Gatsby Charitable Foundation
Daniel Sandford Smith

Report by Sarah Codrington

Daniel Sandford Smith stated that the Gatsby Foundation was set up by David Sainsbury with the belief that science can change our lives. In addition, to science and engineering education, Gatsby is currently funding research in plant science and neuroscience.

Gatsby criteria for funding: national impact, not fundable by Government; sustainable, and developed in collaboration with partners.

Gatsby's education work has three priorities:

The target audience is the future workforce rather than potential Nobel-prizewinners.
For example, Gatsby is funding:

Discussion: points made by those present

Have things improved? It is doubtful whether the National Strategy is demonstrating how teaching and learning should be done. Does Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Pupil Progress really help? How does C21 work in the classroom? - it would have been better if there had been proper CPD and if it had been properly piloted, but there are funding and timing issues. C21 it turned out to be very different from what had been expected. National changes are usually implemented before the implications and consequences are worked out. However it is easy to be wise with hindsight, and Nuffield products are always used in ways for which they were not designed. It could have been very much worse.

Might we pay more attention to systems design? The system would be more robust if there were less change, because many teachers find it hard to pick and choose.

Should we have more engagement in politics? Most science teaching is aimed at future graduates, not at the 50% who will not engage in further education. What does the curriculum look like for them? And in 2006 GCSE science specifications were accredited which bore no relation to the criteria. However it would be unwise to say that it would all have worked out well if we had had total control. It is always risky to be at the leading edge of what is possible, and change happens when you go too far. One of those present suggested that Nuffield have done better than the Government over the last 60 years. 

Teachers need a sense of ownership of the materials they use, even though intellectual property rights may remain with organisations such as Sheffield Hallam.