The event evaluation report is now nearly finished. Sorry for a bit of a hiatus while we were running I’m a Councillor (just because we’ve got our new IAS baby, doesn’t mean we can neglect our first born:-)).
We hope to get the evaluation report online some time next week (plus a summary – the whole thing is over 100 pages long. Even I don’t think anyone will want to read all of it, beautifully crafted prose though it is). The extremely short version is that everyone loved it and every single teacher and scientist who responded said they would recommend the event to a colleague. Even the teachers who got it dumped on them at the last minute loved it.
We plan to run the event again in March, with 200 classes taking part, for National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW). And then again in June, with even more classes. June seems to be the optimum time for most teachers, especially with year 9 classes. But we’re still trying to work out the practicalities, and most importantly, secure funding.
We’ve been talking to various people, who have been very positive about the event. In order to really scale it up though, we may need to consider a mixture of funding – possibly charging schools to take part and/or getting sponsorship from companies or scientific institutes. I’m reluctant to charge schools because it may rule some schools out. But it wouldn’t be a lot of money. We worked out that if we are doing it on a bigger scale, IAS will cost about £5 per child. It’s probably less than an afternoon in a nearby museum, or a half day visit to the school by an external professional.
Considering that teachers can get up to a month’s worth of lessons out of IAS, that has to be excellent value for money. Especially when you think about the excitement it generates and the integrated way it gets students engaging with science and How Science Work. Yes, OK, I may be a bit biased.:-)
Even if we don’t charge schools, we’ll still have to recruit them, and a lot of scientists too. I think getting 200 classes for March wouldn’t be too difficult, because just about every teacher who took part said they’d want to do it again next year, with more of their classes. We also had plenty of teachers who applied for the pilot who we didn’t have spaces for. But we’ll have to put some effort into recruiting 500 classes for June though.
If anyone’s got any bright ideas on who to approach for funding, and the best way to recruit schools and scientists for these bigger events, then let me know.