Broadclyst Community Primary School has been announced as one of 334 infant, junior, primary, middle and special schools awarded a Primary Science Quality Mark in April 2021. This is in celebration of its commitment to excellence in science teaching and learning.
The project to improve science across the school has been led by Michael Kimber, Professional Development & Science Learning Partnership Lead, and year 6 teacher James Beevor, and it involved all the children from reception upwards. Michael explains: “It has influenced everything from policy to how we teach in the classroom, how the children work scientifically and how the teachers assess their work.”
This is a significant accolade for the rural Devon primary school, which was awarded Outreach recognition for its support of the community and other schools, as well as for getting parents involved with astronomy evenings and other science activities. All that activity continued during the covid restrictions with children engaging in fun lessons during their home learning, and there are now plans underway for the summer term. These include the Eggy Challenge – where each year group works on developing different ways of transporting an egg safely, including catapults, parachutes and buggies - and participation in the national Great Science Share campaign that invites children to share their own scientific questions and investigations.
“Going through the award process has shown us some really good practice in schools across the country,” says Michael. “We will follow the feedback we have been given for further improvement and would certainly encourage other schools to go for it too.”
The Primary School Quality Mark programme ensures effective leadership of science, enables schools to work together to share good practice and is supported by professional development led by local experts. It encourages teacher autonomy and innovation while at the same time offering a clear framework for development in science subject leadership, teaching and learning. Schools that achieve PSQM demonstrate commitment and expertise in science leadership, teaching and learning. So far, since its national launch in 2010, over 4000 schools across the UK have achieved a prestigious Primary Science Quality Mark.
The Primary Science Quality Mark is led by the University of Hertfordshire, School of Education in collaboration with the Primary Science Teaching Trust.
Associate Professor Jane Turner, PSQM National Director said: “There was never a more important time for primary children to have a high-quality science education. The Coronavirus Pandemic has made everyone aware of the impact of science on our daily lives. Primary schools have an important role to ensure that children understand how science works and keeps us healthy and safe. Schools that have achieved a Primary Science Quality Mark have demonstrated a significant commitment to science teaching and learning, even at this challenging time for schools. The profile and quality of science in each awarded school is very high. Children are engaging with great science both in and outside the classroom, developing positive attitudes towards science as well as secure scientific understanding and skills. Science subject leaders, their colleagues, head teachers, children, parents and governors should be very proud.”