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A FOCUS on physics

Published: 18 February 2020

Since relocating to London in 2017, the Ogden Trust has been forging links with local schools and community groups in the North Kensington area. The Trust has invited local primary teachers in for training and provided resources to support physics learning; the Trust is also holding a weekly homework club to support local physics A-level students.

One of the organisations that the Trust has started working with is The ClementJames Centre – a local charity that empowers the community to release its potential in one of London’s most disadvantaged areas. One of their strands of work is children and young people’s education and the Trust has provided forces resources, training and a grant to support their physics FOCUS weeks with local primary schools.

These specially-designed study weeks with partner schools are designed to improve social skills, teamwork and confidence; the children work in small, mixed-ability teams to encourage collaboration and communication as they take on a range of physics challenges, activities and presentations. As well as covering key curriculum areas agreed with the schools, the FOCUS weeks give the children an opportunity to learn about university and to take part in science-related day trip.

“Our physics FOCUS weeks at the start of this year have had a theme of fairground engineering,” explains Centre Leader and Primary FOCUS Manager, Joanie Woodcock. “We have been able to incorporate the forces resources into our carousel of activities and the children have loved the friction investigations.

“The pupils have really enjoyed testing out the toy cars on the different surfaces and building the ramps while making sure it was a fair test. The feedback from the students showed that they were really engaged in the activity and excited to do the experiment and to make predictions to see whose surface would make the car the quickest!

“The students were asking a lot of questions around physics and how this might come into play when designing roller coasters and testing speed and friction,” adds Joanie. “We have been running our FOCUS programme for over 10 years and have impacted the lives of thousands of young people in North Kensington. The Ogden grant is a valuable contribution to the programme’s ongoing plans,” concludes Joanie.

“Relocating to London from Cambridge was an important move for the Trust.” explains Clare Harvey, Chief Executive. “We are committed to the national picture for physics teaching and learning but feel it is really important to contribute locally too – especially as a family Trust with connections to the area. Being able to support local schools and community groups is key to being part of the community as well as an opportunity to learn from the great work they are doing.”

The Trust is building links with local primary schools and starting a monthly drop-in after school on different science topics for any primary teachers who are interested. The first of these will take place on Wednesday 4 March, focusing on running a science week. Please email if you work in a North Kensington primary school and would like to know more.

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