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Science and the National Curriculum for England

            Science is a core subject in the National Curriculum for England, and this position is rarely questioned. However, is this justified? This essay will outline the main arguments for science's, currently secure, place in education. There is also the question of whether school science can truly reflect science in the 'real world' and how relevant it is to the lives of the students that study it. The discussion does not just not end with the place of science, there are also multiple running disputes about the content and structure of the Science Curriculum. These disputes and the current changes to the curriculum will also be addressed. The National Curriculum was introduced in 1988, following the Education Reform Act. The establishment of a National Curriculum was deemed necessary in order to standardise the content and objectives of school teaching (Nicolson and Holman, 2003). Science is a core and compulsory subject in the National curriculum and should be taught from ages 5 to 16. .
             Science is typically taught as a single subject, combining the different scientific disciplines. Pupils can choose to study the sciences separately, i.e. Biology, Chemistry and Physics, at GCSE in Key Stage 4. Although the separation only occurs at this point, the topics taught in earlier years are often recognised, and described to pupils, as belonging to one of the three basic science disciplines. Jenkins (2007) discusses the concerns scientists had about the separating of the sciences. The believed that science should be 'united' as there is an overlap between all sciences, and the fundamental scientific method is the same for all. There are numerous arguments for teaching science, Wellington (2002) summarises these into three main ideas; the intrinsic worth, the utility of science, and the citizenship argument. The intrinsic view explains that science knowledge helps us to understand ourselves as human beings and how our bodies function.

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