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The power of partnerships

Applications for new school partnerships are currently open: funding, CPD and support to make physics matter.

Published: 27 November 2023

“To anyone thinking about leading a partnership I would say go for it! Being part of a partnership has provided invaluable support and CPD.”
Anna Perry, Ledbury Primary School, East Herefordshire Partnership

The School 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. In 2023, we welcomed 25 new partnerships into the programme.  The Trust is now inviting applications for partnerships starting in September 2024 and we would like to increase the number of new partnerships starting at the end of this application round.

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.

“We hope that the partnership programme helps to increase the number of students going on to take physics at GCSE, A-level and at university, as well as thinking about how physics can contribute to career aspirations and to future world challenges,” explains Kirstin Greygoose, Head of School Partnerships. “The additional support and opportunities available to teachers of physics, technicians and primary teaching assistants in partnership schools can enhance their subject knowledge and career development, contributing to job satisfaction and teacher retention.”

Teachers seated around a table working through a physics investigation as part of a wow how now session at a conference. there is play doh, pencils and paper on the desks

Partnership conference 2023

The School Partnership programme supports local clusters of schools and established collaborations, such as multi-academy trusts, as well as providing regional support through place-based partnerships.

The Didsbury Partnership is a large local cluster located in and around the south of Manchester. It comprises mostly secondary schools and sixth-form colleges, a number of which are situated in some of the most deprived urban areas of the country. “The Ogden funding and support is enabling us to develop strong link between physics teachers across Manchester and create a cause that is rooted in making physics matter to our young people,” explains partnership co-ordinator Dan Walker. “It has been inspiring to share a passion for physics and to speak to teachers with a range of experiences and backgrounds. I feel excited for what this partnership can achieve and know we will be able to make a difference to the next generation of physicists.”

Anna Perry is the hub leader for the East Herefordshire Partnership, which is primary focused and now in its legacy phase having completed its full funding cycle. “I am very proud to be hub leader of the East Herefordshire Partnership,” explains Anna. “I understand the importance of my role in ensuring all of the schools in our partnership work together towards the shared goal of improving the teaching of science (with an emphasis on the physics topics) and developing the cultural and science capital of our children and families. Our aim now with our legacy funding is to maintain our partnership by working on the same projects but within our individual schools and then sharing feedback,” continues Anna.

“To anyone thinking about leading a partnership I would say go for it! Being part of a partnership has provided invaluable support and CPD. It has connected our schools so that we can share good practice, ideas, resources and opportunities. It has, without a doubt, enhanced and improved the teaching of physics-based science in all of the schools involved. It is very intellectually stimulating and practically beneficial to be part of a school partnership and the Ogden Trust as a whole,” Anna concludes.

six teachers in a line all holding inflatable planets - another person is talking to them as part of an earth & space science investigation.

Teachers at a Phizzi CPD conference for the Tameside Regional Partnership.

Five years of funding

A local cluster partnership can apply for up to £2,500 per academic year for the first three years and up to £1,000 in the fourth year for partnership activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. A further grant of up to £250 is available as partnerships move into their legacy phase. In the first year, partnership co-ordinators are awarded a time buy-out giving them time to build relationships across the cluster and establish the partnership.

An established collaboration partnership (ie a MAT) can apply for up to £2,000 per academic year for the first three years and £1,000 in the fourth year for activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. The partnership lead is eligible for up to two years of time buy-out to support the partnership.

Teachers at all partnership schools can also access CPD from Early Years Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 3. Science Talk is available to primary schools in their first partnership year – this CPD session provides ideas and activities to encourage the youngest learners to discover more about the world around them, developing their questioning skills and approach to problem-solving to facilitate meaningful learning experiences.

Phizzi CPD is a four-year programme for primary partnership schools. One of the key primary science (physical processes) topics is covered each year in a single training session, which includes a comprehensive teacher guide and resources for classroom investigations (worth about £400 each year).

A group of teachers in a room some seated and others standing they are taking part in a CPD demonstration.

Teachers taking part in KS3 CPD,

KS3 Physics CPD is available to Year 1 partnerships and covers the topics of electricity, waves and forces, whilst Year 2 partnerships will be offered sessions on energy, matter and space. The sessions include strategies for teaching these core physics topics to ensure progression and provide engaging and challenging classroom approaches. Each partnership school that attends this CPD will get resource boxes to take away, a book to support physics teaching and a set of ‘hooks’ to use for engaging practical demonstrations.

“My [Phizzi CPD] was some of the most enjoyable training that I’ve had in the last 20 years! The planning and new resources are a real bonus that will make preparing for the lessons, and teaching them well, much easier. It was very practical and engaging but ensured that subject knowledge was developed and secured too. There were lots of good ideas that I will use in the classroom.”
Teacher feedback from Phizzi CPD

Want to know more?

We have a collection of partnership case studies to give insight and inspiration.

If you are interested in forming a new partnership, expressions of interest need to completed by 1 February 2024. A Q&A webinar will be held in the new year should any teachers need help to complete the application process. (A Teams invitation will be sent to anyone with an open application). We also have a team of regional reps across England who can advise local schools on their application.

If your Expression of Interest is approved following the review process, formative partnerships will be supported through an induction phase ready to begin at the start of the new academic year. You can find details of the full application process here.

Visit our Forming a partnership page to find out which partnership is for you and to begin your application.

Two primary pupils in red school uniform taking part in an electricity investigation. The photo shows yellow circuit boxes and cables, and a fan blowing a strip of paper

Phizzi electricity CPD


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