Engaging Pupils in Biology


Engaging Pupils in Biology through core practicals KS3 to KS5

This 12-hour short course is aimed at Science teachers who are non-biology specialists who will need to plan and carry out ‘core practicals’ within the biology modules as well as biology specialists who want to refresh and enhance their subject knowledge.

“Are we doing a practical today?”  Most science teachers will be familiar with this enthusiastic greeting by pupils at the door of the laboratory. Placing practical work at the heart of science is an often cited expression of its importance to the teaching and learning of science for young people (Holman 2017; OFSTED 2013; Sherborne 2013).

Currently, with the emphasis on ‘core practicals’ and developing scientific skills within GCSE specifications science teachers have an even greater opportunity to motivate young people in the science classroom; a majority of GCSE students report that they would like to do more practical activities in science lessons (Leevers, 2017). But, delivering effective, practical focused science lessons is not straightforward with practical work considered to be “misunderstood and badly used” (Osborne, 2015: 16). As a non-specialist, developing confidence and self-efficacy in this area, can be daunting. For biologists, developing a pedagogy that promotes deep learning for pupils also presents its own challenges.

In this series of CPD sessions, we will explore six of these ‘core practicals’. Each session will consider how the core practical might be delivered successfully and safely in the GCSE classroom. We will reflect on how each task might be used not just as a stand-alone activity that pupils have to complete for their GCSE science portfolio but how the task may be modified to promote pupil cognition as well as how the task might form the basis for deeper learning and mastery. We will consider the idea of learning progressions; how does the scientific idea, that the practical task addresses, progress from GCSE to an advanced level; should these practical tasks at GCSE and A’ level ‘talk to each other’?


All six sessions will be on Mondays (15:00 – 17:00) and will focus on the following areas of the biology curriculum:

  • Microbiology (19th February 2018)
  • Fieldwork/sampling (26th February 2018)
  • Enzyme activity (5th March 2018)
  • Photosynthesis (12th March 2018)
  • Respirometry (19th March 2018)
  • Food testing (26th March 2018)


£100 per session (£90 for Current Goldsmiths Partnership Schools and alumni).
Applicants who book all six sessions in one go will receive a 10% discount (£540).
All attendees will receive a Goldsmiths CPD Certificate of attendance.


Please return your completed Biology CPD Booking Form (Word) to teacherscentre (

Cancellations need to be notified in writing to teacherscentre (
Cancellations up to 14 days before the course start date will incur a 20% cancellation fee.
For later cancellations, or non-attendance, the full course fee will be charged.

Course Tutor: Dave Dennis, MA Science Education (King’s College, London).

Course Administrator: Laurence Connor | 020 7919 7326 | teacherscentre (