Integrated science in the UK, 1965-1996 : its origins, characteristics, implementation and subsequent absorption into the National Curriculum in science
Integrated science courses for secondary schools were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The rationale for the courses was the need to bridge the interface between school science and the personal lives of the students. so that they gained an understanding of themselves, and of the science and technology related issues that they would meet in their environment. There was also a wish to help students develop an awareness of the nature of science and of its limitations, so that if all the detail of courses was forgotten they held on to some idea about what science was and what it could do. The author argues that while the ideal of integrated science was moulded by events much of the dynamic remains and can be found in a different guise in the science curriculum of the mid 1990s. The socialisation of science teachers into particular science disciplines, concerns about teacher expertise to teach such courses and the organisational features such as the need for unusual timetable slots were all factors which militated against the implementation of this ideal. The centre-piece' of the research is a case study of change to integrated science for all pupils up to 16 in one secondary comprehensive school, between 1977 and 1980. The interplay of organisational, personal and ideological factors in the science department was like a rehearsal for a play, which was to he acted out on a national scale in the 1980s when a common examining system was put into place and science became compulsory. In the school, as in the wider context, the courses were modified by events, and in later years were designated as 'science'. Nevertheless it was possible to identify significant links to ideas in the early integrated science courses.