Our History

Learn about how the Salters' Institute has led on innovation within science education.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1918
The Salters' Institute's Timeline

The Salters' Institute is founded by the Salters' Company

The Salters’ Institute of Industrial Chemistry was founded by the Salters’ Company at the end of the First World War to help young men continue their chemistry studies that had been interrupted by the conflict.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1918

Sir Martin Forster is appointed as the first Director

Sir Martin Forster was chosen in parts for his achievements as an organic chemist and in part because he had been outspoken on the need for high quality science and education that also met the needs of the chemical industry.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1918

Postdoctoral fellowships

To encourage the best science graduates to pursue a career in the chemical and chemical engineering industries, the Salters’ Institute initially financed a programmes of post-doctoral fellowships. This began a strong relationship with educational institutions and chemical industry, which continues today. Between 1918 and 1975, 130 postdoctoral fellowships were awarded.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1922

Professor Arthur Smithells is appointed as Director

Between 1922 and 1937, Fellow of the Royal Society, Arthur Smithells, was Director of the Salters' Institute.

1928

Grants-in-aid

In the early 1930s, small ‘grants-in-aid’ were given to working young men and women who wanted to attend evening classes to improve their chemical knowledge and career prospects.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1937

Sir Robert Robinson is appointed as Director

Between 1937 and 1949, Fellow of the Royal Society, Sir Robert Robinson, was Director of the Salters' Institute.

1945

Postgraduate scholarships

The Salters’ Institute introduces postgraduate scholarships to its programme of scholarships. By 1975, 80 postgraduate scholarships has been awarded.

1949

Sir Alfred Egerton is appointed as Director

Between 1949 and 1959, Royal Society Fellow, Sir Alfred Egerton, was Director of the Salters' Institute.

1958

Arthur Ubbelohde is appointed as Director

Between 1959 and 1975, Royal Society Fellow, Arthur Ubbelohde, was Director of the Salters' Institute.

1960s

The Salters' Institute expands its support for school chemistry education

By the 1960s, the chemical and pharmaceuticals industries in the UK were competitive and strong and the demand for well-qualified chemists was high. To encourage A Level chemistry students to take the subject at university, the Institute expanded its support for school chemistry education.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1960

Lecture series for A Level chemistry students

The Salters’ Institute ran a series of lectures aimed at inspiring A Level chemistry students to study chemistry at university. The lectures were given by eminent chemists, one of which was given by inspirational chemist and educator, Professor of Chemistry at University of Sheffield George Porter. Professor Porter went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1967 for his part in studying fast chemical reactions triggered by very short pulses of energy.

1961

Salters' Conferences for School Science Teachers

The Salters’ Institute launched five-day, university-based conferences for school science teachers to give them the opportunity to find out about the latest developments in science and to come together to discuss new teaching techniques. The first Salters’ Conference for School Science Teachers was held at the University of Manchester.

1967

Business management fellowships

The Salters’ Institute offered business management fellowships to recent high-quality chemistry and chemical engineering graduates to encourage and fast track them to executive careers in industry.

1967

Science library grants

The Salters' Institute started giving grants to buy books for science libraries in selected schools.

1968

Bursaries for women following a career break

Between 1968 and 1972, the Institute awarded six £500 bursaries to women who wanted to resume their careers in industry or science education after a career break.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1975

Professor Richard Norman is appointed as Director

Between 1975 and 1993, Professor Richard Norman was Director of the Salters’ Institute. He held the Salters’ Conference for School Science Teachers at the University of York with the theme “the teaching of chemistry in the context of its role in society”.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1975

Bursaries for chemistry teachers to attend the INSET course at the University of York

The Salters’ Institute together with ICI and Shell, provided bursaries for the ‘less well-off majority’ of chemistry teachers to attend the University of York’s INSET course. The course was aimed at experienced chemistry teachers wanting to refresh and update their knowledge and was created by Richard Norman and David Waddington in 1974.

1978
The Salters' Institute's Timeline

Graduate Awards

Since 1980, Graduate Awards have been given annually to final-year undergraduates studying Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in universities across the UK. Award winners show the potential to be future change makers in chemistry or chemical engineering.

1980

Scheme to distribute chemical laboratory equipment

Between 1980 and 2003, the Salters' Institute ran a scheme to distribute chemical laboratory equipment, discarded by companies, to schools as free gifts – basic glassware, thermometers and test tubes. The scheme was so successful that the Institute, with support from the Nuffield Foundation, established other distribution centres at several other universities across the country.

1982 & 1983

The Salters' Institute creates two films with the ICI

The Salters’ Institute sponsors ICI to create two films on the wide range of careers open to students with chemistry qualifications titled ‘Why Chemistry?’ aimed at 13-14 year olds in 1982, and ‘The Excitement of Chemistry’ aimed at 16-17 year olds in 1983.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1983

The Salters' Approach

The Salters’ Institute began working on curriculum development. This change, instigated by David Waddington, Professor of Chemical Education at the University of York, was to bring about a much larger concept – a range of new science courses at GCSE and A Level based on teaching science in context. This is known as ‘The Salters’ Approach’.

1988

Salters' Advanced Chemistry A Level trailed

1990 Salters A Level chemistry course trialled in 24 schools, and in 1992 354 students took the first A-level examination.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1991

Festivals of Chemistry launch

In 1991, the first Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry to inspire pupils aged 11 to 14 through practical chemistry were held in universities around the UK and Ireland. Initially, these biennial events were the showcase for school chemistry clubs to demonstrate a project they had undertaken in school. The winners of regional heats took part in a Grant Final.

1993

Teacher Awards

Between 1993 and 2004, the Teacher Award was presented annually to a teacher in the UK who had made the greatest contribution to the teaching of chemical sciences to any age group within the range of 5-18 years.

1993

Dr David Harrison appointed as Director

Between 1993 and 2015, Dr David Harrison was Director of the Salters’ Institute.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1995

Salters' Advanced Chemistry A Level Award

Since 1995, A Level Awards have been presented annually to candidates who have achieved the highest marks in the Salters’ Advanced Chemistry A Level.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1995

City & Guilds Awards

Between 1995 and 2021, the Salters’ Institute awarded the top students in Chemical Process Level 3 of the Process Technology Scheme.

1997

Jerwood Prize

Between 1997 and 2005, the Jerwood Prize recognised individuals between the ages of 27 and 35 who showed the most promise of achieving a prominent position in industry, and have already made a mark as a chemist or chemical engineer.

1997

Todd-Salters' Scholars

Between 1997 and 2021, Todd-Salters scholarships are awarded to outstanding undergraduate members of Christ’s College, Cambridge, reading Natural Sciences or Chemical Engineering.

1998
The Salters' Institute's Timeline

Salters Horners Advanced Physics A Level trailed in UK

Following development of the Salters Horners Advanced Physics (SHAP) in 1997, between 1998 and 2000, SHAP was trailed in 50 schools across the UK. The Horners Company were so impressed by what the Salters’ Company was doing for UK science education that it decided to support the advancement of physics project.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

1998

Chemistry Camps launch

The first Salters’ Chemistry Camp was held at the University of Birmingham. Students aged 15 were given the opportunity to experience life as a chemistry student in a university environment. Chemistry Camps ran for 18 years, with around 9,500 students taking part in 185 Camps at universities across the UK.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

2000

The Millennium Lectures launched

A series of lectures were given to mark both the millennium and the bicentenary of the RI. The lectures were given by eminent scientists.

2000

Salters-Horners Advanced Physics A Level Award

Since 2000, A Level Awards have been presented annually to candidates who have achieved the highest marks in the Salters-Horners Advanced Physics.

2002

Technician Award

Since 2022, the Technician Award has recognised and supported Technician Teams who make a large positive impact on their students, and look to offer continuous improvements to their students in the future.

2003

Twenty First Century Science GSCEs trailed in England and Wales

Twenty First Century Science, an innovative range of GCSE science courses for students aged 14-16 are trailed in 75 schools across the UK in 2003. The first examinations took place in 2004 and in 2006, Twenty First Century Science courses were available nationwide.

2003

Development of Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology A Level

The Salters-Nuffield A-level Biology is trialled in 50 schools across the UK.

2005

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology A Level Award

Since 2005, awards have been presented annually to the candidates who have achieved the highest marks in the Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology examinations.

2007

Arkwright Scholars

Since 2007, Arkwright Scholarships have been administered by the Smallpeice Trust, these scholarships provide a small financial award to promising Year 11 engineering students.

2007

Centenary Awards

Since 2007, the Salters’ Centenary Awards has recognised exceptional chemists and chemical engineers starting their careers in industry.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

2015

Chemistry Camps launch in India

With funding from Dr Yusuf Hamied, 30 Salters’ Chemistry Camps were planned in around 25 locations across India; reaching some 1,650 14-year old students.

2018
The Salters' Institute's Timeline

Centenary Year

The Salters' Institute Celebrates its centenary year in 2018.

2020

Festivals of Chemistry 2020 are cancelled

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 72 Festivals of Chemistry are cancelled for the first time since they began in 1991.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

2021

Festivals of Chemistry move online

In 2021, Festivals of Chemistry moved online as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Salters' Institute's Timeline

2021

Chemistry Club launches

The Salters' Institute reimagine their historic Chemistry Club resource for the modern day, and launch an innovative, online learning platform for 11-14 year olds.

Curriculum Projects

Twenty First Century Science GSCE Courses

Twenty First Century Science is an innovative range of GCSE science courses studied by students aged 14-16. The course has been available across the UK since 2006 and was developed collaboratively between the Salters’ Institute, the University of York, the Nuffield Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

The course aims to develop scientific literacy for all students. It explains key concepts and develops subject knowledge to enable students to better engage with scientific debate. It also gives a solid foundation for future study in science.

 

Salters’ A Level Curricula

A Levels are a programme of study that cover the last two years of secondary education, (aged 16-18) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

Salters’ Advanced Chemistry

Central to the Salters’ course is the philosophy that chemistry takes place in the world around us. This is a context-led programme that was first examined in 1991.

Students are introduced to the content through Chemical Ideas and Storylines. The Chemical Storylines cover a wide range of contexts. The current student resources integrate the Storylines and Ideas into one book for AS and either one or two books for the two years of the A level course. The Chemical Ideas are integrated, which means that the same concept can be revisited and developed through a number of different Chemical Storylines. The course has been designed so that students’ understanding of chemical concepts develops gradually, giving them the chance to consolidate their learning before moving on to more advanced knowledge.

 

 

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

The Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology (SNAB) course offers an innovative approach to the teaching and learning of biology through real-life contexts.

The course is supported by a comprehensive set of teaching, learning and support materials which embrace a student-centred approach with an emphasis on active learning through a wide range of activities. Topics covered in the course each start with a context storyline or contemporary issue that is related to the modern world and the application of biology. Edexcel examines SNAB as the context-led approach within the Edexcel GCE Biology specification.

 

 

Salters Horners Advanced Physics

The Salters Horners Advanced Physics (SHAP) course was developed in 1996, in collaboration with the Horners’ Company. It is a context-led course which emphasises the teaching of physics through real life situations. There are eleven context areas in total.

Topics covered in the course start with either a storyline or contemporary issue that is related to the modern world and the application of physics. Physics principles are introduced to help understanding and contextualise theory within the storyline. Edexcel examines SHAP as the context-led approach within the Edexcel GCE Physics specification. Since 2008, Edexcel has operated a single assessment scheme for SHAP students and for students following other routes to AS and A-level Physics.

 

  • 2,630

    schools studied the Salters' Advanced Chemistry A Level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2020.

  • 4,335

    schools studied the Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology A Level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2020.

  • 3,980

    schools studied the Salters Horners Advanced Physics A Level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2020.

Best Evidence Science Teaching

The Salters’ Institute has been proud to fully fund the BEST project developed by UYSEG since 2016. The IOP is now a co-funder of BEST, having supported the project since 2021.

Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST) are resources for teachers of lower secondary school students (aged 11-14). These resources draw on the best available research evidence on teaching and learning in school science, and provide teachers with a practical means of using research evidence in their teaching.  BEST incorporates research on promoting effective learning in science, on assessment, on practical work, on teaching difficult ideas in science, and on engaging students with the science they are studying.  BEST provides a high level of teacher support and is now regularly used in the delivery of teacher training.

The resources are freely available for any educator to use.

BEST RESOURCES

For any queries or to learn more, please contact [email protected].