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Published: 19 March 2020

Last week, Moorpark Junior School – hub for the Ogden Stoke North Partnership – officially opened their new Phiz Lab with a Stoke oatcake breakfast celebration of science!

Science ambassadors from across the partnership attended the event with their families, to see the new Lab in action. Pupils have been working with local not-for-profit organisation, Wavemaker to create quotes and artwork to bring the new lab to life. Their creations were proudly on display showcasing science with links to careers and other subjects in the curriculum. Lucy Holdcroft, science subject leader at Moorpark, has been integral to supporting the children and staff with the design and creation of the new Phiz Lab space. “It is teachers with a passion for the subject they lead that make a difference for so many children,” says the Headteacher and Ogden Trust Stoke North Partnership lead Karen Peters.

“There are loads of cool experiments that you can do in the new lab. I really like having the additional space – it was a bit messy to do experiments in the normal classrooms.”
CJ, Year 5

The Lab can be found in a previously empty classroom, that has been transformed into a dedicated space for science. The Lab includes high-quality resources, such as a class set of light gates, anatomical models, skeletons, microscopes, and access to all types of equipment for the children to make their own choices from in every lesson. Children also have lab tables where they can do scientific enquiries.

“Just being able to come in and choose the equipment they want to use will make a difference,” enthuses Karen. “It’s a brilliant space. We hope the new Phiz Lab will not only raise the profile of science at Moorpark but it will also serve as a hub for all schools in the Ogden partnership and the wider city; a space to bring classes to share science learning and a focused meeting space for a variety of staff CPD and networking events.”

The Lab, which is supported by a grant from The Ogden Trust, will be opened up to other schools and for teacher networking sessions; following its official opening it was immediately put to good use with a CPD networking session for science subject leaders from around the area exploring the concept of science capital.

“It was a wonderful treat for me to attend the opening ceremony of the Stoke North Partnership’s new Phiz Lab at Moorpark Junior School,” says Ogden Programme Manager Paul Sapple. “The pupil science ambassadors were eager and excited to talk to me about the science they’ve been doing in school, and how much they’re looking forward to making full use of the new lab space. It was great to see them so enthusiastically engaged in science, so equipped to think like scientists, to ask questions, and to share their enthusiasm with all of us there – their parents, their teachers, and visitors from other partnership schools.”

“Talking with people from around the partnership and the ‘science across the city’ project, reminded me of the vital role that dedicated and passionate teachers play in delivering the Trust’s mission of bringing physics to life for young people,” concludes Paul.

Karen Peters is co-lead of the citywide ‘science across the city’ project, which is funded through the Stoke-on-Trent’s Opportunity Area initiative. Alongside a package of quality CPD for every primary school in the city, fifteen excellent science subject leaders, known as ‘science influencers’, are working with fellow teacher colleagues in each other’s schools to help raise the profile and achievement of primary science; the activities include professional development, curriculum development and supporting teachers to visit each other’s classrooms to share and develop pedagogy and practice.

“In addition to this direct work with teachers, another key aim of the project is to improve the school’s access to quality STEM partners and organisations,” explains Karen. “The project provides weekly updates on events, resources and STEM offers, and the teachers know they can rely on the links rather than sifting through the masses of information that schools receive on a daily basis. Working with such a fabulous partner as The Ogden Trust is a perfect example of Science Across the City ‘connecting the dots’,” concludes Karen.

Moorpark Junior School pupils in the new Phiz Lab
Moorpark Junior School pupils in the new Phiz Lab

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