Science gets a boost in schools

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 07:31 05/08/2014

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Schoolteachers will be given a helping hand to become more science savvy, thanks to the promise of more professional development.

The Government has announced a $160,000 funding boost for science teaching as part of its "A Nation of Curious Minds" project.

The money will be put towards primary and intermediate teachers' professional learning by sending hundreds of staff to science workshops at the Sir Paul Callaghan Science Academy in a bid to improve their confidence and skills in the subject.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the quality of teaching had an impact on students, with science an area needing more focus.

The announcement of extra support was welcomed by those in the education sector, who say interest in the subject is sparked from an early age and teachers play an important role.

Bunnythorpe School principal Doug Drysdale said the support would give schools and teachers more opportunity to promote science at a higher level in the curriculum.

It would improve both teachers' professional development and links to experts in the science community, he said.

"It's about young kids' curiosity and trying to develop that . . . but part of that push is getting away from teachers having to be experts in science but still being confident."

A number of Manawatu schools have been working together recently to promote science, with Awahou, Bunnythorpe and Colyton schools teaming up and plans to extend the fraternity further with Dannevirke-based Ruahine School.

Palmerston North's Intermediate Normal, College Street Normal and Central Normal schools work as a syndicate as well.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Judith Nowotarski said teachers were crying out for extra professional development in science.

"Teachers will welcome the opportunity to increase their skills and confidence in teaching this important part of our wide curriculum."

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