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Partnership planning

Published: 15 April 2020

Following a hugely successful application period for new Ogden school partnerships, we are pleased to confirm that 32 have been successful and will be officially joining the Ogden network from September 2020.

“We are delighted to have new partnerships starting across England,” says Head of School Partnerships, Wendy Cox. “We had some really inspiring applications that demonstrated the schools’ commitment to engaging their students and making physics matter, from primary through to A-levels.

“We appreciate that these new partnerships are now working on their plans in unusual circumstances, often working remotely and holding virtual meetings. We have pulled together some useful tips, tricks and ideas from some of our regional reps that will hopefully help you prepare for an exciting first year as an Ogden partnership.”

Share the responsibility

Take some time early in the partnership planning process to make sure that the teachers from all of the schools understand what it means to be in a partnership and who The Ogden Trust is! Your regional rep should be able to provide (or give) a presentation on the Trust and answer any questions that may emerge.

Although each partnership will be led by a partnership co-ordinator at the hub school, it is important to make sure that all the schools contribute and buy-in to partnership plans and that the teachers feel that they have a role to play within the partnership (other than just being the one who arranges the buses for events organised by the co-ordinator).

But – if you are the co-ordinator, don’t forget, you may well have fellowship time to put the groundwork in – enthuse your colleagues, don’t burden them. Over time, it might work for each school to take a lead on one partnership event each year.

“One of our partnerships has been really successful in setting roles for different people and making sure that each school is doing a similar thing at the same time so can share what’s happening together.”
Lorraine Coghill, Ogden Regional Rep

Plan ahead

Get meetings in the diary now for the forthcoming school year so people can plan for attendance; if you are hosting the meeting you can plan to use some of your partnership budget to provide tea, coffee and biscuits; hopefully this will help people to feel relaxed and able to contribute.

Right now, many teachers are focusing on how to get through the next (unusual) term, but if you can think further ahead try to create a longer-term strategy for your partnership –where would you like to be at the end of your first year? What about after two years? How can you build a partnership that will be sustainable in the future?

“Some of my partnerships have focused on subject specific CPD one year, assessment and feedback strategies another; planning and embedding science across the curriculum, etc. It just gives the partnerships an overview of what they could achieve together, and a rough idea about how the partnership might develop.”
Scott Walker, Ogden Regional Rep

Don’t fear the finances!

Engage with your finance team to make sure you have a clear and easy system for managing the partnership grant. The finances will be administered by the hub school, but the other partnership schools will need to reclaim costs. This process needs to be simple and transparent so that schools do not feel alienated by the system; it is a shared partnership and schools need to be able to reclaim the funds quickly and easily, so they do not feel excluded.

Wow science

Try to launch your partnership with a ‘big bang’ to capture the imagination of the children and the teachers! You can allocate some of your partnership funding to bring in a science show and bring the schools together to celebrate science. Paid for events like this are normally easier to plan and manage; they are also often not financially viable for one school on their own – a big science showcase event will highlight the benefits of being in an Ogden partnership.

Wonderstruck: South Devon & Torbay Partnership
Wonderstruck: South Devon & Torbay Partnership

Train the teachers

The Phizzi CPD programme is at the heart of the partnership scheme for primary schools – upskilling teachers and providing the resources, expertise and confidence needed to deliver practical primary science. If you have primary schools within your partnership make sure you embrace the Phizzi CPD programme and embed the activities into school planning.

Partnerships with secondary schools should use the allocated funding to build teacher (and technician) CPD into their plans, making the teachers feel appreciated and valued as they are able to develop their own expertise.

A partnership also provides an excellent opportunity for jointly examining the curriculum and assessment of science. Moderation and curriculum planning meetings should be encouraged and become a regular feature of the partnership calendar.

Empower your pupils!

Science ambassador schemes and physics busking are popular with our established partnerships. Primary schools can train their ambassadors (often Year 5 or 6) to support teachers in setting up science lessons, help run lunchtime clubs and lead some wow science to inspire the younger pupils. These schemes harness and encourage your enthusiastic young scientists who can then inspire their peers.

Durham Ferryhill & Chilton Ambassadors 2018
Durham Ferryhill & Chilton Ambassadors 2018

Secondary schools can also offer ambassador schemes, with the older students working with local primary schools (partnership or otherwise) to support and inspire the younger pupils. The crest award scheme ( can provide a useful framework for ambassador schemes. Your partnership regional rep may also be able to deliver some science busking training for your students.

“I did physics-busking with the St Austell partnership; all 10 schools came along (they each sent three or four children) and all they had to do was arrange transport. It was a big hit and children went back to lead sessions in their schools. All the teachers were then keen to do more…”
Sally Fulford, Ogden Regional Rep

Don’t reinvent the wheel

As well as ambassador schemes and physics busking which have become increasingly popular with partnerships, there any many other events and activities that have become regular and successful features across our partnership programme. Every partnership has different constraints to consider, but here are some more suggestions that might work for your partnership.

· Science fairs are a great way to bring partnerships together – each school can hold their own competition and the winners can come together for a partnership-wide event. Perhaps your local university would like to get involved? They may have an Ogden Science Officer who can help you.

Birmingham Science Fair
Birmingham Science Fair

· Family Learning Nights. These can be run by individual schools or as partnership events. You can celebrate the science being done at your school and maybe bring in a guest presenter to really inspire the children and their carers.

· Physics Olympics, competitions and challenges. These can be introduced at a school level with the school champions coming together for a partnership showdown!

· Careers events are a great way to inspire students and to work with local industry, businesses and universities. Demonstrating the real-world value of physics and exploring just some of the many and varied careers that it contributes to is a great way to get students to think about taking physics further.

We have lots of news stories on our website about events and activities that have taken place, and a growing number of How to guides to help you run your own events.

Trafford Partnership: careers event
Trafford Partnership: careers event

Don’t forget

Our partnership conference is a great opportunity for networking and gathering ideas and inspiration. It is also a celebration of our teachers and your contributions to making physics matter. Although we can no longer gather in Stratford as planned this year, we are moving the conference online, so we still bring you valuable insight and ideas. More news on this will be coming soon.

Our November meeting for new partnership fellows will also be a valuable meeting to gather information and inspiration, and to share ideas.

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