Working with Science 1976

Organisers: 1970s: Ken Wild (1970s) and Ken Wild, Chris Elliott and John Taylor (1980s)

Following the raising of the school leaving age (ROSLA) in 1972, there was a demand for a one-year post-16 science programme. In the mid 1970s, a creative team produced a flexible set of work-related modules in a low-cost format. This was Nuffield’s first foray into applied and work-related science.

Aims and approach: resources

The aim was to provide resources which could be the basis for a wide variety of post-16 science courses for young people staying on in school or college but not likely to take an A-level course. The chosen topics were very wide ranging. There were maxi-units with titles such as Brewing, Football, Pollution, Psychology and Enterprise. There were mini-units on topics such as Boomerangs, Stage make-up and Dowsing.


The first round of units was designed for use with the Certificate of Extended Education (CEE). In 1986 some units were revised for the Certificate of Pre-Vocational Education (CPVE).


The Nuffield Working with Science project’s resources were ahead of their time and were not widely adopted, largely because the CEE did not take off in science. Similarly the CPVE had a short life and the classes were seldom supervised by science teachers.

John Taylor and the Manchester group of developers also produced Science at Work with a commercial publisher. As a course for low-performing 14-16 year-olds this was a huge success. At first it underpinned many CSE courses and later GCSE courses. 

Also on the web

Download the publications from the STEM Centre website. See particularly the introductions to Teachers’ guide 1 and Teachers’ guide 2, and the CPVE Tutors’ handbook.

Working with Science