For the last 15 years, the British Council in France has worked in partnership with the French Ministry of Education to implement the Science in Schools programme across the whole country.
UK-based researchers, engineers or university teams have been coming to French schools to deliver interactive science workshops in English on a variety of STEM topics. French pupils get to practice their English in a specific context whilst improving their knowledge of science and their perception of contemporary research.
Evaluation feedback shows that:
- 93% of pupils find that a workshop delivered by researchers in English is not a barrier to understanding the scientific content
- 40% of pupils express interest in pursuing science subjects to a higher level following participation in a workshop, in addition to an average of 25% prior to participation in the Science in Schools programme.
How does the programme work?
The British Council identifies teams of UK scientists or STEM Ambassadors willing to come to an area of France for a week to deliver interactive workshops on their research topic to local schools. The duration of workshops can vary between 1 to 3 hours depending on the level and age of each class and sessions are delivered entirely in English, even at primary level. To optimise communication and understanding, the researchers use a blend of scientific experiments, hands-on activities and interactive presentations tailored to the needs of each group.
Depending on the theme, some Science in Schools workshops are delivered in laboratory conditions at a local university. Taking pupils to a university campus and encouraging discussion with researchers as well as older students is a good way to create links and to spark interest in higher education and careers in research. Watch
a French news report showing one of our Science in Schools workshops in a Chemistry Department in Lille.
At the end of 2020, we piloted a new version of Science in Schools with distance workshops for both teachers and pupils.Watch the video of the recordings and learn more here
Approximately 10 French local authorities per year are selected by the Ministry of Education to participate in the programme and requests from schools to get involved must be sent directly to the International Relations Office
. The British Council cannot accept individual applications from teachers.
A few examples of workshops :
To enable as many teachers as possible to introduce the Science in Schools approach to their classroom teaching, we have produced a science resource pack for teachers which can be downloaded from the British Council Schools Online website.
- Arts in Schools workshops
In the same vein, we also deliver “Arts in Schools” workshops on themes such as the cinema or drama. Recently we carried out a Shakespeare workshop in Montpellier to mark the 400 years of the death of the bard. Download the Shakespeare education teaching resources pack.
- Communicating science in schools: SchoolLab
Three years ago we launched a pilot project called “SchoolLab”, in the Lille local authority. SchoolLab is the junior version of the international science communication competition FameLab. If you are a FameLab alumni and would like to be involved in the France SchoolLab project as a mentor, please write to email@example.com.
How can I participate if I’m a UK based scientist?
If you are a UK-based researcher, engineer, or STEM Ambassador and have a passion for science communication, (NB. you are not required to have UK nationality) send us your application to get involved in running Science in Schools workshops in France!
The Terms and Conditions are:
- You must be available for one full week.
- Your workshop proposal must already have been tested and approved in the UK. You will be required to provide a DBS (ex-CRB) check.
- The British Council will cover all costs related to travel, accommodation and subsistence for a maximum 3 team members, plus costs related to the purchase of products or materials not readily available in French schools (up to a total value of £1000).
- The duration of workshops must be between 1 to 2 hours at primary level and between 2 to 3 hours at secondary level. Depending on the duration, there may be between 9 to15 workshops per week in total.
- Teams or individuals will be accompanied by a British Council France staff member and/or a local education representative throughout the week.
If you meet the above requirements and have an interesting workshop proposal, please fill in the form below and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We accept applications all year round.