Practical experiments in school science lessons and science field trips - Science and Technology Committee Contents


Supplementary written evidence submitted by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (Sch Sci 10a)

Many thanks for inviting me along to give evidence to the Select Committee last week. I hope that the Committee felt that they got what they needed from us!

From our point of view, the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom may have been better placed giving evidence as part of the first session, as that's where most of our experience lies. However, in view of our conversation after the hearing when you invited me to submit additional evidence directly to you, I thought it would be worth getting in touch with you to answer a couple of questions posed by MPs during the first session which were not answered by the panel.

1.  ALTERNATIVES TO THE LOTC QUALITY BADGE TO RECOGNISE LEARNING IN SCHOOLS

Q35 Stephen Metcalfe: Is there a classroom equivalent of that mark, training or qualification?

Dr Tilling: In terms of learning outside the classroom?

Stephen Metcalfe: Yes.

Dr Tilling: There is a classroom link because one of the main criteria is the link and what happens outside with what happens in the classroom.

Colleagues on the first panel would not have been aware that the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is currently developing an LOtC Mark for schools, which we hope will be launched in September. This is an alternative to the LOtC Quality Badge (which accredits providers of LOtC offering good quality teaching and learning and managing risks effectively, thereby assisting schools to reduce bureaucracy relating to health and safety and fieldwork). The School LOtC Mark will recognise those schools offering frequent, continuous and progressive LOtC experiences as an integrated part of the curriculum, to all their young people. There are three levels: bronze, silver and gold, signifying a school's continuous commitment to the quality of their LOtC (which includes science fieldwork within the school grounds, in the local community and further afield).

2.  ONE CENTRAL RESOURCE TO COLLATE ALL OF THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE FOR TEACHERS

Q36 Stephen Metcalfe: One of the other things that struck certainly me, and I think some of my colleagues, is that there do seem to be an awful lot of schemes and programmes and variety. Do you agree that there is perhaps too much variety and too many different sources of information that make it very difficult to access? Perhaps some of that should be rationalised and we should have one central resource that collates all this information, and then it is more easily accessible so that teachers can access it and make the most of it.

Annette Smith: Are you talking specifically about health and safety in science education?

Q37 Stephen Metcalfe: Yes.

Annette Smith: Steve refers to the local authority role, which was clear up until now. The local authorities, where they still have control, still sign up to CLEAPSS and get regular updates on specific hazards which are pertinent to the classroom in general. That is really a useful service and they can act upon that. Then the schools have responsibility to act upon that. That is fine but it is changing. It is difficult to know where that will end up. Obviously you will be able to speak to those witnesses later on.

Q38 Stephen Metcalfe: Does anyone else want to add anything to that?

This was one of the primary aims of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and its website (www.lotc.org.uk). Set up with the financial support of the then DCSF in 2009 to take forward the aims of the LOtC Manifesto, CLOtC works not just to bring organisations and resources together from a science fieldwork perspective, but takes up the challenge even further, broadening out its partnerships to span 10 sectors, comprising:

—  Natural environment

—  Arts and creativity

—  Heritage

—  Built environment

—  Sacred spaces

—  School grounds

—  Farming and countryside

—  Adventurous activities

—  Study, sports and cultural tours

—  Overseas expeditions

The CLOtC website was designed as THE place to find information about all learning outside the classroom, ranging from advice and guidance on planning, running and evaluating LOtC to specific resources relating to different sectors. The website continues to develop, and we would be very happy to rise to the challenge of the Select Committee and act as a portal to signpost all teachers and others working with young people to relevant resources and support.

I hope that this additional information proves useful.

Beth Gardner
Chief Executive
Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

6 July 2011



 
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