School partnership: Worcester North
Published: 5 January 2022
During my time working with another SLE in Herefordshire, I found out about the Ogden Trust partnerships. She had belonged to a successful partnership and spoke highly of the benefits the partnership brought, the excellent CPD run by specialist staff and the great free resources given to support schools in developing their physics teaching and learning. I knew then that if there was ever a chance to belong to a partnership I wanted to be involved.
A year or so later, the chance happened when I was emailed about the possibility of a new partnership starting in the Worcester area, as the existing Worcestershire partnership was in its final year. I attended a meeting run by an Ogden regional rep and partnership hub leader to find out more.
At the time I was teaching all the science in my primary school, through an arrangement of PPA cover, but as of the following September I was to revert to my original role as a job share teacher and I knew CPD for staff would be vital to support them in this planned transition. I left the meeting interested in the opportunity of becoming the partnership hub leader for the new partnership and welcomed the time buy out payment that allows hub leaders to be released for a few hours once a week to help get the partnership off the ground.
With the support of the regional rep, I contacted local schools to try to generate interest in being part of the partnership. We managed to persuade four local secondary schools and five other primary schools to get involved. I then started my application and gathering information to understand my hub and its needs.
The aims of the partnership were to improve teacher knowledge and confidence in physics through the CPD and quality resources, to bring families back into schools and have children mixing again to aid transition events after the restrictions that had been in place with COVID.
Our application was successful, and I was delighted that we held our first face to face partnership meeting in October 2021. We met in an existing partnership’s Phiz Lab; it was great to meet other colleagues but also to see what a primary school could apply for in their second year of the partnership.
For our first collaborative event I had decided that we would all link up with one other school across phases to plan our own event. This has been very successful, with only one pair of schools finding their event needing to be postponed due to COVID. The other schools have enjoyed a range of extra physics experiences that have enhanced their understanding of physics and certainly made physics fun. Some teachers are even planning more events with their partner school and positive relationships with local schools have been fostered.
At Grimley and Holt Primary School we linked with a local first school and our children in Year 5 were joined by Year 4 children from Ombersley First School to take part in a Physics Christmas Taskmaster Challenge. All the children had to bring a physics photo that would be judged in a Taskmaster style. This photo had to be taken by the children and they had to be able to explain why they thought their photo demonstrated physics and impress the Taskmaster.
The children worked in mixed teams across both schools. Their first task was to come up with a team name using only the initial letters of their first and last names. This task got them talking early on and all staff were very impressed with how quickly they made new friends. They then enjoyed three more Taskmaster challenges: using the electrical resources provided to make a flashing nose for Rudolph; making a paper plane that flew the furthest as a quick gift for Santa to put into all the stockings he visits; and making the tallest freestanding Christmas tree out of spaghetti and marshmallows for the elves workshop.
“I really enjoyed working with new children and doing the funny challenges, my favourite was trying to make a reindeer with a red nose out of paper, card & lights. I also really liked playing football with the Ombersley children at break time.”
“I loved working with another school and meeting new people. Physics is pretty interesting for me, and the challenges were really fun! I especially liked how we were able to work as a team.”
“Everyone worked as a team, everyone made new friends, they were very playful and had a great personality. My favourite mission was picking photos of physics and I loved making the Christmas tree with spaghetti and marshmallows, all the sculptures looked sculptastic!”
Children from both schools are already asking “When can we do it again?” I am really looking forward to the exciting collaborative events we plan as part of the partnership going forward and in seeing the impact in school of using the new Phizzi light and sound kits after receiving our excellent CPD.
Feedback from all the partnership schools is also overwhelmingly positive. They can’t wait for our next meeting and are so glad they took the plunge and signed up to be part of it. I would certainly recommend being part of the Ogden family if you ever get the chance.
Partnership co-ordinator, Worcester North Partnership (2021- )
Teacher, Grimley and Holt Primary School
Five years of funding
A local cluster partnership can apply for up to £2,500 per academic year for the first three years and up to £1,000 in the fourth year for partnership activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. A further grant of up to £250 is available as partnerships move into their legacy phase. In the first year, partnership co-ordinators are awarded a time buy-out giving them half a day a week to build relationships across the cluster and establish the partnership.
An established collaboration partnership (ie a MAT) can apply for up to £2,000 per academic year for the first three years and £1,000 in the fourth year for activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. The partnership lead is eligible for up to two years of time buy-out to support the partnership
Teachers at all partnership schools can access CPD from Early Years Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 3. Partnerships work across primary and secondary schools to build links for transition and progression and are part of a supportive wider network of Ogden partnerships, advisers and experts.
Partnerships normally comprise four or more schools and can be a mix of maintained schools, academies, free schools and independent schools, across the primary and secondary sector. We welcome applications from any schools in England but are especially keen to work with new partnerships in rural and coastal areas, as well as schools based in areas of social deprivation.