We are a partnership of four small, rural primary schools in North Norfolk. We decided to make parent engagement a priority for our first year of partnership in 2018/19 with a series of events throughout the year.
Two of our partnership schools celebrated science and space with their own individual school activities then joined forces for a learning together day. Throughout the week, physics-focused and cross-curricular activities took place, including stargazing with hot chocolate and bedtime stories, planetarium visits and egg-stronaut challenges.
We wanted to create an immersive cross-curriculum week of space science to develop the children’s interest in physics. We hoped to build our pupil’s physics identity, confidence and inspire enthusiasm, as well as engaging more with families and our local communities. The event generated so much positivity and enthusiasm; feedback from parents and pupils demonstrated increased awareness of STEM subjects and the role of physics in everyday life.
Children at our other two partnership schools were given the opportunity to explore forces at one of our stunning North Norfolk beaches and through Lego activities and workshops within school. Air and water resistance, gravity and friction were investigated through a wide range of activities such as kite flying, playing a range of ball and parachute games and Lego boat, car and bridge building. We were very pleased to see so many parents accept our invitation to an afternoon of STEM challenges with their children, competitively building paper towers, parachutes and aeroplanes.
Our partnership has had a very successful first year thanks to the hard work and engagement of staff at all four schools. It has allowed us to expose our children to a wide variety of exciting science opportunities, allow them to see how science is relevant to their lives and given parents confidence to engage in their children’s science learning, while having fun! It has been wonderful to see an increase in the number of children proudly bringing in examples of science they have done at home. We hope that this is going some way to improving children’s science capital and that we have sparked an interest in some budding young physicists of the future.
We have a number of exciting plans in the pipeline for our second partnership year and have welcomed two new primary schools into our partnership. Due to the success of the Space Week, we plan to role it out at our four other schools next year, including giving some of the children the opportunity to attend space themed workshops at Norwich Science Festival in October. We hope to further develop the link between the teaching of literacy and science through using story books as a stimulus for science investigations, developing our science libraries and holding science reading cafes. We also look forward to exploring how a Phiz Lab can be adapted and incorporated into our small village primary schools.
Katie Pugh, Science Lead West Raynham and Little Snoring Primary Academies
Vicki Lucking, North Norfolk Coast Partnership Co-ordinator