However, it is not just about the numbers. Equally important is the feedback we receive, and this shows us that the resource is well-loved by the different groups who access the content free of charge on a daily basis. Science teachers tell us that they love the high quality animations and diagrams that they can display full screen size on their interactive whiteboard or download for inclusion in their lesson plan. Parents and carers tell us it’s a god-send when it comes to helping their children with their homework when they are faced with questions that are too difficult to answer - many parents also say they like to take a trip down memory lane and enjoy revising what they learned at school! Perhaps most importantly, the students, ranging from 5 to 19 years old, who access the content either directly from the site or via their parent or teacher, tell us that they love the interactive games and quizzes and that the content is really relevant to the subjects that they are taught in school or college.
Our member companies also use the site when they visit local schools and colleges. Jacqui Hill, from Astellas told me: ‘The site offers support for not only teachers and students, but also parents. The interactive aspects of the site are fantastic! We find both students and teachers love the films, videos & stories.’
Other industry employees endorse this comment. Annie Dingley, a pharmaceutical training manager, says: ‘The information has been designed to keep the attention of the pupil by appealing to different learning styles, with a variety of activities, quizzes, reading and diagrams. This is a fantastic resource for teachers, trainers, students of all ages and anyone who has an interest in science or who works in a healthcare/science industry.’
The Association of Science Education (ASE) is also impressed. Rebecca Dixon-Watmough of the ASE told me:‘Teachers like the ABPI resources because the language is carefully matched to age ranges and the animated graphics are brilliant at getting across complex ideas such as mitosis. Each unit can be used in class teaching and students can access them again at home for revision and homework.’
If you haven’t taken a look at the schools website, then you really should. When I am at external events and people ask me about the resource, I tell them they need to see it for themselves, and I am always pleasantly surprised by people’s reactions when they see what’s on offer. The range of topics and subjects cover a wide variety of areas within the science curriculum and the interactive elements are visually stimulating and impressive. You can take a tour of a lab or pilot plant, test your knowledge of chemistry with our interactive periodic table or learn about a range of biological subjects including genes and inheritance, genetic engineering, cloning or the history of medicines. You can even find out how far you can run on a 10g bite from an apple!
We are constantly reviewing and updating content with teachers and research scientists so that it remains up-to-date and relevant. An example of this is a new resource we are currently developing on neuroscience which will be launched early next year. This is an important part of the GCSE curriculum and includes important topics such as the structure of the nervous system and information about the sensory organs. In the resource students see how damage to the nervous system can affect people’s lives and how diseases such as dementia and Parkinson’s arise.
So, the schools website is a hit with those who use it, and that is extremely important; but there’s another reason why the success of the resource - and why reaching the 100,000 visitors’ mark - is so imperative. That’s because the website is much more than just a resource for learning, it is a resource that actively supports the future life sciences and healthcare sectors, ensuring that we have the right skills and focus to meet future challenges and commitments. The reality is, if we don’t have people studying science here in the UK then this country’s ability to drive and foster pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing in the future will be extremely limited. We need to engage with young minds as early as possible and make science intriguing and fun. If we do that, the students using our resources today will be the future science researchers, engineers and lab technicians. They will also be the future doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who will one day be looking after your children’s children.
Visit the Resources for Schools website by clicking on the link.
Head of Education and Exam