Ally Davies, Science Subject Advisor
We have developed a brand new set of resources to support teachers, shaped by discussions in our consultative forum and in teacher network meetings. In this blog, I’ll introduce our new STEM contributors resources; I’ll explain why they are important for diversity and inclusion in science, and I’ll describe how teachers can use them to help meet benchmark 4 of the Gatsby Good Careers Guidance.
We’ve shown our resources to members of the ASE Inclusion in Science Project team and we’re delighted with their feedback:
“This is the resource that inclusive educators have been hoping for: a quick and easy way to link lessons to a diverse range of role models. We know how important it is for young people to see themselves in what they learn. And now it has just got a lot easier.”
We recognise that teachers want to celebrate the diversity of those working in STEM, and they also want to highlight a wide range of careers paths in STEM too. With so many competing demands, teachers often don’t have the time to research everything they’d like, or to curate what they find.
To help overcome these challenges we have developed resources for the GCSE and A Level science qualifications that signpost teachers to useful webpages, linking directly to people whose work is related to each part of each specification – and at the same time, highlighting the diverse range of roles in STEM.
For each of our GCSE and A Level qualifications we’ve created a spreadsheet that can be filtered. For each of the STEM contributors listed in the resource, we indicate a section of the specification that relates to their work, we give a concise biographical note and a link to an external website.
When we talk about STEM contributors we aren’t just talking about people who contribute to the development of STEM knowledge and understanding (for example science researchers in universities); we’re also talking about people who contribute to society through their work using their STEM knowledge and skills (for example, a broadcast engineer).
These resources celebrate contributors in a wide range of roles, including early career researchers, apprentices, undergraduate and postgraduate students, those working in industry, public service and in academic research.
While many are still working today, others are retired, and some are no longer living. Some have also won awards or prizes for their contributions, but we are delighted to include many people who have not received such public recognition for their work.
For many years, STEM has been perceived as lacking diversity, and indeed has lacked diversity. The current stereotype of a scientist is an old(er) white man.
We want to help you to challenge this stereotype by highlighting to students that STEM contributors are diverse, and that roles in STEM or using STEM are varied and rewarding. We want students of all identities and backgrounds to know that they can feel valued, happy and well rewarded working in STEM related jobs.
The Institute of Physics Limit Less campaign, identified five groups that are underrepresented or underserved in the physics community. Based on these groups, each person mentioned in our new resource has been tagged to help you to find STEM contributors who:
We’ve been thorough, checking that there are good sources to validate the use of these tags – we do not intend to ‘out’ anyone; we want to describe people as they would describe themselves.
To help you to highlight people within the context of your regular teaching. For each contributor, we indicate an area of the specification that matches their work.
To make this resource easy to use, each spreadsheet includes a number of filters.
To find contributors for a teaching topic, apply a ‘specification content’ filter - unselecting ‘blanks’ will show every person we have tagged to that section of the specification, or you can choose a sub-section (such as B3.1) to look for contributors we have tagged to that subsection.
To find contributors who are tagged to one of the underrepresented groups, for example to look for women, or a person from a minority ethnic background, apply the filter in that column (by unselecting ‘blanks’).
As with any Excel spreadsheet, filters can be applied individually or together, so, for example, it’s possible to look for women from minority ethnic backgrounds tagged to a particular part of the specification.
Using the filters, you can find a broad range of people, with different identities and from different backgrounds, involved in very different work, but all are contributing (or have contributed) to STEM or through STEM.
For each person we have included in the resource, we have provided a short biographical note, and a link to an external website, where students or teachers can find out more about that STEM contributor. We have previously highlighted some of these STEM contributors through our blog posts. Where this is the case, we have also provided the link to the relevant OCR blog page.
Gatsby Benchmark 4 says ‘All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. For example, STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.
By applying the specification filters, it is easy to find diverse contributors with different roles in STEM for any area of the specification. You may wish to share our short biographies with your students and direct them to the websites the resource recommends. Many of the careers oriented sites help students to contextualise their learning, helping them to make informed decisions about career paths.
The first edition of the resource was published in December 2023. We intend to update the information annually.
For some areas of the specification, we currently only have a few contributors; the more we can include, the more you and your students will benefit.
There are more excellent sites that celebrate diversity in STEM or that showcase varied jobs using STEM.
We recognise that we may not have tagged each contributor as fully as they might wish.
To suggest additions, please use the appropriate form:
Suggestions of individual STEM contributors to consider for inclusion
Suggestions of websites from which we could highlight more STEM contributors
Suggestions of additional tags for any STEM contributor we have already included
We’re especially keen to add more contributors who aren’t graduates, more from lower socio-economic backgrounds or who were first generation from their family to attend university.
There is a dedicated spreadsheet for each GCSE and for each A Level. Combined Science is included within the sheets for each separate science.
If you have access to Teach Cambridge, you’ll find the resources on the subject page, under Teaching > Teaching delivery > Teaching and delivery guides > Equality, Diversity and Inclusion resources.
The resources are also available on our public website using the links below.
GCSE A – Gateway Science
Biology (J247, J250)
Chemistry (J248, J250)
Physics (J249, J250)
GCSE B – Twenty First Century Science
Biology (J257, J260)
Chemistry (J258, J260)
Physics (J259, J260)
Biology A (H420)
Biology B (H422)
Chemistry A (H432)
Chemistry B (H433)
Physics A (H556)
Physics B (H557)
Read more about the Gatsby Benchmarks.
Check out the ASE’s Inclusion in Science programme.
Find out more about the IOP’s Limit Less campaign.
Please let us know what you think of our new resource. We’d love to hear how you’ve used it with your students, or how we could improve it.
If you have any questions, you can email us at email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or message us at X (formerly Twitter) @OCR_science. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
After teaching physics and science for over 20 years, Ally provided and managed professional support for teachers (at Isaac Physics and for the Institute of Physics). He joined OCR in November 2021. He is committed to making science education more inclusive. In his spare time, he enjoys nature and the outdoors, walking, cycling, and gardening.