Jennie Harland , Iain Springate , Megan Jones , Holly Mitchell , Suzanne Straw
01 August 2008
The Royal Society of Chemistry commissioned NFER to undertake an evaluation of the Chemistry for Non-specialists training programme. The programme takes place over four days and covers key chemistry concepts providing hands-on experience of pupil practical work and teacher demonstrations.
The evaluation involved consultations with teachers who had participated in the programme, as well as their heads of science departments and pupils.
The main findings from the evaluation are as follows.
- There is strong evidence that the programme has positive impacts on teachers’ confidence to teach chemistry and practical chemistry, that it enhances teaching practices and supports better access to and, usage of, resources and materials in chemistry teaching.
- There are early indications of positive outcomes in relation to pupils’ enjoyment of, and interest in, chemistry, as well as increased understanding of chemistry, leading to enhanced attainment and motivation.
- Where teachers have shared learning and resources from the programme, positive impacts have been seen in relation to colleagues’ practice in terms of enhanced access to resources and new ideas for teaching practical chemistry.
- In addition, impacts have been noted in relation to departments’ flexibility in deploying staff and enhancements to teaching and learning in the department.
- The programme appears to be meeting its aim to provide non-specialist chemistry teachers with confidence, flair and enthusiasm to teach chemistry. The evaluation concludes with recommendations for the continuation of the programme long-term, as well as more detailed recommendations as to how the programme could be further developed.