to overcome.
A recent statistic based on 2011 data showed that, for whatever reason, 31% of science students did not move on from year 12 to year 13. So nearly one third of students who had good enough grades to begin science A levels did not complete the full course.
Currently there is a trend for schools to change their provision from 11-16 to 11-18, so requiring them to have the skills and experience to teach post-16 for the first time. Whether experienced or not, teachers in a school that is new to post-16 need time to reflect on the challenges that they and their students face. Encouraging independent learning, whilst at the same time developing subject confidence in young people at this higher level, requires support and careful planning.
Walking into my first teaching post I felt lucky to be given the opportunity to work with a post-16 chemistry group. However, as with many newly qualified teachers, I faced challenges including gaps in my subject knowledge, a lack of confidence working with students so near to my own age and, to be honest, a personal experience at school of very didactic teaching.
My experiences were not unique. It is with this experience and the aforementioned trend for schools and academies to change their provision, with this in mind, the network of Science Learning Centres has developed continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities to support teachers of post-16 whatever their starting point. The topics aim to keep teachers’ subject knowledge updated and the programmes offer a clear route of progression to support post-16 teachers throughout their career.
- Getting to Grips with A level – for those new to teaching at post-16.
- Active Approaches in A level – explores how active and collaborative approaches support student learning.
- Masterclasses for A level – enables more experienced teachers to discuss the wider implications and applications of their subject.
Throughout this CPD suite, teachers are encouraged to engage with modern scientific ideas as well as cutting edge technology to enrich teaching and learning.
Filed under: biology teaching, chemistry teaching, Contemporary Science, physics teaching, Secondary and Post-16 | Tagged: A level, Physics, Post 16, teaching a level, teaching post 16 | Leave a Comment »