Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, at the launch of the Science Museum Group Academy in Manchester. Photo: Jody Hartley

Science Museum Group launches second teacher training academy

Alex Stevens, 03.04.2019
Free one-day courses use “science capital” approach
The Science Museum Group (SMG) has opened a new academy at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, offering free training to primary and secondary school teachers across the north of England.

It is the second Science Museum Group Academy, joining the facility at the Science Museum in London that launched in October last year.

The academies offer a six-hour day of training for teachers, demonstrating hands-on activities, looking at SMG’s own engagement planning framework, and providing approaches to facilitating classroom discussion.

In Manchester, the first day for primary teachers will take place on 19 June, and for secondary teachers on 3 July.

The academies’ approach is based on the Enterprising Science project, a joint initiative with University College London, King’s College London and energy company BP.

This research project took the concept of cultural capital and applied it to science learning and engagement, or “science capital”, in order to understand why some young people participate in science and others do not. The project produced a teacher’s pack and several research papers. 

Outlining the thinking behind the academies, SMG cites a 2015 survey which found that 27% of 11- to 15-year-olds had low science capital, and that levels of science capital tend to align with cultural capital, gender, ethnicity, and academic set. 

Susan Raikes, the director of learning for the Science Museum Group, said: “Helping more people find meaning and relevance in science is at the heart of the Science Museum Group’s mission to inspire futures. The academy’s vital work – which is only possible thanks to BP’s support – is a critical part of this mission.”