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Partnership in action

Published: 22 December 2020

“We feel this partnership is going to be really beneficial to us. It has been so positive already and we’ve only been running for the term.”
Heather Madsen, Partnership Co-ordinator, Lowestoft South Partnership

Applications are currently open for new Ogden school partnerships starting in September 2021. The partnerships programme offers five years of funding, support, opportunities and teacher CPD to schools that are committed to working together to enhance physics teaching and learning.

Teacher CPD and raising students’ science capital and career aspirations are at the heart of the school partnerships programme; partnership funding for enrichment and extra-curricular activities adds another dimension to the teaching and learning of physics, encouraging learners to take physics further.

Earlier this month, partnership co-ordinators from our new 2020 partnerships gathered (online) to ‘meet’ the Ogden team and counterparts from other schools. The virtual meeting provided an opportunity to better understand the partnership programme and to learn how to get the most out of the opportunities and resources available.

Our enthusiastic cohort shared ideas and initiatives they have already introduced within their schools. Heather Madsen, partnership co-ordinator for the new Lowestoft South Partnership, gave an insight into why they joined the programme and the results they are already seeing after just a term.

“The area we serve and the communities we work in are highly disadvantaged,” says Heather. “Statistically children are not going on to universities, they are not going on to careers that employ people with a science background; and the families locally do not feel that their children are capable of careers within a science-led profession.

“As a partnership we already doing a great deal of work around promoting science-based careers; stressing the importance of science for both girls and boys, and trying to get rid of lots of the myths and stereotypes.

“We have already held our first virtual event,” continues Heather. “A careers fair showcasing films from people working in science-based jobs. The films featured a diverse array of careers including Earth observation scientist, physics teacher and scientific machine coordinator, amongst many other roles.

Pupils listen to an online science careers talk

“In each film our featured person explained what they do for their job, how they got there, what they needed to learn and how they use science in their day to day work. More than 450 Year 5 and 6 pupils took part in the event from six schools; the children have been so motivated by it. Pupils had the opportunity to further research the roles and to discuss other possible career choices.

“As well as this careers focus and science capital approach with our children – making them believe they can be scientists – we are making sure that we upskill teachers so that they can confidently engage with the delivery of science in their classrooms,” says Heather. “Many of our primary teachers are not science specialists and joining the partnership programme has given us access to really high-quality CPD and given a boost to school science resources – we are also able to access advice and expertise from people across the Ogden Trust network.

“The partnership has been a real eye-opener with our children,” adds Heather. “We have already gone from pupil’s drawing ‘mad scientists’ at the start of term to them actually now drawing pictures of themselves as scientists; pictures of women as scientists instead of the stereotypical crazy male scientists with glasses and curly hair! The transformation is happening already – it has been fantastic!”

“We feel this partnership is going to be really beneficial to us,” concludes Heather. “It has been so positive already and we’ve only been running for the term.

Applications for new partnerships open annually between September and February. Visit our partnership pages to find out more.

Partnerships normally comprise four to ten 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.

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