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Making science a higher priority in primary school

News release from the Royal Society of New Zealand

15 October 2009

Making science a higher priority in primary schools

Thirty five primary school teachers from throughout New Zealand have been awarded Primary Science Teacher Fellowships for the first two terms of 2010.

This is the second intake of primary school teachers participating in the Primary Science Teacher Fellowship Programme which has been piloted this year.

Under the scheme teachers take leave from their schools to work with scientists at host organisations and become immersed in the world of science.

The scheme is run by the Royal Society of New Zealand and is funded by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. The teachers selected come from primary schools all around New Zealand.

Joanna Leaman, education advisor with the Royal Society of New Zealand, says the aim is to help the teachers selected have good science experiences and become science curriculum leaders when they return to their schools.

“They are not science experts, but they are keen to develop their science teaching skills so they can make a difference at their schools.”

She says shows that science education is currently not high on the priority list at primary schools, with an average of just one hour per week taught.”

“We want to help address this deficiency and get teachers excited about teaching science. Our aim is to develop a community of confident science educators who will take a leadership role in science in their schools.”

The impetus for the scheme stems from a report (the National Education Monitoring Project) released in 2008 which highlighted a downwards trend in the attitudes of primary aged students towards science. This found that 37% of the year 8 students surveyed indicated a dislike of science, a sharp rise on the 15% reported in 1999.

Host organisations for the teachers will include several universities, NIWA, GNS, Nga Manu Nature Reserve (Waikanae), Department of Conservation, Zealandia (Karori Sanctuary), Unitec, Environment Bay of Plenty, and Portobello Marine Laboratory (Dunedin). The Royal Society is always looking for organisations willing to host teachers as a part of their outreach programmes.

Details of the teachers selected and their regions are listed below. The host organisations are currently being confirmed.

Background information:

The Royal Society of New Zealand promotes science and technology in schools, in industry and in society. It administers several funds for science and technology, publishes science journals, offers advice to Government, and fosters international scientific contact and co-operation.

Teacher’s name/School/Region

Andrea Manu/Henderson Intermediate/Auckland Region

Steven Tait/Mt Eden Normal School/Auckland Region

Sonja Akkerman/Tai Tapu School/Canterbury Region

Kerri Bullen/Rolleston School/Canterbury Region

Francis Ganderton/Cashmere Primary School/Canterbury Region

Christine Longbottom/Twizel Area School/Canterbury Region

Lorraine Malpass/Fernside School/Canterbury Region

Anne Miles/Waitaha Learning Centre/Canterbury Region

Gabrielle Nuthall/Halswell School/Canterbury Region

Maree O'Boyle/West Melton School/Canterbury Region

Felila Ward/Cobham Intermediate/Canterbury Region

Christine Greatbatch/Tolaga Bay Area School/Gisborne Region

Tunisia Keelan/Tolaga Bay Area School/Gisborne Region

Janet Beeden/Crownthorpe School/Hawkes Bay Region

Barbara Thomson/Tiaho Primary School/Hawkes Bay Region

Michael Wylde/Nelson Park School/Hawkes Bay Region

Doug Drysdale/Bunnythorpe School/Manawatu-Wanganui Region

Joy Kitt/Russell Street School/Manawatu-Wanganui Region

Christine Mitchell/Fairfield School (Levin)/Manawatu-Wanganui Region

Katarina Werelind-Moore/Whangarei School/Northland Region

Megan Deans/Kaikorai School/Otago Region

Roddy Scoles/Tahuna Normal Intermediate/Otago Region

Janet King/Mangorei School/Taranaki Region

Patrick Swanson/St Pius X School (New Plymouth)/Taranaki Region

Sarah Coup/Parklands School/Tasman Region

Helena McKeown/Rototuna Primary School/Waikato Region

Kim Oliver/Marian Catholic School (Hamilton)/Waikato Region

Kerry Harrison/Eastern Hutt School/Wellington Region

Marian Holman/Porirua School/Wellington Region

Patrick Mackle/Sts Peter and Paul School (L.Hutt)/Wellington Region

Khandu Patel/Dyer Street School/Wellington Region

Barbara Ryan/Muritai School/Wellington Region

Michelle Tate/Belmont School (Lower Hutt)/Wellington Region

Margaret Wallis/Karori West Normal School/Wellington Region

Jacqui Watts-Pointer/Tawa Intermediate/Wellington Region


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