Now in its sixth year, and despite the limitations placed on it by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign has seen exponential growth with 200,000 primary and secondary school students signed up to participate. Alongside schools in the UK, this year is also the first year that specific events will be held abroad. A special event, hosted by Curtin University in Peth, Australia, will see students come together in a face-to-face event to share in science and engineering activities.
The events this year are all focused on climate change and will tie in with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and COP26. In a flagship event, held in conjuction with the Royal Society, Professor Brian Cox will host a Q&A session called “Your Planet, Your Questions”. He and a panel of climate science experts will be answering young people’s climate questions in a video event due to be held at 9am on Tuesday 15 June.
Alongside this, as part of the ChangeMakers project, the Right Honourable Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, will be leading a panel event that will allow primary and secondary school pupils to ask questions and get advice about how to make their schools carbon neutral. The panel includes our own Professor Alice Larkin, Head of the School of Natural Sciences.
The GSSfS brings together school pupils aged 5-14 from across the world in a day all about sharing science. It aims to engage students in a child-focused, inclusive, non-competitive, and collaborative learning experience. According to a 2017 Wellcome report – commissioned in conjunction with The University of Manchester and that took a look at the state of primary science education in the UK – only 30% of teachers thought that science as a subject was important to their school’s senior leadership team and only 5% of schools have a dedicated science teacher. Teachers who were not a science leader were less confident (79% “agree” or “strongly agree”) than science leaders in delivering science lessons (96% “agree” or “strongly agree”), and only 15% of teachers “strongly agree” that they feel supported to deliver science education. It is these statistics that make events like the GSSfS so important for science education.