School partnership: Lowestoft

14 August 2020

Our partnership is diverse, ranging from large urban to small rural primary schools; it is a true mix of educational challenges, however one of the greatest is pupil aspiration. We want to give our youngest children the experiences that will inspire them to believe they are a scientist and take that message home.

To do this we needed to continue enthusing children, engaging parents and supporting each other.

So far this year (2019/20), we have inspired 234 of our youngest children (aged 5 to 7) through a science demonstration with a theatrical edge. The feedback from staff and children was overwhelmingly positive. Although we can sometimes be fearful of boiling science down into a show, the children didn’t see it that way and certainly came away wanting more. Engaging the children – yes, it achieved that – but it also gave them the confidence to ask why and how.

We are looking at a virtual reality approach to our space topic across the partnership. Initially we will work with an external provider who will provide the VR headsets – the whole class will blast off into space, piloting their research vessels around planets and moons, learning about the solar system. If this immersive, interactive approach to learning works, we will look to invest in partnership headsets for a more sustainable model, ideally sourcing additional grants or industry support for the initiative.

As part of our partnership, we are building links with East Coast College. The College has a state-of-the-art STEM centre which is tied in with local industry such as boat design and building, and the offshore energy sector which is very relevant in Lowestoft. This link will involve careers events and visits to the College by the pupil school councils at each partnership school. The visits will allow our young pupils to experience the college environment and they will then feedback to the rest of their schools.

Our Ogden partnership is also very involved with a Lowestoft schools/industry partnership initiative which will link schools with a business partner to develop year-long projects designed to highlight the range of opportunities that exist in our region. We hope this will really inspire the pupils in this area as they understand more about the real-world application of their studies.

Over the past year, staff from the partnership schools have taken part in shared training looking at teaching forces. The training was inspiring, and the resource kits have been incredibly well received and put to good use. We have been sharing ideas and resources including knowledge maps and vocabulary banks; discussing progression in working scientifically and how to monitor and track progress; and we have been sharing learning outcomes and moderating work together.

The overriding success of the Lowestoft Partnership is collaboration and we very much look forward to working together when we resume normal school activities.

Louise Spall
Lowestoft Partnership (2016–)
Headteacher, Somerleyton Primary School
(April 2020)

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