Phizzing with excitement

11 October 2018

Laura Marshall is the science lead at Our Lady & Saint Kenelm Primary school, hub for the Halesowen & Dudley Partnership and home to a Phiz Lab. This year, Laura will also be supporting the Trust as the new Phiz Lab lead. She will be helping to manage the growing network of Phiz Labs, ensuring that more schools are able to benefit from the initiative and the wave of science excitement that is growing across primary schools.

“I will be touring the Ogden Phiz Labs over the course of the year, offering support and sharing the new ideas that I know I will gather on my travels. I can take ideas from lab to lab and really encourage the schools to work together too,” enthuses Laura.

Laura will be creating a portfolio of Phiz Labs, looking at their activities, successes and the lessons they have learnt along the way. She will also be developing a Phizzi handbook which can be used by other schools who are at the start of their Phiz Lab journey, or those who are developing their own science lab space at school, outside of the Ogden network.

Our Lady & St Kenelm Phiz Lab opening 2015: Cameron Ogden, Laura Marshall and Wendy Cox with students from the school
Our Lady & St Kenelm Phiz Lab opening 2015: Cameron Ogden, Laura Marshall and Wendy Cox with students from the school.

“Having seen the benefits that a Phiz Lab can bring to school science, I am passionate about the initiative. I think Phiz Labs are vital in encouraging staff and pupils to become more confident and inspired to learn about (and teach) real science, physics in particular! I want to share my experiences and help to move the Phiz Lab programme forward.I want to ensure we reach out to schools in more areas of deprivation and that we work with schools who don’t have space for an actual classroom lab – how about a Phiz Lab on Wheels?”

Laura is a specialist science teacher, and when she went into primary teaching she wanted to share her passion for science with staff and pupils. With Laura as the school science lead, Our Lady & Saint Kenelm joined their local Ogden partnership – inspired and emboldened by the experience, Laura then set up a new partnership with her school as the hub.

“The Trust supported me every step of the way, and we were so lucky to have a Phiz Lab installed at school,” says Laura.

Laura has been working as an Ogden Teacher Fellow for the past three years and has been able to work with many schools; “this is really what gives me the inspiration and enthusiasm for my new role,” says Laura. “I want to work with more schools outside my partnership, especially those who have a Phiz Lab with all the potential that they bring.”

“I hope to encourage the partnership schools with Phiz Labs to use their resources effectively and creatively, and to share science across a wide community. The hope is that new Phiz Labs can have a fantastic, energetic start with the support and experience that I can give; and existing Phiz Labs can look at current practice and consider how they can keep moving forward.

“Each Ogden primary partnership is eligible for a grant to help the selected partnership school to create their Phiz Lab. I will support the school to develop a long-term commitment to science – looking at how they can continue to deliver exciting hands-on science to their pupils and to the wider community, as well as how they remain engaged with the Ogden network once their partnership term has ended,” continues Laura.

“I think Phiz Labs are so important for many reasons. In my experience, to walk into a science lab is like role play; you walk in and it transforms your thinking into being a 'scientist'. Traditionally, science labs were only found in secondary schools. By then, for some, the experience can be daunting rather than transformative,” says Laura. “By putting Phiz Labs into primary schools, it inspires and educates children from as young as the age of four years old! We need to encourage the children to share their talents, and we need to nurture and support their natural scientific inquisitiveness, they are our scientists of the future!

“Phiz Labs – what an amazing opportunity for young minds to become 'scientists' and learn about the world around them; and what a fantastic environment for teachers to deliver 'practical' science where the children can get more hands on, after all, science is about exploration and discovery!”

Laura Marshall (left) and the school's Ogden Teaching Assistant Fellow, Beverly Morris (right)
Students with Laura Marshall (left) and the school's Teaching Assistant, Beverly Morris (right)

A range of resources and ideas for primary science can be found on the Ogden website and are freely available to all. When it is ready, the Phizzi Handbook will be published online to offer more support and guidance to schools who are not part of an Ogden primary partnership.

If you are interested in joining or forming an Ogden primary partnership, you can find out more about the criteria and how to apply. Expressions of interest should be submitted before 1 March 2019.

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