Practical Science Benchmarks
SCORE has produced a set of resourcing benchmarks for
teachers and school practitioners to use when planning science
budgets and equipping classrooms.
The benchmarks cover (where applicable) primary and
secondary school: equipment and consumables; access to outside
space; laboratory facilities; and technician staffing.
They are a comprehensive list of items essential in
enabling inspirational and effective teaching in
The lists are not a minimum - they are an indication
of the adequate resourcing levels needed to fulfil the national
SCORE will regularly review and update the benchmarks
according to changes in curricula and schools.
These benchmarks were developed and tested through SCORE's most
recent research project Resourcing Practical Science in schools.
The results of that project can be found in the Resourcing
Practical Science in schools reports, on the Curriculum Policy page.
SCORE welcomes your views on the benchmark list and will seek to
involve as many teachers and technicians in the update process as
possible. If you would like to be involved or make comments on the
benchmarks please contact SCORE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The equipment and consumables workbooks cover (where
applicable): quantities of items; links with other subjects; themes
within the topic; essential and desirable status; and
how in which to find resources for equipment and
- The secondary equipment and consumables workbook also covers:
staffing and staffing needs and electrical power, differentiated by
key stage 3, GCSE, A-level, Biology, Chemistry and Physics
- The 'access to outside space' benchmarks describe the 'habitat'
access required at primary and secondary and outline the rationale
for 'habitat' access. Access to 'local' and 'further-a-field'
habitats are listed as aspirational examples.
- The laboratory benchmarks for secondary detail the requisite
space, furniture, technology, storage and additional areas for the
provision of high quality practical science.
Benchmark development process
The benchmarks were developed in collaboration with teachers,
subject associations and draw on any previous resourcing criteria
Primary school benchmarks
Secondary school benchmarks
Equipment and Consumables
The primary equipment and consumables benchmarks were produced
by adapting the
Resourcing Primary Science Unit from
the Primary Science Teaching Trust. Primary schools that are
taking part in, or have been awarded, the Primary Science Quality
Mark were consulted on the resulting benchmarks.
SCORE commissioned CLEAPSS,
an advisory support service in practical science and technology, to
update the secondary equipment and consumables list which was first
produced by the Royal Society in 1990 and revised in 1997. The
major criterion for entry onto the list was whether the item was
necessary in order to teach the science National Curriculum
effectively. However, we have also used a broader criterion of
whether an item is necessary to provide a stimulating science
experience which will enthuse pupils and encourage them to study
'Access to outside space'
The primary and secondary 'access to outside space' benchmarks
were produced through consultation with the ASE Outdoor Science
Working Group, which comprises of a number of teachers and science
education specialists. The benchmarks were subsequently tested with
15 other teachers and technicians at a SCORE workshop in June
SCORE commissioned an independent consultant to review existing
reports on laboratory facilities for 11 - 19 practical science in
order to inform the updated laboratory benchmarks.
The reports were:
- Laboratories, resources and budgets: provision for
science in secondary school, Royal Society of Chemistry
- Improving school laboratories, Royal Society of
Chemistry (RSC), 2006
- Guidelines for excellence in school science
accommodation, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2008
- G14 Designing and Planning Laboratories, CLEAPSS,
- Science Labs in Secondary schools: recommended science
labs standards for architects and designers, Gratnells,
SCORE endorses the
existing benchmark for technician staffing developed by the
Association for Science Education (ASE).