Sir Ed Davey, MP, and Kirstin Greygoose, Ogden Primary Partnership Manager, were welcomed to St Andrew’s & St Mark’s CofE Junior School (SASM) in Surbiton, south-west London last week as the school officially opened its Phiz Lab. During the opening, 20 pupil volunteer ‘SASM Scientists’ demonstrated science busking to the guests, which included other local teachers. Adults were shown how to create ‘straw oboes’, how to paralyse a finger and how forks can aid your balance!
“Getting a Phiz Lab and a partnership off the ground can seem like a big challenge but it has been a fantastic experience” explains Matt Gates, the science co-ordinator at SASM. “As a result of the Ogden Trust’s funding, we have been able to be put science at the top of the school’s agenda and leading the partnership through its first year has boosted the profile of science across 12 schools. Through regular partnership meetings, the Kingston & Richmond Partnership has experimented with several ways to make the partnership funding have the most impact.”
Matt shares the top five things that he believes have contributed to a successful first year of the partnership:
- Outstanding CPD for teachers – Carol Kenrick, Scientist / Inventor in Residence at Gillespie Primary School, London, and Kirstin Greygoose, Primary Partnership Manager, have led incredible training that is freely accessible to partnership schools. The training (and free resources) have really advanced teaching across the partnership schools.
- Creating travelling resources – with all of the 11 partnership schools running on a near-zero budget for science resources, Matt created several resource boxes that are then booked out by partnership schools using a GoogleDoc. This means that big ticket items, such as a giant dark tent or a set of data loggers, can be accessible to a huge number of children. As well as the dark tent and data loggers, the partnership schools currently have access to a light box and a space-themed ‘science week in a box’, which includes everything a science co-ordinator needs to run a whole-school science week.
- Organising enrichment – Matt is responsible for ‘bulk booking’ a series of events across the partnership. Andrew Hanson, from the National Physical Laboratory, has visited partnership schools with a liquid nitrogen show and schools have had the opportunity to send a team to a water rocket challenge day. Through Ogden Trust funding, each school has been able to be supplied with tickets and a rocket launcher.
- Sharing planning – using GoogleDrive, several of the partnership schools have committed to sharing their school’s science planning and resources with each other. This has enabled teachers across the partnership to see each other’s ideas and pick activities to suit their needs.
- Pupil scientists and science busking – as the partnership continues to grow, each school will receive some funding to set up some pupil scientists. These students will run competitions, prepare resources for science lessons and signpost pupils to local science events. At SASM, the pupil scientists also go out in to the playground ‘science busking’ at lunch.
“With the newly-opened Phiz Lab, SASM aims to continue to lead the partnership by offering the lab up for local schools,” concludes Matt. “Powered by the Ogden Trust training and resources, sessions can be run easily by visiting teachers. There is a genuinely exciting future ahead for science in Kingston and Richmond!”