Science students inject new life into schools

Tuesday 9 October 2007

A new module which will see science undergraduates working alongside classroom teachers has been launched at the University of St Andrews.

As part of the UK initiative, the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS), the module will give students experience of communicating with school pupils and provide useful assistance to schools from an undergraduate who has current knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm for their science, technology or mathematical subject. The St Andrews module is the largest operating in Scotland.

The inter-disciplinary module, coordinated by the School of Biology, awards academic credit to science, technology, engineering and maths undergraduates working with teachers in local schools for the equivalent of nine half-days. To date, over 30 undergraduates from the Schools of Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics and Astronomy have signed up to the module at St Andrews.

The module launch involved an afternoon’s induction session attended by the undergraduates and school teachers, with an introductory lecture on ‘science education in Scotland’ delivered by Professor Jack Jackson, who spent over 20 years with HM Inspectorate of Schools and had national responsibility for science education from 1990 to 2006. The students underwent a rigorous selection process before being selected for the module. They will head off to their placements at a range of Fife and Dundee schools later this month.

Dr Alyson Tobin, Reader in Plant Science at the School of Biology and coordinator of the module, ‘Communication and Teaching in Science’, said, “The initiative will provide key transferable skills to undergraduates which will be invaluable after graduation and provide teaching experience that encourages undergraduates to consider a career in teaching. The scheme also utilises the students as role models for pupils, supports teachers and, ultimately, encourages a new generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians”.

For more information, visit the University’s Biology website – or the UK scheme website at


Issued by Press Office, University of St Andrews


Claire Grainger, Press Officer – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email [email protected]

Gayle Cook, Press Officer – 01334 462529, 07900 050 103 or email [email protected]

Ref: tobin

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