While the past six months have trickled along for some and gushed past for others, 2021 has well and truly flowed into its summer. For teachers, this means one thing – the new school year is now just a paddle away.

The ongoing impact of the pandemic on lesson planning, assessment, workload and school-wide morale has been nothing short of considerable – this goes without saying. But, as classrooms continue to build back to familiar ways, teachers can approach the 2021-2022 school calendar with greater confidence and look forward to what may feel like the freshest of new starts this September.

To help teachers plan the best year of school science for students – no matter how the coming months unfold – the British Science Association (BSA) has compiled a handy summary of the key events and funding opportunities to look out for.

British Science Week 2022

Landing in the Spring Term is the STEM activity-stuffed British Science Week! While the Week itself will take place from 11-20 March 2022, this celebration of science will extend well beyond these central few days.

  • Kick Start grants

Together with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), the BSA will again offer Kick Start grants to schools in challenging circumstances to enable them to organise their own STEM-based events for British Science Week 2022. Four different types of grants will be available for state-funded, non-selective schools across the UK, with more details to follow in due course.

  • Activity packs

Taster packs and full activity packs will be available to download for Early Years, Primary and Secondary levels from October 2021 and January 2022 respectively. But don’t forget! You can still freely download and use the 2021 activity packs, focused on the theme of ‘Innovating for the future’, to keep youngsters’ scientific curiosity alive year-round.

  • Poster competition

Invite students to blend science with art when we launch the next instalment of the annual poster competition in the New Year! If you’re seeking inspiration before we announce further details, check out the winners and runners up of the 2021 poster competition here.

Funding for CREST Awards

CREST is the BSA’s flagship programme for student-led project work in STEM subjects, encouraging young people to think and act like scientists and engineers and achieve recognition for their investigations with CREST Awards. All UK schoolchildren should have the chance to explore the marvellous potential of science – irrespective of their financial means, age or background – which is why the BSA offers various grants to schools throughout the year to support the running of CREST Awards in lessons and beyond. Be sure to make a note of the following funding schemes for the coming school year:  

  • Mayor’s London Scientist programme

If you teach or work at an eligible London-based state school, why not apply for a voucher code to run fully-funded CREST SuperStar, Discovery or Bronze Awards through the Mayor’s London Scientist scheme? Made possible by the Greater London Authority, this scheme offers a limited number of free CREST Awards each year, so find out more and apply for your voucher code early!

  • Free CREST Awards in Wales

For the first time, all school students in Wales can now complete CREST Awards for free thanks to funding from the Welsh Government! This offering has the potential to make a huge difference to primary and secondary students’ learning and love of science across the nation.   

  • Free CREST Awards in Bristol, Cambridge, London and Manchester

If your school is based in any of these four cities and serves students who are disadvantaged in STEM, from October 2021 you could be eligible to apply for fully-funded CREST Awards of any level thanks to the support of Mewburn Ellis. The first schools to register for each region may also receive additional funding to help them invest in any resources needed to run the Awards!

  • Underrepresented audiences grants

Supported by UKRI, the BSA’s underrepresented audiences grants help to remove the financial barriers that may otherwise prevent students from participating in CREST Awards. In two rounds over the Autumn and Spring Terms, eligible schools can apply for £300 to help them purchase relevant equipment and up to £300 to cover the cost of CREST Award registration fees. Keep your eyes peeled for the application form early next school year!

    If you are looking to run CREST Awards with students next year, remember to get ahead of the game and download the BSA’s free primary and secondary curriculum guidance booklets! Specially designed for UK-based science teachers, these key planning tools explain exactly how to embed CREST projects into timetabled lessons with ease and efficiency.

    Summer holidays

    While activity in the classroom is put on pause, why not motivate students to achieve a CREST Award at home this school summer holiday or next? Help younger children to get their hands and minds whirring with practical Star or SuperStar STEM activities, or enhance older students’ investigative skills, ingenuity and future UCAS and placement applications with a secondary-level CREST project. They can work through any of the ready-to-run projects on the CREST resource library or use the idea generator to solve a fresh STEM challenge of their own choosing. So long as the project follows the CREST framework, there are no bounds to what students can explore!

    Despite some lingering uncertainties, the 2021-2022 school year offers much promise – a welcome chance for students and teachers alike to thrive through impactful, inspiring and collaborative science education.

    If you have any questions about CREST or any of the BSA’s other education programmes or events, please get in touch with [email protected]. You can also find a host of handy tips for running CREST Awards in our webinar series, featuring members of the CREST team and primary and secondary teachers who have hands-on experience of running the projects.