Earlier this month, representatives from 36 of the Ogden secondary school science partnerships gathered in Rugby for a day of networking, discussions and presentations. They were joined by staff from the Trust and by Ogden Regional Representatives, Consultants and Teacher Fellows who support and develop the Trust’s partnership work across England.
The school partnerships are at the heart of the Trust’s work and are a crucial component in engaging and enthusing students and teachers. Teachers gain valuable support, CPD, and networking opportunities from being part of a mutually supportive, physics-centred partnership; students are enthused to take physics further with more exciting opportunities to see that physics really does matter and to see themselves as scientists.
The 2018 Rugby meeting gave partnership co-ordinators the opportunity to network, gather ideas and share experiences. A session on partnership planning grouped delegates with partnerships at a similar point in development – recently formed partnerships considered how they could develop positive relationships to build a successful partnership; more established clusters discussed partnership activities that could help to create a sustainable change; and those reaching the end of their partnership funding considered their legacy and how partnership work could be continued once funding had ended.
Continuing Professional Development was a central theme for this meeting and delegates could take part in a number of CPD sessions, which proved to be a very popular element of the day. Sessions on offer included: Ogden thermal physics; using online resources to support flipped learning including A-level/GCSE physics online and Isaac Physics; and using Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) projects to bring real life science into schools. All the sessions were engaging and interactive, getting the teachers to think about how to be apply new ideas in their classrooms.
"I felt the conference was one of the best bits of CPD I have been to, and there are a lot of things that I hope to incorporate into my teaching and physics in school in general next year."
Partnership teacher – Watford Partnership
"Thank you for a fantastic day of CPD"
Partnership Co-ordinator – Suffolk Coastal Partnership
Four case studies were presented to the group, highlighting just a fraction of the great ideas and different programmes that have grown from Ogden partnerships.
Running sixth form ambassador schemes & working with primary schools was presented by Jackie Flaherty from the Cotswolds Partnership, sharing her extensive experience of developing links with primary schools. The scheme has been so successful it has continued following the funded period of the partnership.
Supporting students to do physics busking was the second case study. Alison Rivett highlighted the value of this type of scheme: the student buskers are empowered by learning new skills and improving their confidence; the ‘recipients’ are inspired by these fantastic wow moments in science, delivered by students who they can aspire to.
Planning effective careers events was next on the agenda. Demonstrating the huge range of careers that require STEM credentials is a powerful message to deliver to students who may be considering their futures and can be influential in encouraging students to take physics (and STEM subjects) further. Lauren Ellis from the Wellingborough Partnership shared their best advice and top tips for setting up a successful event having run one annually throughout their partnership.
The final case study explored the contribution that science fairs can make in the delivery of science in schools, working effectively from early primary through to KS4. Science fairs are a great way to encourage both independent project working and group explorations; they bring schools together and promote improved science communication from pupils. Pete Dodds from the Sunderland Partnership shared their Physics is Fun event and demonstrated how easy it is to run low cost events for a wide range of students across all partnership schools.
In the final plenary session of the day, Ogden Consultant James de Winter provided an inspirational and uplifting talk on some of the latest developments and highlights from physics education research and how to apply these in the classroom. The session gave practical teaching tips and introduced different question types and ideas on how to use them most effectively. Many teachers commented on it being one of the highlights of the event and everyone left with an enthusiasm to get straight back into the classroom to use the skills learnt.
Formal proceedings for the day concluded with regional AGMs led by the Ogden Regional Representatives. Each partnership was encouraged to take part in a ‘show and tell’ session as partnership co-ordinators shared an idea, resource or activity with the rest of the group.
Each of the sessions throughout the day generated questions and conversations, which were continued throughout the breaks and into the evening when the guests gathered for dinner.
“There were so many inspiring ideas shared at our School Partnerships Conference. Thanks to all the incredible teachers for coming and sharing their innovative strategies for partnership working and creative teaching approaches.”
Charley Phillips, Programme Manager
The Ogden partnership event was planned to dovetail with the IOP Annual Meeting for Teachers of Physics in Schools and Colleges, and many of the Ogden delegates remained in Rugby for the IOP meeting the next day.
"Thank you for a wonderful and inspiring day."
Partnership teacher – North Cambridge Partnership
"Thanks for a fantastic event, still buzzing!"
Partnership teacher – South Devon & Torbay Partnership
Photography: Tennisons Photography. Copyright The Ogden Trust.