Canterbury Primary Science Partnership
Canterbury Primary School Partnership (CPSP)
This is an Independent-State School Partnership supported through a grant from the Department for Education. Please follow this link to access the CPSP website.
This partnership scheme, initiated by The King’s School Canterbury was been awarded a substantial grant of over £20,000 from the Department for Education in November 2014 to work with ten primary schools and a prep school in Canterbury, and supported by expertise and training from charity Physics-S3.
Bridge and Patrixbourne CEP School is the lead primary school in the partnership and is part of the executive group with a lead on evaluation. The other primary schools in the partnership are:Wincheap, Pilgrim’s Way, Parkside, St. John’s, Petham, Sturry , Chartham , Aylesham and Wickhambreaux.
The Canterbury Primary Science Partnership’s purpose is to maximise teaching and learning in science, introducing some innovative methods and building in a legacy so that the benefit outlasts the 18 months’ duration of the grant.
The new curriculum in science has introduced some difficult concepts such as gears and pulleys, and raised the challenge level in some topics such as evolution and inheritance. The project will support the primary school teachers with bespoke training and planning sessions and work directly with pupils on specific topics. Science subject leaders in the ten partnership schools will meet to share good practice as well as have the opportunity to bring classes to the King’s School and Junior King’s to use their laboratory facilities and apparatus.
Background and comment
Having run workshops in local schools for a number of years, science teachers at the King’s School established the Saturday Smarties series of master classes for keen scientists in years 5 and 6. Pupils donned lab coats and goggles to carry out flame tests with Bunsen burners, dissect cows’ eyeballs and become forensic scientists for the day. Through meeting the pupils, parents and teachers of the schools which attended, the then Head of Science, Christina Astin, became aware of the enthusiasm for science and the challenges which primary schools face in delivering exciting practical science lessons. “The teachers we met were keen to get together to share their concerns and good ideas, and the idea of bringing them together in a partnership grew from there”, she says. Christina is now Head of Partnerships and is delighted with the DfE funding, which will enable a wider participation and the establishment of resources as part of the legacy of the grant.
The bid came after the DfE held a meeting of the ISSP (Independent-State School Partnerships) Forum last month, at which Christina attended as a trustee of educational charity Physics-S3, together with its Chairman, Tommy Cookson. Physics-S3 will provide support for the partnership in the form of trainers and also expertise in monitoring and evaluation, an essential element of the project.
Renuka Chinnadurai, headteacher of Bridge and Patrixbourne CEP School, the leading primary school in the bid, endorsed the project:
“If we don’t capture the imagination of pupils with the wonder of science at this stage in their lives, we miss a great opportunity. The opportunities afforded by this partnership with other primaries with the benefit of secondary school expertise and facilities will give our children experiences beyond what we can provide on our own.The reality of science education in primary schools is so varied and, with the focus on maths and English, science is often less well developed in the curriculum. But this is a time of change now. We are nurturing a generation of future scientists. Key Stage 2 science has been refreshed and is more rigorous. With the CPSP grant we can help develop non-specialist primary teachers to be enthused, engaged and motivated about science so that their pupils can also become enthused, engaged and motivated. We know that the investigative and thinking skills which children gain through good science teaching transfer to other subjects.In this era of collaboration and working together, the partnership grant will benefit staff not only at Bridge and Patrixbourne but at schools across the City, with a lasting legacy beyond the lifetime of the grant, and we are delighted to be a lead partner.”
Peter Roberts, Headmaster of the King’s School, is delighted that the Primary School Science Partnership, based around the hub of King’s and Bridge Primary, has been backed by the award of this Government grant. “This will lead to a series of really interesting science mentoring sessions with colleagues across schools, as well as some stimulating practical sessions looking at ways to put cutting edge scientific ideas and test tube shattering experiments into primary classrooms. The hard work of Christina Astin in preparing the bid for the grant has been excellent and I am confident that the money will now go to great use and have an immediate impact for the children.”
There are four strands to the project:
1. Termly science-specific CPD workshops for primary teachers, including the
new elements of the primary science curriculum (e.g. gears and pulleys,
evolution and inheritance). Workshops will be held termly, hosted by The
King’s School, Canterbury and facilitated by teacher-trainers from the Physics-
S3 programme or the King’s School.
2. Half-termly networking events for primary teachers, hosted by The King’s
Junior School and partner primary schools in rotation, and facilitated initially by
teacher-trainers from King’s and Physics-S3 but with teachers themselves taking an increasingly leading role. These events will allow teachers to share new ideas,
discuss concerns, and showcase innovative use of equipment and technology
in the teaching of science at KS1 and KS2.
3. A half-day planning session in each partner primary school between a King’s teacher or Physics-S3 trainer and the primary science subject leader, to conduct a needs analysis, draw up development plans, and develop new schemes of work and plans for pupil-facing events to promote science and embed literacy and
numeracy in the teaching of science.
4. Workshops and shows for KS1 and KS2 pupils in each partner primary school,
based on pre-existing models (e.g. ‘Light Fantastic’, ‘The Air Show’,
‘Sweetshop Science’, ‘Planets and Gravity’) and led by an experienced science
presenter. In addition, an annual ‘Science Jamboree’ hosted by The King’s
School, Canterbury for pupils from all partner primary schools. Pupil-facing
events will be linked to subsequent CPD workshops to ensure teachers’
professional practice is enhanced in the long-term.
All primary partner schools will be engaged in the ISSP through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Headteacher, to ensure each school’s commitment to the objectives of the ISSP at the highest level and that participating teachers are given sufficient time to engage with activities fully.