Primary purpose

10 July 2018

Last week, 53 guests gathered at Charingworth Manor, Gloucestershire for the third annual primary conference and dinner.

The dinner provided an excellent forum for networking and informal discussions as colleagues from primary, secondary and higher education were able to chat and make contacts. During the evening, the guests attempted a physics challenge using a circuit with  a choice of a buzzer or bulb to create Morse code and enable their team to decipher the secret word! 


Primary Science Conference 2018:Emma Leonard from Springbank Primary School (left) and Ogden Consultant Graham Wigley celebrate their success in the Morse code challenge
Emma Leonard from Springbank Primary School (left) and Ogden Consultant Graham Wigley celebrate their success in the Morse code challenge

Dr Suzie Imber, Associate Professor from the University of Leicester and winner of BBC’s Astronauts: do you have what it takes? enthralled guests after dinner with inspiring tales about her work on BepiColombo, a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the planet Mercury, and her experiences on the BBC series. 

Thursday's conference was attended by 47 delegates. Following the welcome address from the Wendy Cox, Head of School Partnerships and Ogden Chief Executive Clare Harvey, keynote speaker David Weston from the Teacher Development Trust gave an inspiring talk about teacher professional learning; he was one of the highlights of the conference. 

“Great talk by David Weston, he nailed it!”

A series of workshops and practical challenges ran throughout the day. In the first, delegates were introduced to Ogden Consultant Amanda Poole’s dancing robot! In this hands-on session, supported by Tech Will Save Us, delegates took part in a Micro:Bot challenge, creating their own robots and learning how pupils can collaborate and link their understanding of electricity with simple programming.

In creative circuits, delegates took part in a series of activities to explore how electricity can be used to encourage creativity in science. “These activities allow pupils to apply their knowledge and understanding of the curriculum content in an imaginative context,” explains presenterJackie Flaherty, National Teaching & Learning Lead for the Trust.“By actively applying knowledge it can deepen understanding and also bring any misconceptions to light. Activities like these can provide the necessary stimulation and curiosity needed to promote a love for physics.”

“Amazing ideas for circuits, so much more fun than just what's on the curriculum. Great ideas for my science ambassadors for next year.”

Amanda returned to centre stage to show how Mindsets Solar Buggies can be brought into the classroom to provide opportunities for children to apply their understanding of circuits to real life situations and develop their Working Scientifically skills. This session was great fun and saw the delegates working together to create and test their buggies, demonstrating the importance of students’ not only acquiring the necessary knowledge but also applying it. 

Scott Walker, Ogden Outreach Officer at Keele, then delivered a practical workshop bringing together aspects of physics, engineering, electronics and environmental sustainability. In the Solar Scrapheap Challenge delegates explored the concepts of electrical circuits (series and parallel), solar PV cells, friction and forces along with the environmental benefits of moving toward a zero/low carbon energy landscape.

"Thank you for yet again another amazing conference. It is a privilege to be part of the Ogden family. The hospitality has been so amazing, and I felt truly spoilt. I can't wait for the year ahead on the Ogden journey."

"The event was so well organised and an excellent chance to network with life minded professionals"

After lunch, the practical ideas and explorations continued. In the first session, delegates found themselves ‘playing with protons’ as they explored resources from the CERN primary CPD programme. Last summer, the Trust sponsored 10 primary science specialist teachers to take part in this programme – a collaboration between the CMS Experiment at CERN, University of Birmingham and STFC, supported by The Ogden Trust and the CREATIONS EU project. At the conference, the presenters shared some of the ideas and resources they had gathered during the five-day course. 

In the final practical session of the day, the ‘Phizzi Focus’ was science ambassadors and how children can be used to support and promote the delivery of primary science. Ogden consultant James de Winter, brought the day’s proceedings to a close with an inspirational and uplifting talk on teacher professional development and the advantages of subject-specific CPD.

“I am now well into my first year as Head of the School Partnerships programme,” said Wendy Cox. “We are continuing to work hard to utilise the natural synergy between the primary and secondary programmes, and to establish science on the school agenda from EYFS through to A-levels. Bringing together so many enthused colleagues to celebrate primary science at this third annual conference was fantastic. There is a strengthening foundation of science at primary level and we are working hard to support teacher development and student outcomes – this can only help to build the pipeline of physicists for the future. This conference was a great opportunity to thank all our Ogden primary partnership schools, teacher fellows and Regional Representatives for their hard work this year, and to celebrate and share practice.” she concluded. 

"I always get so many new leads, links, ideas and plans from the conference. It just seems to get better every year! Ogden has transformed the science at my school and I feel so privileged to be part of it."

"This was my first primary conference, but I was instantly made to feel welcome by all other attendees from teachers, governors to Ogden staff. Having recently begun leading a partnership it has been reassuring to hear other similar experiences from people with more experience with their partnerships.”


Primary Science Conference 2018: Charingworth Manor
Primary Science Conference 2018: Charingworth Manor
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