UAS Newsletter – October 2006

UAS Newsletter – October 2006

Dear Colleague

Welcome to the Autumn edition of the UAS Newsletter.

I have taken over from Sharon Herkes as National Director of UAS. Moreover, Alex Brabbs has stepped down as Project Manager of UAS. Sharon is off to South America to undertake voluntary work and Alex is working for the Institute of Physics as a Regional Officer. I would like to start this newsletter by thanking Sharon and Alex for all the sterling work they have done in extending the reach of UAS. After their departure, UAS nationally has been reorganized and Brian Lockwood has taken over as Administrative Manager and he has responsibility for the day-to-day running and operation of UAS. Brian will be ensuring that all departments are supported, particularly those running UAS for the first time. We would ask those departments planning on participating in UAS this year to return sign-up letters to Brian as soon as possible. Brian can be contacted at or please see our website for further details.

Perhaps I should say a little about my background. I am an Emeritus Professor of the University of Southampton, but I was previously the Associate Dean (Education) for the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics and the Professor of General Relativity in the School of Mathematics at the University. I was involved, together with a colleague Paul Cooper, in piloting the UAS in 2002/3, the first year of the scheme. In that year, we recruited 13 mathematics students and arranged for them to attend 5 partner schools. Of the original 13 students, 12 went on eventually to undertake a PGCE. The pilot year turned out to be such an outstanding success that we decided to expand it further in the University. In its fourth year of operation, the academic year 2005/6, nine disciplines from across the University were involved, and 72 students were selected and placed in some 30 partner schools from the region. In September 2005 I was delighted to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Award for the development and expansion of this module. So as you can imagine I am a real fan of the scheme. UAS is a win win situation for all the stakeholders involved: students; who get a taste of teaching and who are able to significantly develop their transferable skills; pupils, who meet a role model for their particular discipline and who may thereby become interested in further or higher education; teachers, who receive support in the classroom from enthusiastic students; universities, who develop their outreach activities and, finally, the government, because the scheme helps to encourage a new generation of students to consider joining the teaching profession, especially in shortage subjects. If I had to just home in on one characteristic of the scheme at Southampton then it would be the development of personal confidence in the students who take it. The scheme is not a soft option, since the students say that they work harder on this module than others, moreover they enjoy the different nature of the module and, whether or not they eventually enter the teaching profession, they certainly develop their employability skills. The overwhelmingly positive feedback I have gained from students on the UAS makes me hope that I can play a role in extending it to other Universities.

The new academic year sees a further growth in the number of departments offering a UAS module with 25 new departments coming on board for 2006/7 and more departments set to join them in the coming weeks. 84 departments from all over the UK are now involved with UAS including the University of Glasgow in Scotland and the University of Glamorgan in Wales. For a full list of departments involved click here.

UAS 2005/6 Evaluation

Evaluation of UAS in 2005/6 has shown the reasons for its continued success and growth.

Key Findings

  • 99% of undergraduates would recommend it to other students, 100% of academic staff felt that it had been of benefit to their undergraduates and all schools involved in 2005/6 wished to be involved the following year.
  • 28% of undergraduates applied for an Initial Teacher Training course after completing UAS, an increase of 119% on 2004/5.
  • 28% of teachers reported that UAS had helped to update their subject knowledge and 40% that it had contributed to their professional development. 70% of teachers gained re-usable resources created by their UAS undergraduate.
  • 95% of teachers felt that that their UAS undergraduate had increased the enthusiasm of either some or all of their pupils for STEM subjects.
  • 99% of undergraduates felt that it had improved their overall transferable skills and that they had made a positive contribution to, and impact on, the pupils they worked with.
  • UAS contributed to the Widening Participation agenda with 35% of undergraduates being the first in their family to enter Higher Education and 40% of undergraduates being placed in schools where the attainment of GCSE grades A*-C is below the national average of 54.9%.

To view the full 2005/6 evaluation click here.

STOP PRESS: UAS wins funding support for chemistry students from the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry. More details in the next newsletter.

We hope you have found the information provided in this newsletter of interest. For further details about any of the above, or if you have any information to contribute for the next newsletter, please see or contact me on or contact

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