Lewisham Science Leader’s Forum – Autumn 2014

Our Lewisham forum for science leaders is becoming quite popular. It’s also open to out of borough schools and is a great way to connect to other science leaders and share ideas and get support. Lewisham Borough charge £30 for Lewisham schools and £60 for other schools. This is covers admin fees and cover costs. They are held at John Ball Primary School.

We are gathering a really strong support network for schools now. Here’s the follow up on this last meeting for those interested:

Dear Science Leaders

The first of this year’s Lewisham Science Leader’s forums went very well indeed. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a short summary:

A new science policy – we looked at a draft of a science policy and discussed how to implement the new curriculum and assessment through a new policy. We also discussed the importance of making changes or bringing in new approaches WITH teaching staff so that they feel part of the process and feel less ‘done to’. In the long run this makes your job easier if people feel they’ve had a say in things – teacher’s voice and all that. A helpful way to look at being a subject leader is that you are there to support and drive the effective learning and teaching through helping teachers to increasingly know themselves how to plan, teach and assess science well – like this, the better your leadership, the less you have to do any ‘telling off’ and ‘checking up’ on people. Find attached the draft science policy I shared with you at the meeting – it’s not perfect, but might be a good place to start for people. Please cut and paste and do as you wish to it – no need for my name on it. A policy might seem very bureaucratic – but it’s how your formulate it with your colleagues and how you use it to improve learning outcomes. Really it’s a detailed success criteria for your subject so good to get it right.

We also discussed assessment and tracking. Although, this is a transition year and lots of tweaks to be made – the concept of an assessment ladder seems to be the best approach. It also supports teaching and leaders in tracking coverage as well as progress. Greg also showed us a lovely excel spread sheet for recording emerging (1 -red) working within (2 – orange) and achieved (3-green) for the programmes of study – or to that affect. Greg said he might be able to send round that spreadsheet to share?

Also we talked about new schemes of work for science. Although I would advise having lots of things for teachers to chose from instead of one because this will support a more open, child led curriculum rather than a ‘pick up and teach’ approach like the old QCA. Teachers who are confident with science can use children’s questions and run with those as a basis for investigations and check NC coverage, but for lots of teachers, schemes offer them support in planning activities to answer the children’s questions. We looked at ‘Switch on science’ and ‘Snap’. Snap looked very well thought out, although I didn’t look through that much of it. And of course Rising Stars in OK to assess science knowledge at times – but not for assessing working scientifically in my view – that needs to be assessed by watching children during investigations. I have to admit though that I haven’t looked through Rising Stars new stuff in detail so I’m not the expert here at all.

Next meeting we said we’d like everyone to bring along their data loggers! That way we can have a good fiddle around, help each other work out the best way to use them – I only know how to use the old ones and we need a set of new ones! If you haven’t got any data loggers then it’ll be a good opportunity to find out which is the best one and how they can be used to support investigations.

We also said we’d all bring some children’s science recording to moderate a little and look at different ways to record. It’d be really good to start to talk about how we can use recording to assess science and begin to agree what ‘achieved’ looks like in terms of the programmes of study. It’s an open and safe way to look at this vital area and don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’ because I certainly will be. Putting our heads together will help us all!

So the next meetings this year are Fri 27th Feb, and then later in the year, Fri 5th June. All are 1.30 – 3.30. However, we are a growing group now so feel free to ‘reply all’ or email me and ask for help if you need it.

If anyone has any good ideas for science week please also share them between us as a number of people have asked for ideas and the meeting ended quite quickly because we were invaded by children at the end!

So enjoy the rest of the term!

One thought on “Lewisham Science Leader’s Forum – Autumn 2014

  1. Sam

    Hello Beth,

    First of all, thank you for this blog, I am updated whenever a new blog goes up and it is always thought provoking. Putting it all out there is having an impact on me as a science leader. After the ‘thank you’, the crux of my comment is to ask if I can see a copy of your science policy? I would of course respect any requests you have regards sharing it further etc. Thanks again!

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