So today I had another exciting session as part of my masters. Whilst I could attempt to provide you with the the theory behind what the Aspires Project have beautifully identified as 'science capital' this video does it perfectly. What has struck me however from looking at children's science capital and their potential to develop as scientists is how the system appears to be truly failing children in identifying their potential and having the ability to achieve their potential in science or a science related career. Of course I'm biased and am passionate about science and science education but I find it shocking that talented and passionate children are having doors close on them because of the fear of high stakes assessments and this notion of competition between schools. Every teacher (or at least I hope) has the wellbeing of the children they teach at the heart of everything they do. Yet we seem to allow this to be sidelined because of external pressures and the fear of 'failing to get X number of children with good GCSEs'. This is now heightened more so with the introduction of performance related pay. When did any teacher decide to teach for the love of data and pushing children through schools as if they were factories. Yet here we are.
Enough is enough. Children are failing to reach their potential.
Too many policies and think tanks appear to identify the problem, yet nothing has changed. Science is still incredibly under-represented. Surely if a child shows potential and is able to deal with the concepts at GCSE level - let them study A-Level. Why cap their formal learning of a subject they are so passionate about? Let's stop these glass ceilings. Stop telling children their not clever enough. If their expectations are high, who are we to lower them? Children have enough barriers to their learning. Why let an out-dated and ill-thought out policy affect children's potential.
I was going to end this by saying that I'm "lucky" to work in primary, where the politics around subject choice doesn't happen, but I'd only be kidding myself. There is so much amazing primary science that happens every day, where children's aspirations about science is raised, only for it to be snatched out of their hands at the cruel age of 16.
Enough is enough.