The Excellent Science Department: A Guide to its Leadership and Self-evaluation

The 2nd edition of this publication was written by Jim Stafford (formerly a Principal Teacher of Biology, a Local Authority Science Adviser and Quality Improvement Officer with East Ayrshire Council), and published in November 2014.

The aim of this booklet is to provide a ready point of reference on the key aspects of leading a secondary science department. Since the publication of the first edition in 2007, there have been significant changes to the science curriculum in Scotland’s secondary schools and some 200 teachers have participated in leadership training with SSERC. As a result of these changes and of the feedback from leadership courses, this second edition has been revised accordingly throughout and sections on leading professional learning and developing a leadership culture added.

Although the booklet will be of particular interest to those who hold promoted posts for science subjects, it should also be valuable to school senior managers, local authority officers and others who have responsibility for the quality of education in secondary schools. It should also be useful to all science teachers as the ultimate aim of leadership and self-evaluation is to improve the quality of the science learning and teaching experiences provided by teachers in school laboratories. It is hoped that this booklet can be read from all these different perspectives so that everyone involved in science education can further develop their contribution to the quality of science education in the secondary school.

In his foreword to The Excellent Science Department, Ken Cunningham CBE, FRSA (General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland) makes the following observation:

This booklet picks up all the key themes that any aspiring or existing Principal Teacher (or Faculty Head) would wish to have at their fingertips. It sets out best practice across a whole range of aspects of leading and managing a Science department. It is thorough, well researched, tied very much to years of quality experience.

Registered members may request printed copies from SSERC or a pdf version can be accessed here.

The Modern Science Teacher (reprinted December 2018)

This booklet, written by Jim Stafford, aims to support new and recently qualified science teachers as they embark on their professional careers. The booklet seeks to provide a ready reference point on the key issues that have to be taken into account when devising science courses for the 21st century. Topics covered include the organisation of the science teaching laboratory, CPD, action research, self-evaluation and school inspections. Although the booklet is intended for those who have just entered the profession it should also be useful to those who support, supervise and manage new and recently qualified science teachers.

In his foreword to The Modern Science Teacher, Professor Graham Donaldson CB makes the following observation:

This booklet is relevant for all science teachers, irrespective of whether they have recently qualified or have been teaching for many years. It supports the reflective and enquiring culture which should increasingly characterise all Scotland’s schools and learning communities.

The booklet was updated in December 2018 to include information on SQA qualifications and HMI inspection procedures. The reprinted version also takes into account a number of other changes since the first edition was published in 2013.

A pdf version can be accessed here.