‘I have been an Ogden Teaching Fellow for three years, and this involves leading a science partnership for schools. My key role is running science workshops, which I create alongside Beverly Morris, an Ogden TA Fellow. We provide these workshops, both on and off-site, to the eight schools and 1,000 pupils within our partnership. On-site workshops are delivered in our Phiz Lab, which was funded by a £2,500 grant from The Ogden Trust and school funds. It’s used by our pupils daily and by visiting schools every few weeks. Through our science workshops we cover topics like evolution, states of matter and density of liquids.
The lab has had a huge impact on the lives of our pupils and teachers, who love visiting and using the Phiz Lab. Pupils shine as scientists, while teachers gain confidence from teaching science in the proper environment. It has helped pupils who aren’t strong in literacy or maths to uncover their individual gifts.
Engagement of pupils in science has increased significantly; their achievement is increasing and they are more engaged in science at home as well as in school, where they’re excited to take part in lessons.
I have appointed eight science ambassadors in each school, who audit equipment, set up science learning, hold committee meetings to discuss science needs and lead workshops (alongside staff) for pupils in other schools.
Teachers benefit from the lab through CPD sessions on “creating curiosity” and how to lead outstanding science, which inspires staff to teach more practical science, and gives them a much larger bank of ideas for investigations in class. All workshops and CPD sessions are free to schools as they’re funded by the Trust.
We’ve also held science fairs and pupil ambassador conference days, as well as a gifted and talented day with Jenny Watson, the regional representative for Birmingham partnerships, who led the pupils in high-level particle science. At our next science fair two winning projects from each partnership school will go on to display their projects at the SIG Science Fair run by Birmingham University!’
Laura Marshall, Teacher, Our Lady and St Kenelm RC School, Halesowen, West Midlands (211 pupils)