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Advice, resources and announcements for schools, students and parents during COVID-19 pandemic

Educators across the UK are now dealing with new challenges as schools and universities partially reopen and face continued disruption to teaching and learning for an indefinite period. One of the priorities of the Society is to support Biology education through primary, secondary, further and higher education.

We will regularly update this page with useful resources and advice for students and parents, along with announcements from the educating sector. 

During this uncertain time we will:

  • Summarise education announcements from UK governments and awarding bodies
  • Work with our policy partners in science organisations, government and awarding bodies to seek the best advice and advocate the best outcomes for teachers and students
  • Collate and share advice for students and parents looking towards next academic year
  • Highlight useful resources for teachers and students through our monthly BioEd newsletter for those teaching 5 – 19 biology
  • Disseminate resources from our networks (special interest groups, committees and member organisations) that may be useful for students, parents or teachers facilitating remote learning.
  • Make existing RSB resources freely available for students and parents, to ensure students remain engaged with biology. 

Latest education news and policy engagement from the RSB


RSB comments on UK schools to close amid COVID-19 pandemic

All schools are to close in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales by the end of this week | 20 March 2020

Scottish pupils receive results following exams cancelled due to COVID-19

Students receive calculated grades for National 4 and 5, Higher and Advanced Higher grades in Scotland  | 4 August 2020

A level results awarded after exams cancelled due to COVID-19

Students in England, Northern Ireland and Wales received A level qualification results | 13 August 2020

GCSE results awarded and revised A level results shared with schools after exam results U-turns

Students in England, Northern Ireland and Wales received their GCSE qualification results | 20 August 2020

The Royal Society of Biology regularly responds to consultations and calls for evidence from government and regulatory bodies. During this period of uncertainty we have focused on health and safety of UK pupils, students and staff, how to support students to progress to the next stage of education, and policies needed to ensure bioscience education in 2020/21 and beyond is not detrimentally impacted by ongoing disruptions due to the pandemic.

April 2020

RSB responded to Ofqual consultation on exceptional arrangements for GCSE and A level grading and assessment in 2020

May 2020

RSB responded to Ofqual consultation on extraordinary framework for vocational and technical qualifications

Learned Societies Group submitted a joint letter to the Scottish Government COVID-19 Education Recovery Group on a reduction in examinable course content for 2020/21

June 2020

RSB responded to the Ofqual consultation on an autumn exam series in England

Learned Societies Group with the Royal Society of Edinburgh have jointly responded to the Education and Skills Committee on re-opening of schools in Scotland.

RSB submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee on the impact of COVID-19 on education and children's services. 

RSB submitted written evidence to the Welsh Children, Young People and Education Committee inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children and young people in Wales.

RSB sent a letter to Northern Ireland's Committee for Education on the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on bioscience education in Northern Ireland.

Joint ASE, IOP, RS, RSB and RSC letter to Robert Halfon, chair of education select committee, and Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for education on issues for 2020-21 Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) due to COVID-19 disruptions

July 2020

RSB responded to Ofqual's consultation on GCSE and A level exams and assessment in 2021

August 2020

RSB will be drafting a response to SQA on the proposals for examinations in 2021.

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Free resources from the RSB


The Biologist

To assist during the pandemic, schools and colleges can access our digital archive for free until 1st October 2020.

Teachers can sign up and request access online via our publishers, and also access other magazines including Chemistry World, BBC History Magazine, BBC Science Magazine and The World Today.

Gopher Science Lab

Our Gopher science lab project was designed so that primary and secondary students, could deliver science activities to primary pupils.

The activities in resource booklet one can be carried out with everyday household objects, with the booklet providing instructions, a short explanation and questions that you may wish to ask a primary age student. Our Gopher Science online training is now free for parents to access for six months, and we have produced a parent explainer describing how the booklet and training can be used.

The Gopher Science Lab activity booklet is also available in Welsh (part 1 and part 2)

Other RSB online resources

Check out our student information webpage about careers and school competitions.

All our existing primary, secondary and careers resources for teachers can also be accessed via our web page for teachers.

Our Outreach and Engagement team pages contain a variety of free activity resources for suggested age ranges

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Online resources from our member organisations and other science organisations


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