For the past two years, the Trust has provided funding for projects at the National Space Academy to support and develop outstanding physics teaching. A National Space Academy masterclass fund has been established to provide bursaries for student masterclasses so that more schools can access the programme, and a CPD programme has been developed to train PGCE students on how to use space contexts to teach the physics curriculum. An Ogden teacher fellowship has been operating at Gateway Community College in Leicester for the past two years to further support physics teaching locally.
In the academic year 2017–18, the funding for physics masterclasses school bursaries was continued. Twenty-five masterclasses have been delivered already this academic year and a further 12 will take place in the spring and summer terms. So far, 1,171 students have taken part in these inspiring sessions.
The Trust has also continued to fund CPD sessions delivered by the National Space Academy to PGCE students. These sessions embed the Academy’s approaches into teacher training, so the students can go on to use these methods when they are in the classroom. By the end of 2018, the Academy will have completed over 20 of these CPD sessions working with around 500 trainee teachers at 15 different universities; there is already a waiting list of universities who wish to include the session as part of their PGCE courses in 2018-19.
The National Space Academy delivers its programmes to schools across the UK through its network of Lead Educators: outstanding full-time subject specialist teachers seconded to the Academy from their schools for a number of days each year. These teachers help the Academy to deliver workshops and CPD sessions and are a massive asset in reaching more students and in keeping the Academy’s content relevant. Thanks to funding from the Trust, the Academy has been able to recruit and train four new Lead Educators who have joined our already active team in delivering school activities for students and training sessions for teachers. These new Lead Educators have already allowed the Academy to reach an additional 145 students and will help the Academy to deliver more programmes in their local areas.
In addition to funding three established strands of the National Space Academy programme, The Ogden Trust has also agreed to fund a new element, based on a model developed by Ogden Teacher Fellow Ali Panju, who is based at the National Space Academy on secondment from teaching A-level physics. This model takes the context-based learning methodology of the National Space Academy and builds it into three separate interventions for the same group of students, focusing on building confidence and engagement with physics. The model was successfully piloted with a school as part of the first year of Ali’s fellowship, and this year it will be trialled at three more schools in England to look into the possibility of scaling up the delivery of this model using the Academy’s Lead Educators. These pilot sessions will provide the Academy and the Trust with information on the challenges of rolling out a multiple-intervention programme at schools with a need for physics support, as well as on the potential impact of delivering such a programme.
Dr Kierann Shah
General Manager, National Space Academy