Teachers stunned after new science curriculum has no physics, biology or chemistry

Science teachers are stunned that a very early draft of the revised science curriculum makes no mention of physics, biology or chemistry.

Newshub has obtained the document, which was sent to a few teachers for their feedback. 

Some of them were so alarmed they went public.

Doug Walker is the Head of Science at St Patricks College in Wellington. 

"The moments I really thrive on are when you see that dawning epiphany on a student's face," Science Teacher Doug Walker said.

He has an absolute blast teaching science. 

However, Doug is among a number of teachers who're worried after seeing a leaked draft of the revised school science curriculum. 

"I was quite surprised and concerned about what seems to be missing from the document," he said.

That document proposes to teach science through five contexts - including the Earth system, biodiversity, and infectious diseases. 

But nowhere in the draft does it actually mention teaching the basics of science, like physics, chemistry or biology. 

"Major areas of science can't be seen in the document, to me the curriculum should be explicitly stating what, how and when to teach certain concepts to students".

Physics educators aren't happy either, and fear students could leave school without knowing the basics. 

"We have a draft curriculum that doesn't even mention physics, it's very high level," NZ Physics Institute President, Joachim Brand said.

"We are not trying to get rid of physics, chemistry and biology," Science Curriculum Co-Writer Cathy Buntting said.

Cathy Buntting co-wrote the draft curriculum and says it's about modernising our curriculum. 

"It's proposing to teach those subjects differently, not operating in the silos that have been traditionally the structure of science education in secondary schools".

The Ministry of Education said in a statement any speculation on the curriculum is premature, as this is a very early draft.

A proper draft document will go out for wider feedback in August, and will give educators time to have their say and make changes. 

Teachers like Doug just hope they'll all be able to get onto the same wavelength soon. 

Sign up to receive news updates

By entering your email address, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Newshub and its affiliates may use your email address to provide updates/news, ads, and offers. To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Policy.