CLEAPSS DT - Supporting practical work in science, technology and art

What is CLEAPSS?

CLEAPSS was founded in 1965 by the, then, Greater London Council in order to promote high quality, effective practical work in science. CLEAPSS has been doing this continuously for nearly 50 years. Very quickly after being founded, other local educational authorities requested access to CLEAPSS services on behalf of their schools. CLEAPSS became a consortium of these local educational authorities and at present the consortium includes all but two of the local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. CLEAPSS is, therefore, at its core a local authority organisation and only local authority members can be represented on its Governing Body. All maintained primary and secondary schools in member authorities are members of CLEAPSS as are the majority of independent schools, a significant number of colleges and many overseas schools.
CLEAPSS is funded by:
  • subscription from its members (which generates the bulk of the income),
  • income generated by training,
  • income generated by small and large project work, including a science or D&T Department H&S reviews, H&S reviews of school texts and equipment as well as advising Awarding Bodies on practical examination questions.
  • In addition CLEAPSS has contributed to many government-funded national initiatives.
Local authorities subscribe on behalf of their schools, and, since the 1990s, independent schools, colleges, and overseas schools have been able to subscribe directly. Academies and Free Schools can also subscribe directly although most choose to do so via a local authority. CLEAPSS is independent of all commercial or non-commercial organisations and, as such, its advice and guidance is completely impartial.

The introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974 had a significant impact on the teaching of practical subjects. CLEAPSS quickly engaged with this in order to support schools to maintain their practical work. As well as science, CLEAPSS expanded its remit to include D&T and recently art & design, and now provides model risk assessments (MRAs) for practical activities in these subjects for both primary and secondary schools and colleges. Membership of CLEAPSS enables an employer to discharge its duties under the 1975 H&SW Act and its subsequent Regulations, in respect of these subject areas.

In addition to H&S guidance CLEAPSS provides advice on ways to carry out practical activities so that they work, are safe, and are effective at supporting learning. CLEAPSS has facilities at its offices on the campus of Brunel University in Uxbridge to enable it to test equipment and try out new ideas for practical work. As a result CLEAPSS staff have developed a wealth of experience devising and evaluating practical activities and equipment.

CLEAPSS is a major training provider delivering over 200 one-day CPD courses for science and D&T teachers and technicians each year. In addition we run a 12 day technician training programme which can contribute towards an NVQ qualification or form part of a Technician Apprenticeship.

CLEAPSS advice and guidance, contained in publications such as Hazcards and the Recipe book, is recognised by Ofsted and the HSE as the definitive basis for safe practice for practical work in schools.

CLEAPSS is regularly consulted by government departments including the DFE, DEFRA and the Home Office.

CLEAPSS publications can be obtained by members through the CLEAPSS website

Further information about the structure, organisation and operation of CLEAPSS can be found in the Services area of our website.