Collection C/SC - EDUCATION: Chelsea College Schools Council Integrated Science Project records

Key Information

Reference code



EDUCATION: Chelsea College Schools Council Integrated Science Project records


  • 1968-1984 (Creation)

Level of description



56 boxes, 1 volume

Scope and content

Records, 1968-1984, of the Schools Council Integrated Science Project (SCISP), created by the senior members of the SCISP team, comprising papers of the SCISP consultative committee, 1969-1981, including minutes and other meeting papers, correspondence, comments on the trials course material, and publicity; papers relating to Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials schools, 1970-1979, largely correspondence with and feedback from individual schools; correspondence files concerning implementation of the scheme in schools participating in Phase 3 of the Project, 1970-1983, including correspondence of the Project Co-ordinator with the Area Co-ordinator, Area Local Education Authorities, and Area Schools; papers relating to Area Co-ordination, 1970-1982, including minutes and other meeting papers; correspondence and papers, 1968-1982, including material relating to the SCISP Advisory Group, financial and administrative matters, personnel files, the preparation of the course and teaching material, apparatus, correspondence with individual colleges of education requesting information and material, publicity, participants, the acceptability of the qualification, and SCISP overseas; papers relating to SCISP and other conferences, 1971-1979; papers relating to SCISP publications on Patterns (pupils' and technicians' manuals and teachers' guide), background books, Exploring Science and others such as SCISP leaflets and Newsletters , 1970-1983, including trial versions and supporting papers; papers on assessment, 1968-1984, including meeting papers of the SCISP Assessment Working Party and correspondence with the Associated Examining Board; papers on SCISP in Northern Ireland, 1969-1975, including feedback; papers on evaluation and feedback, 1970-[1982], including feedback from schools and pupils, data on their performance, and evaluation of course content; correspondence on acceptability of the SCISP O-level with professional and educational organisations, 1970-1984; papers on Mode 3 CSE based on SCISP, 1974-1982, including planning and reports; reports, 1977, of the Schools Council Syllabus Steering Groups on various subjects, relating to proposals for reform of sixth-form curricula and examinations and the replacement of A-levels with N- and F-levels; miscellaneous Schools Councils publications, 1971-1983, some including sections on Nuffield Science Projects; publications of the Schools Council's Project Technology, 1969-1971, offering guidance to schools wanting to include technology studies in their curriculum; publications, 1968-1973, and reports, 1971-1973, of Science 5/13, a project sponsored partly by the Schools Council and the Nuffield Foundation to assist teachers in helping children aged between five and thirteen to learn science; publications, 1965-1974, of miscellaneous bodies, including the British Petroleum Company Ltd, Nuffield Foundation Science Teaching Project, the Peak Park Planning Board and Unilever Ltd, on various scientific topics.

System of arrangement

Arranged in series as outlined above, with files relating to Phase I and Phase 2 trials schools arranged in alphabetical order by name of school and contents within the files generally in chronological order; files relating to Phase 3 schools are arranged by area, and within that alphabetically by school. Correspondence and papers are arranged alphabetically by correspondent or subject.

General Information

Name of creator

Biographical history

In 1969 a proposal for the development of an integrated science scheme for 13 to 16 year old pupils was accepted by the Schools Council and a development grant allocated. The impetus for this Project had been provided by the Nuffield Combined Science Scheme, designed for 11-13 year old pupils. Dr William C Hall and Brian Mowl were appointed to organise and direct the Project, which was based at the Centre for Science Education, Chelsea College. The Project 'brief' was to produce an integrated science course suitable for the top twenty percent of the ability range, leading to a special GCE O-level examination with double certification. The course required about one fifth of the school timetable for a period of three years.

The stated overall aims of the SCISP scheme were: to help the pupils develop intellectual skills which would be particularly useful if their careers were science based; to give priority to developing those skills over the teaching of facts; to develop and change pupil attitudes to science, society and their own education; and to encourage pupils to make critical and sceptical analyses of their own work and that of scientists and technologists.

Trials of the SCISP scheme began in September 1970 in 21 schools in the London, Birmingham and Northern Ireland regions, the Phase 1 trials schools. On successful application by SCISP for an increase in its grant, 10 more schools were able to join the project from September 1971, the Phase 2 trials schools. During Phases 1 and 2 schools tested trials versions of the SCISP course materials and pupils took examinations for the qualification. In September 1973 the trials period ended and Phase 3, the 'dissemination' phase, began. From that date the final version of the SCISP course was taught in hundreds of schools. For co-ordination of Phase 3, England, Wales and Northern Ireland were divided into 15 areas. A co-ordinator was appointed for each area to organize SCISP schools and liaise with the national project co-ordinator. The SCISP team was aided in administration, management, planning and development of the Project by a consultative committee, consisting mainly of persons involved in science education in universities, colleges, schools, the Department of Education and Science, industry and the Schools Council. The SCISP GCE O-level was administered by the Associated Examining Board for all boards. Successful candidates received two O-level grades, Integrated Science A, which focused on pattern finding, and Integrated Science B, which focused on problem-solving. The double certificates were to stand in lieu of the normal separate science grades. The examination included a teacher-assessed element which was regularly discussed and standardized, and a paper was prepared giving SCISP criteria for the teacher assessment of pupil attitudes and value judgements.

The SCISP course was called Patterns . An inventory of 86 patterns and concepts in science (contained in the Teacher's Handbook ) formed the basis of the course - the nearest equivalent to a syllabus. The course texts represented one way of teaching those patterns and concepts, and were based on three large-scale organizing patterns used by scientists: buildings blocks, energy, and interactions. Background books were also prepared to provide further, optional, reading to parts of the Patterns texts. 'Trials' versions of the Patterns manuals (for pupils, teachers and technicians) and background books were produced and tested by Phase 1 and 2 trials schools. These schools forwarded comments and criticisms on the texts to the SCISP team. The final revised versions of the Patterns manuals and background books were published in 1973 and 1974, and were used after the trials stage had ended. In the late 1970s work began on the preparation of a new set of SCISP books, Exploring Science . This series was aimed at pupils in the average to lower range of ability. In 1974 and 1975 a Project survey revealed that over three quarters of the participating schools had developed a CSE Mode 3 examination based on the philosophy and structure of SCISP. Further research by SCISP into the extent of, and reasons for, these developments led to the setting up of the SCISP 16+ Working Party in 1977. During the late 1970s and early 1980s the Working Party devised a Mode 3 CSE examination model based on the SCISP O-level, and incorporating a revised Patterns inventory.

A report outlining their ideas for an examination model was published in 1979.

Custodial history

The papers were transferred to King's College London Archives from the Centre for Science Education at Chelsea College.

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied from open material for research purposes only.

Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archives.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Finding aids

List available in reading room at King's College London Archives.

Related materials

King's College London Archives holds the records of the Nuffield Foundation Science Teaching Project, 1949-1993, based, like SCISP, at Chelsea College (Ref: CNU).

Related descriptions

Alternative identifier(s)

Place access points

People and Organisations

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Archivist's note

Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Source: list at King's College London Archives.

Accession area