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RSC Survey and Lab Technicians....

Some very interesting reading in the recently published results of last year's survey of science teaching across the UK and in Ireland....

Obviously my interest in looking at this was mainly on Ireland, and how it compared to the other areas/countries. So, for example, the section above - about the challenges faced by schools - showed that schools in all the jurisdictions face similar issues: insufficient funding, understaffing etc. - but it also seems that Irish teachers (both North and South) are less likely than others to cite most these issues. And I'm inclined to think that that reflects well on our schools.

And I think the graph below - showing that Irish teachers are far more settled in their schools than their British counterparts - generally speaks well of our schools too - in the sense that stability is probably a good thing. Though I know that that also has a lot to do with the type of contracts available here - and the small peak for those planning to leave their school next year presumably reflects the experience of new teachers as opposed to those more established.

Many other sections also showed Irish teachers are being more positive than their counterparts: the figures of those who report student behaviour as an issue in practicals, for example, is less than half that in either Scotland, England or Wales.

But it's the other issues referenced in the graphic below that I found most striking. The biggest barriers to running practical work in Irish schools were the lack of technicians and the lack of equipment, and by this measure, we are by far the worst performers between Britain and Ireland.

In fact, the lack of technicians is the only measure that I spotted where Irish schools stand out as being the worst on these islands.

There is a lot more in there, giving us an insight into the teaching of science in general as well as allowing a comparison with out peers. And this is an annual project, which over time could really let is see how schools are developing - for better or worse.

Maybe it could even lead, eventually, to the introduction of technicians in mainstream Irish school!

To register an interest in completing the 2024 survey, click here:

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