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This presentation offers a critical analysis of contemporary science education and the values on which it rests. Science education wrestles with two competing priorities: the need to educate the future citizen about science; and the need to provide the basic knowledge necessary for future scientists. It is argued that the evidence would suggest that it is the latter goal that predominates – a goal which exists at least, in part, in conflict with the needs of the majority who will not continue with science post compulsory education. The argument is advanced that there are four essential elements to any science education – the development of conceptual understanding; the improvement of cognitive reasoning; improving students’ understanding of the epistemic nature of science; and affording an affective experience that is both positive and engaging. The decline in students’ interest in school science is, in part, due to the emphasis on science for future scientists. This presentation will aim to show how a focus on ideas, evidence and argument can offer an education that is more appropriate to the needs of the future citizen and the values of contemporary youth.