An open letter to the ASE – seven years later

Nearly seven years ago I wrote an open letter to the ASE which you can read here.  I complained that the ASE wasn’t listening to members and wasn’t delivering what science teachers wanted. I had many responses, some public which you can read in the comments and some private which you can’t! The resounding response was for me to become involved with the ASE and help steer it in the right direction.

So have I done since?

  • I am now the regional secretary for the East Midlands and help organise CPD events for members (and non-members) in our region. These are linked to hot-topics or changes to the curriculum which members are asking for
  • I’ve been involved more with the ASE at a national level. I’ve been a past member of their assembly (now called education group) and also a member of the publications committee. I’m currently a member of the 11-19 committee which meets three times a year and discusses topics like SEN, the new GCSEs and science teacher retention.
  • I’ve attended several annual conferences and this year I’ve presented at the ASE conference for the first time (on behalf of the 11-19 committee).  I’ve joined the organising committee for the annual conference next year which will be held at Birmingham University.
  • I’ve submitted articles for EiS, SSR and the ASE website, some of which have appeared in print.

Of course, the ASE hasn’t rested on its laurels over the last seven years:

  • The structure of the ASE has been streamlined to make it more responsive to members and secure its future
  • A new CEO took the reins and the ASE has a much higher profile, with the ASE appearing on the national news several times and communicating better with its members through social media (including launching the excellent #ASEchat)
  • The ASE has successfully promoted professional registration with more and more members signing up (I was awarded Chartered Science Teacher status in 2011)
  • The ASE has produced some excellent materials to support science teachers such as the excellent language of maths in science and the language of measurement.
  • We’ve had some excellent Presidents and Chairs of the ASE in the last seven years, with another excellent candidate waiting in the wings as Chair-Elect. These have helped to further strengthen the ASE and refocus it on its core purpose of improving the quality of science education for all
  • A new website is due to launch within the next two months

To some extent, the people who responded to my original post were right.  The more involved you become, the more you stand to get out of the ASE. However, there are still many science teachers who are not members and the challenge is to communicate the benefits of membership to those educators. With the loss of local authority influence and the rise of the multi-academy trust, it is getting harder and harder to reach individual science departments and therefore individual teachers.

This slideshow highlights some of the benefits of membership, if you aren’t a member have a look at what you are missing:

Are you a member of the ASE? What do you value about your membership? If you aren’t a member what is it that stops you signing up?

2 thoughts on “An open letter to the ASE – seven years later”

  1. No I am not a member though I have contributed to many ASE activities. I identify strongly as a chemist and feel the ASE actively seeks to downplay the importance of subject discipline within the umbrella of science. I align much more strongly with the values of the RSC. As I’m also a member of the RSC (and CSciTeach) i just cannot afford another set of fees.

    1. I think your view on subject disciplines could depend on your teaching background/route – my PGCE was balanced science and I’ve never been a subject specialist, I’ve always had to teach everything up to GCSE level at every school I’ve worked in. I see the importance of subject specialists and the importance in flexibility in teaching science (especially since there are supply problems for some subject areas!). I think we are united by a common goal of raising the standards of science education – even if we don’t always have the same viewpoint. I’m not a member of the RSC (as a lowly biologist) but I appreciate all you do for teachers everywhere – that’s why I sought you out at the ASE conference! 🙂

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