Three essential science resources for teachers

We’re committed to inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and thinkers. We’re dedicated to promoting science and engineering as something that’s exciting and interesting to study, leading to many rewarding career prospects.

We know teachers don’t always have it easy. According to the CBI’s Tomorrow’s World report, 53% of teachers believe that science has become less of a priority in primary schools since 2010. The report also says that 73.5% of teachers want to see more support from businesses on the teaching of science.

We want to help change this situation and as part of our ongoing work to promote the benefits of science, technology, engineering and maths, we offer a range of innovative resources to help teachers spark students’ imaginations.

Here are three of our favourite science initiatives that teachers all over the country can get involved with:

The Pod

The Pod is our award-winning interactive website for teachers, community group leaders and children. Launched in 2008, it helps children learn about the importance of the sustainable use of energy. We aimed to engage with 2.5 million children by 2012, a target we met two years ahead of schedule.

The Pod is full of resources to help teach 4 to 14 year olds about the topics of energy, waste, water, transport, biodiversity and climate science. The programme supports over 60% of all UK schools.

With over 32,000 teachers registered to the programme, The Pod is packed with free lesson plans, practical activities, films, games and information that we’ve developed alongside partners like Eco-Schools England, the Met Office, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the British Science Association and Wastebuster.

Its aims are simple:

 • Inspire young people and their families to choose a more sustainable lifestyle
 • Promote science, technology, engineering and maths
 • Encourage science and engineering as a career choice
 • Help children understand that a low carbon, secure and affordable energy supply is vital for the future

Robyn Thorn, our Education Programme Manager, who’s responsible for the delivery and development of The Pod says:

“I think it’s important for more young people of all genders and abilities to develop an interest in science and maths at an early age. I think having role models that children can relate to is the key, as well giving them the opportunity to take part in fun, hands-on activities that can really spark their imaginations

“We’ve had some brilliant feedback about The Pod. Teachers tell us our campaigns help them get students thinking about wider issues. A lot of them have told us that their school has saved energy and cut waste and that the students have found it all lots of fun.”

Visitor Centres

Our eight UK visitor centres underpin our education programmes, providing hands-on experiences, as well as classroom facilities where teachers and pupils can discuss their visits. Bob Fenton, our Head Of Communications says:

“The visitor programmes have been designed to support the work the schools do around science and the environment. We’re more than just a good day out - there’s a tangible educational benefit too. The students ask hundreds of questions during their visits. They delve into the fission process, what goes on inside the box, where nuclear fuel comes from, how we look after it at the end. And, of course, does Homer Simpson work there!”

Each of our visitor centres has an interactive exhibition, featuring touch screen computers and information panels, explaining how electricity is generated in a nuclear power station. They also offer pre-arranged tours of the stations. Bob says:

“When we started the planning process, we were determined that the visitor centres would be a place of trust, where information is presented neutrally - we explain the pros and the cons of nuclear power - and, wherever possible, with independent links.

“We want people to make up their own minds. Our ambassadors and guide teams make the real difference - that and the fact that we are prepared to put ourselves in public spaces to talk openly and enthusiastically about what we do.”

Cheltenham Science Festival

We’ve been involved with the award-winning Times Cheltenham Science Festival for over a decade, becoming the associate title partner in 2014. In 2015, there were 150 events and 13,000 school children from 67 schools visited the festival in what was a record-breaking year for ticket sales.

It’s the leading festival of its type in Europe and we work closely with the organisers to create programmes like the renowned Science for Schools, which includes talks, workshops and interactive activities. This programme is the heartbeat of the festival, helping students to discover the work of some of the world’s leading scientists. Stuart Crooks, Managing Director of our generation business says:

“We are passionate about engaging young minds with science and engineering, which is why we continue to build on our rewarding partnership with the Education department at Cheltenham Festivals.

For a company like EDF Energy it’s hugely important to have young people coming through the education system with a passion for science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, and with a desire to build a career in the sector. Over the next decade the energy landscape of the UK will change significantly with older power stations coming to the end of their lives and a new generation of stations – including our planned new nuclear sites – coming on stream. We need to ensure that we excite young people now about the possibilities open to them when they complete their education, and show them the rewarding opportunities that are open to them in our industry.”

To find out more about these initiatives, visit The Pod, our visitor centre page, and the Times Cheltenham Science Festival site.