Another Lewisham Science Leaders’ Forum on Friday! Thanks to Carole Kenrick from The Ogden Trust for giving us some super free CPD at the beginning.
Amongst other things we also did some science action planning. To follow up, I thought these questions might be helpful for people new to science leadership and struggling to know where to start to make an impact. Here are a list of questions that might form the basis of an action plan. New people might only start with the first few questions this year and go on to getting to grips with the others after they’ve got their first year under their belt. Hope this helps:
- What is being taught? (What is the science curriculum map for each year group)
- Is this being taught? (Book monitoring, pupils conferences, learning walks)
- Is this adequately resourced to enable teachers and learners to learn? (Resources audit/ budget)
- Are teachers confident and supported in their subject knowledge for the curriculum (if not try Reach Out CPD, for example, or get some CPD in.)
- What is the quality of the learning and teaching of the curriculum? (Is it more child-led than teacher led? Do pupils enjoy it? Do they investigate their own questions enough? Is there a range of the five types of investigations and lots of practicals? Use observations, pupils surveys, learning walks and books to understand this).
- How is the learning assessed? (Are teachers clear how to assess science? Do they use prior knowledge to inform planning? What are they recording for assessment record keeping?
- What does the achieved and attainment in science look like? (How many pupils are on track, behind or ahead? SEN? FSM, EAL? What are you going to do to address the issues?)
- How can the learning and teaching be enriched? (Visitors, Science Weeks, Science events, extra funding, partnerships etc)
- How can you become a better Science Leader? (Do you need CPD? Advice? Are you getting time and support?)
I would also say that the enrichment doesn’t have to be only if all those other things are in place because science weeks and visitors etc can be great fun and a quick win; however, if you’ve no time and you’re sinking, then perhaps enrichment is not a priority, but ensuring science is taught should be.
Lastly, when you find something out as a leader, and this creates an action point then think: What am I going to do to address this? How will I know I have? The ‘how will I know I have?’ is so important as it will prevent you from doing things that turn out to be like a ball of string unravelling with no end in sight. Think about going from A to B, but be really clear what B looks like, so you know you’ve got there. It’s like good AfL practice – be clear on quality.
If you can get your head teacher to let you do the Primary Science Quality Mark then this is great way to start and you will get support in making a great impact on science in your school.
With tight budgets now and extreme pressures on schools to make great gains in reading, writing and maths, science will be squeezed on all sides. So chin up science leaders, take a breath and stick your necks out!
Keep waving the flag for science!