July 2022 edition: Rethinking Science: Creating an Inclusive Science Curriculum

Rethinking Science: Creating an Inclusive Science Curriculum

Following two years of online and remote conferences, it was an absolute pleasure to be attending this year's CST Annual Conference in person. After the extreme challenges in education brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus was very much on ensuring no one is left behind as we look to the future.

The #TrulyCivic theme for this year could not have been more fitting for the tone and content of conversations and presentations across the two days. High on the agenda was how to support the wider purpose of education – the formation of character and playing a role in society, social and cultural development.

We’ve taken some steps in the right direction, but to get it right we need to listen, learn and work with teachers, learners and wider communities, because diversity, equity and inclusion in education cannot be achieved by one group alone.

Hannah Cheek

Rethinking science

At Pearson we believe that all children and young people should have the same opportunity to achieve their full potential and be successful in education, whatever their background, identity, or circumstances in life.

We are committed to ensuring increased diversity, equity and inclusion in our qualifications, assessments and teaching materials through:

  • Representation: young people need to able to see themselves represented and included in what they’re studying.

  • Accessibility: all young people should be able to access their learning in a way that meets their individual needs.

  • Aspiration: all young people should be empowered to aspire and achieve without limits.

Science requires diverse and critical thinking. The broader the life experience of those working in the science community the more robust the theories that emerge. With this in mind, we have created a range of materials to support diversity, equity and inclusion in science. This includes our Scientist of the Month posters, showcasing the scientific achievements of underrepresented groups and an A-Z science career poster with accompanying videos to help learners to see the true breadth of careers open to them from following a science pathway, dispelling stereotypes around what scientists do and what they look like.

All our diversity in science resources can be found via this link.

But we know that this is a journey. We’ve taken some steps in the right direction, but to get it right we need to listen, learn and work with teachers, learners and wider communities, because diversity, equity and inclusion in education cannot be achieved by one group alone.

Therefore, we’re working with CST, to focus on science education, exploring what we can do to deliver a more inclusive science curriculum.

In the joint workshop session on the second day of the conference, we spoke to several Trusts who were at various points in their journeys towards inspiring all learners to see themselves as Scientists. We talked about the desire to move away from bolt on content and events, and towards a curriculum where diversity, equity and inclusion is planned in from the start. Trusts shared the work they had completed so far in reviewing their own curriculum but also highlighted some of the barriers they faced around implementation and consistency.

We focused on five key areas for diversity in science: family and community, identity, progression and jobs, curriculum, and staff. This was based on research findings from the Institute of Physics, exploring factors affecting engagement and uptake in STEM subjects. A fantastic discussion emerged around how these themes can be supported in Trusts and examples of existing good practice were shared.

Through challenging and changing the messages that young people receive about who scientists are and how science works, we can broaden the curriculum to engage and inspire learners to see themselves as the next generation of scientists, whatever their background and life experiences. Science needs diversity of thought to solve big problems and we want to be creating a rich curriculum with you to enable all learners to develop those skills.

Pearson’s wider support for diversity, equity and inclusion

We have some great examples of working with recognised partners to support schools in diversifying their curricula.

  • Lit in Colour in partnership with The Runnymede Trust and Penguin Random House provides free copies of texts and training for schools choosing to teach a diverse literature text at GCSE or A level.

  • Migration in GCSE History has provided training in partnership with The Black Curriculum so that teachers are confident with this topic.

  • Key Stage 3 Qualification where learners are helping us to design and pilot a new course where they are recognised for learning about diverse narratives, histories, and cultures.

Where next?

Our next steps are to set up some pilots with Pearson, CST and engaged Trusts to co-create and pilot a new science curriculum with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at its heart.

We had great interest during the conference, but don’t worry if you couldn’t attend the conference in person, you can still be part of that journey.

We would love to have your Trust join us to pilot and experiment with creating an inclusive science curriculum. Use the QR code below to sign up and we will be in touch very soon.

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