The British scientific community has reacted with dismay to the decision to axe practical lab work from science A-levels in England.

Ofqual, the exam regulator in England, announced that it would go ahead with its plans to end assessed coursework counting towards A-levels in biology, physics and chemistry – a move the Physiological Society, representing biologists, described as "the death knell for UK science education"

UPDATE: The Science Councils response to Ofquals decision.....

Intensive ENTHUSE Awards of up to £1,000 are available to UK state funded schools that have not previously engaged with the National Science Learning Centre i.e. staff from the school have not attended courses at the centre.

Intensive ENTHUSE Awards are made available to provide in-school support and are not to supplement bursaries available for attendance at Science Learning Centre courses. This support can include support from consultants, bespoke CPD to be run in school, mentoring etc. Receiving an Intensive ENTHUSE Award does not prevent schools accessing future ENTHUSE Award bursaries used towards the costs of participating in CPD at the National Science Learning Centre.

For further details or to request an application form please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

More Guidance can be downloaded from here:

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of AirConUK, a “startling” number of employers don’t know the laws regarding temperatures in the workplace — leading to confusion as to whether it is too hot or too cold for employees to work.

This confusion means that on particularly hot or cold days, there is often conflict between management and so-called "workplace lawyers" — employees who have a vague but not entirely accurate idea of the regulations — leading to bad feeling and loss of production.

Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, management is legally responsible for the welfare of staff and visitors on their premises. Regulation 7 requires that during working hours, the temperature inside buildings in all workplaces shall be “reasonable”.

In fact there is no temperature required by law, although the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has set guideline limits as part of its code of practice.

The code advises that the working temperature should in normal circumstances be at least 16ºC. Where physical work is taking place it should be not less than 13ºC.

There is no maximum temperature specified, although HSE seeks to define an acceptable temperature as no more than 30ºC.

AirCon’s survey found that more than half of those managers and business owners questioned did not know these guideline limits. A third also admitted that they had come into conflict with employees over working temperatures.

Perhaps in view of the recent report on climate change, now would be a good time to introduce legal minimum and maximum temperatures for the workplace. What do you think?

If you are keen to develop your own CPD, then why not consider Futurelearn. It's a group of universities including the Open University running free short courses in a wide range of subjects. Choose a high quality free course from a range of topics; from Science & Technology to Arts & Humanities, from Body & Mind to Business & Management.. Learn from the experts. Educators from top UK and international universities have created videos, articles and quizzes to inspire you, and will lead discussions and debates.

Courses are designed to fit around your life, with short activities and clear goals to encourage you to make progress at a comfortable rate that suits you. Courses are designed to provoke questions and stimulate debate, so that learning becomes as easy and natural as chatting with a group of friends. These courses are brilliant as well as being free and could perhaps be used as part of evidence for any of you who are doing your RSciTech. Check out the group right now at  https://www.futurelearn.com/

I am reprinting the article that many of you will be informed about regarding Scitech-l - Mr. David Ferguson, as many of you will know, is also involved in a managerial capacity with us here on TecHKnow. David has indicated that he is willing to continue in this function supporting TecHKnow for the forseeable future. I certainly appreciate his help.

I would also like at this point to record on the record my admiration and personal thanks to Maz and Rob for their kind support over the past four years in relation to the TecHKnow website. I am very pleased that both TecHKnow and Scitech-l (and UCLAN Scitech Forums)  have a strong working relationship that has been built upon the great work of our friend and Colleague Valery Chapman (RIP) alongside the tremendous support that Dr. Peter K. Robinson (UCLAN) has offered the technician community down through the years.

Scitech-l has in my opinion been the foremost leader in promoting the assimilation and communication of Information as well as best practice within our profession and Maz has done sterling absolutely fantastic work in managing all of this. I wish Maz all the best in the future.


You may have noticed David Ferguson has been flexing his ruler recently. This is because my time as a sci tech is drawing to a close. My husband Robin and I (trying not to sound too regal here), took over as moderator(s) when our founder member Valerie Chapman very sadly died in 2009. She had enough trust in us to hand over to us her highly graffiti-ed and well gnarled and notched ruler from many years of "Rapping".

Robin has been my constant adviser and mentor over my last 5 years wielding the ruler.
David has been a member of Scitech-L for most of it's existence and is also a driving force on the Techknow site. During this time he has helped many technicians to solve their problems, especially in the physics discipline at which he is a true wizard. 


And so I have no reservations in handing over Val's ruler to David as I know it will be in safe hands. Having said that, I do hope he does not have to use it too much. It has been a privilege moderating this invaluable technician resource which, as of today has 682 members from across the globe.

I know that, as professional people, you will show David the consideration and respect he deserves and that the Scitech-L discussion group will continue to support technicians in schools as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.

Kind Regards 

Maz (Carving my initials on the ruler before handing it over to David)

All the best school science experiments carry at least a hint of danger. But when 13-year-old Jamie Edwards informed his stunned headmaster of his plan to build a nuclear reactor in a classroom, the obvious question was: Will it blow the school up? Fortunately, in a victory for the spirit of amateur scientific discovery over the health and safety culture, Jamie's promise that it was perfectly safe was believed.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2573998/I-star-jar-13-year-old-youngest-person-world-build-NUCLEAR-FUSION-

And recently he became the youngest person in the world to achieve nuclear fusion from scratch at his Lancashire secondary school, using high energy to smash two hydrogen atoms together to make helium.

When I was his age, I was still learning how to tie my shoes!

Teachers in England and Wales are to strike on 26 March in their dispute over pay, pensions and conditions.

The NUT and the NASUWT have held a series of strikes since first balloting members almost three years ago, but more recently action was called off so talks could be held.

The unions said they last met with government officials in October.

The dispute centres on the introduction of a new performance-related pay structure and tougher pension package. [Courtesy: BBC NEWS | EDUCATION]

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