Select Committee on Science and Technology Third Report


Committee visits

Tuesday 16 April 2002

Quintin Kynaston School, St John's Wood, London

Quintin Kynaston is an 11 to19 mixed community school with around 1,000 students. Students are drawn from a very wide range of socio­economic and ethnic backgrounds. The school is in Westminster LEA and gained specialist Technology College status in July 2001.[265]

The science department has 14 teaching staff, three of them part time, and three technicians. Most students take double science GCSE at key stage 4; some are entered for Intermediate GNVQ in science and others for entry level certificate. Post-16, Intermediate GNVQ is offered as a one year course and biology, chemistry and physics are offered to AS and A level.


Tour of science department with Lez Weintrobe, previous Head of Science

Meetings with

    Headteacher: Ms Jo Shuter
    Technicians: David Langford, Agnes Szervansky and Justyna Wolanksa
    Students: GCSE and AS and A Level
    Teachers: Neil Bizzell, Nigel Gallimore, Jeff Ingham (Joint Curriculum Leader), Rozeena Khan (Joint Curriculum Leader) and Leonie Wilson

Tuesday 23 April 2002

Beeslack Community High School, Penicuik, Scotland

Beeslack is a mixed 12 to18 school with some 980 students and is within the Midlothian Council area. The science department has 11 teaching staff and one technician. All science classes have a maximum of 20 students.

In Scotland, students will normally take Standard Grade courses from ages 14 to16, which are broadly the equivalent of GCSE in England. At Beeslack, students take seven subjects at Standard Grade, which includes English, maths and at least one of at least one of biology, chemistry and physics. They study an eighth subject at Intermediate level, which is more challenging than Standard Grade.

Following recent reforms, there are now five levels of qualifications available in Scotland post-16 (Access, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, Higher and Advanced Higher), each of which is based on a one year course. The courses are designed so that students can progress from one level to another. Highers are broadly equivalent to AS levels in England and Advanced Highers to A levels. At Beeslack, students select five courses post-16. Biology is offered at Intermediate 1 and all three sciences at Higher and Advanced Higher.


Presentation from Jack Jackson HMI.

Discussion with Douglas Buchanan (Moray House, University of Edinburgh), Frank Creamer (Scottish Executive), David Lawson (Science Adviser, Glasgow City Council), John Richardson (Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre), and Dick Staite (Headteacher, Beeslack School), Walter Whitelaw (Education Officer, Midlothian Council)

Meeting with Standard Grade students: Catherine Ball, Lyndsey Holmes, Mark McBride, Allan Robertson, Katherine Smart and Sam Thomas

Meeting with Higher Level students: Kaashif Afzal, Roger Barnes, Graeme Devlin, Susan Gavin, Douglas Gibson, Kathryn Saunderson and Kate Thomson

Meetings with teachers and technician: Billy Dickson (biology), Sally Dunlop (chemistry), Michael Giblin (physics), Lesley Johnson (chemistry), Veronica Kinane (biology), Carolyn Williams (technician), Ian Wilson (chemistry)

Tour of science department.

Wednesday 24 April 2002

Westminster School, London

Westminster School is a selective independent school for boys aged 13 to18 and girls aged 16 to18. There are around 660 pupils, of whom about 200 are boarders (either full time or weekly) and about 90 are female.[266]

There are 15 science teachers in the department: six chemists, four biologists and five physicists who are supported by a team of seven technicians. Electronics and technology are also part of the science department. All students take at least two of biology, chemistry and physics to GCSE. All three sciences are offered at A level.


Tour of science department with Rod Beavon, Head of Science.

Meeting with GCSE students: Edward Eccles, Paul Giladi, Hamza Khan and Nick Wareham

Meeting with AS level students: Anthony Cardona, Charlotte Gloerfelt­Tarp, Joe Marwood, Ned Naylor, Tamsin Omond, William Stevenson and Karmen Watson.

Meeting with science and technology teaching staff and Ed Smith, Undermaster.

Meeting with technicians: Ransford Agyare­Kwabi, Clive Booker, David Davies, Anthony Tonini

Tuesday 7 May 2002

"Inward visit" by Hammersmith and West London College

Hammersmith and West London is a Further Education College that offers a wide range of courses to both 16 year olds moving on from school and to adults. Some 25,000 students enrol for courses each year with the college. AS and A levels are available in biology, chemistry and physics. Vocational courses that are offered include Intermediate GNVQ in science and VCE in science as well as courses that are linked to particular careers such as sports studies and beauty therapy.

The Committee held an informal meeting in the Houses of Parliament on the afternoon of 7 May with students and staff from the College.


Discussion with students

    AS Level: Anita Quarcoo, Amanpal Singh
    A2 level: Terry Harper, Ariola Gashi  AVCE: Pamela Aminou, Kirit Patel, Tawa Dugbazah, Joseph Ogundem, Bana Rashid, Dimple Vyas
    GNVQ Intermediate (Science): Carlos Tapil, Emily Tondel
    Hair and Beauty: Dorota Macalka, Sun Choi
Discussion with staff
    Amrik Marhawa, division manager for science and electronics
    Annette Prestidge, lecturer in biology and information learning technology co-ordinator
    Rachel Ayton, lecturer, Beauty
    Jayne Morgan, division manager for Human Development

Constituency visits by Members of the Committee

Friday 22 February 2002

Mark Hoban MP invited science teacher representatives from secondary schools and colleges in his Fareham constituency to discuss issues around science education for 14 to 19 year olds.

Meeting attended by:

    Ian Wilks, Fareham College (a further education college)

    Brenda Robinson, Wykeham House School (an independent girls school)

    Tracey Jones, Portchester Community School (an 11 to16 mixed comprehensive school)

    Chris Taylor, Henry Cort Community School (an 11 to16 mixed comprehensive school)

In addition, students at Portchester School gave written responses to the question "why do you do science?".

Friday 1 March 2002

    Dr Ian Gibson  

    Meeting with Norwich Science Teachers and Technicians

A public meeting was held by Ian Gibson MP at the Norwich Labour Centre to discuss science education from ages 14 to19. The meeting was organised after consultation with Norfolk LEA and was advertised in the local press.

Those invited included:

    Mr Stuart Baines, Alderman Peel High School

    Mr Roy Barton, School of Education, University of East Anglia

    Mr Richard Cranmer, Head of Science, Notre Dame High School

    Mr Stephen Cumberworth, Science Adviser, Norfolk Professional Development Centre

    Mr Frank March, Vice Principal, Thorpe St Andrew High School

    Mr Phil Millington, Head of Science, City of Norwich School

    Mr John Nicholson, School of Continuing Education, University of East Anglia

    Mr Hugh Strafford, Head of Science, Alderman Peel High School

    Mr Adrian Tebbit, Head of Science, The Park High School

    Mr Bernard Vaughan, Head of Science, Acle High School

    Mr Gordon Varley, Head of Science, Northgate High School

    Mrs Pauline Williamson, Science Technician, Costessey High School

Ian Gibson followed up the meeting by visiting the science departments of a number of local secondary schools, talking to staff and students.

Friday 19 April 2002

    Dr Andrew Murrison

    Visit to St Augustine's Catholic College, Trowbridge, Wiltshire[268]

Andrew Murrison MP spent a day visiting St Augustine's Catholic College in his Westbury constituency. St Augustine's is an 11 to18 mixed comprehensive with specialist technology college status. Dr Murrison asked the Headteacher to arrange for him to interview teachers, technicians and students during his visit.

Separate meetings were held with:

    Mr Brendan Wall, Headteacher,

    Dr S Doherty, Head of Chemistry

    Mr D Greenwood, Head of Physics

    Mrs S Lewis, Head of Biology

    Senior Laboratory Technician

    A level students

Friday 3 May 2002     

    Dr Brian Iddon

    Meeting with Bolton Science Teachers and Technicians[269]

Brian Iddon MP met with teachers and technicians from schools across Bolton.

Meeting attended by:

    Margaret Blenkinsop, Director of Education and Arts, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

    Mr Dave Chivers, Head of Science, Turton High School Media Arts College (an 11 to18 mixed comprehensive)

    Carole Deaville, Senior Laboratory Technician, Turton High School

    Mr Dave Hayes, Head of Science, Mount St Joseph RC High School (an 11 to16 mixed comprehensive)

    Mr Robin Heap, Thornleigh Salesian College (an 11 to18 mixed comprehensive)

    Mrs Doreen Jolly, Rivington and Blackrod High School (an 11 to18 mixed comprehensive)

    Libby Mooney, key stage 3 Adviser, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

    Mr Chris Profitts, Head of Science, Mount St Joseph RC High School

March-June 2002  

    Mr David Heath    

David Heath MP visited three schools in his constituency.

Monday 18 February: Huish Episcopi School (11 to16 mixed comprehensive)

    He met and had discussions with science staff:

    Paul McSparron, Head of Science

    Science teachers: Anne-Marie Rogers, Clare Austin, E Hildred, Nicky Hill, John Merrick-Wren, Linda Paul, Mark Pembrey, Chris Storie

Friday 1 March: Frome College (13 to 18 mixed comprehensive)

    David Winch, Head of Science

    Science teachers: Russell Middleton, Chemistry; Matt Hoyle, Chemistry; Dave Titchener, Physics; Julia Padwick, Science Lab Technician

Friday 22 March: King's School Bruton (independent):

    Paul Davies, Chemistry teacher and Head of Careers; Roger Low, Head of Science; Douglas Barns-Graham, Head of Chemistry; Simon Atkinson, Head of Biology; Dr Alan Atkinson, Head of Physics; Philip Barnes, Head of ICT

March-June 2002  

   Dr Bob Spink

Bob Spink MP visited SEEVIC College and various schools across his constituency to discuss, informally, issues surrounding science education for 14 to19 year olds.  

265   Further information about the school is available from their website: Back

266   Further information about the school is available from their website: Back

267   A full note is printed at Ev 196 Back

268   A full note is printed at Ev 202 Back

269   A full note is printed at Ev 200 Back

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Prepared 11 July 2002