Science Mark is a quality standard designed to recognise and celebrate inspiring practice in secondary science departments across the UK.
What is Science Mark?
Science Mark is more than just a recognition scheme. By working with our carefully selected assessors you will push the standards of your own department. Your assessor is an independent ‘critical friend’ who will draw on their wealth of experience in the field to help you see in greater detail the strengths and weaknesses of your science department.
What are the benefits for departments that take part?
As well as achieving either silver, gold or platinum level Science Mark, your department will also:
- receive at least a day and a half of support from an external expert
- be recognised for excellence in your science department
- celebrate engaging, stimulating and inspiring lessons for students
- help raise the profile of science across your school
- demonstrate your department's commitment to quality standards in science education
Who can apply for Science Mark?
Science Mark is open to all secondary schools – including independent schools.
What level should we apply for?
We have three levels to aim for in Science Mark - silver, gold and platinum. Our assessors will help guide you through the process of selecting and achieving the right level for you. We have also created a simple quiz to help you find the level that feels like the best fit for your department.
How much support will we get while completing Science Mark?
You will be assigned an assessor who will help you with your application by providing feedback from your interim submission, and on your final submission. Our staff here at the National STEM learning Centre and Network will also be available for any queries you may have.
How is Science Mark assessed?
When you undertake Science Mark you will be supported and assessed throughout by one of our qualified assessors. In Science Mark we look at 16 criteria, focusing on: curriculum, leadership and management, and teaching and learning. We assess these in two stages.
First, is your interim assessment in which you will complete a submission for three of the sixteen criteria. Each submission consists of an evaluative statement, a report of the impact on your staff, students, school, and evidence to back this up. You will then be given feedback on your submission and how to develop your submission if needed. This feedback will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your submission.
Secondly, you will complete the submissions for the remaining thirteen criteria, and potentially update the three you already submitted, if you need to. You will be given several months to complete your final submission. Once again you will be given support and feedback. Schools who are seeking platinum award will also receive a half day visit from your assessor.
Once your submissions are complete, you will receive your result – silver, gold or platinum.
What are the timescales?
Based on feedback from schools that have already completed Science Mark, the process takes, on average, around an hour a week in term time, or around 30 hours in total.
You should assume your final assessment will take place two terms after the process starts, so if you start in September, you will be receiving your award in the following summer.
What does Science Mark cost?
The application fee is £750.
This covers your application process, including at least a day and a half of assessor support, and the three years you are accredited, so less than £200 a year.
If you renew the existing level of award at the end of the three years (applying before the award expires) the fee will be subject to a 25% discount.
However if you are entering a submission for a higher level award, before the previous one has expired, and the submission is still led by the same member of staff, the fee will be subject to a 50% discount, if the submission is led by a different member of staff then the fee will be subject to a 25% discount.
How can we upgrade our Science Mark?
If an Organisation prepares a submission for a higher level of award before the previous award has expired and the submission is led by the same member of staff, the fee will be subject to a 50% discount on the price at that time.
If the submission is for a higher level of award and is made before the previous award has expired but is led by a different member of staff, the fee will be subject to a 25% discount on the price at that time.
How long does Science Mark last?
Your Science Mark will last three years.
What do we receive once I’ve achieved Science Mark?
You will receive a plaque, two certificates and an email footer.
How do we apply?
Do you think Science Mark could be for you? Register your interest using the short online form below.
We will then be in touch with further information about the scheme, and your next steps.
Please register by 28 May 2017 if you are interested in taking part in the next cohort. (Please be aware that registration is not a final commitment.)