Aim: To develop a range of science activities for primary school pupils and provide training opportunities for primary school teachers.
Background: KEFW School has Science specialist status and an intake from over 50 primary schools. However, some of the very able primary pupils in Birmingham did not consider a grammar school as an option. The KEFW intake of Pupil Premium funded (PP) pupils was 6% and a challenging new target intake was set at 20% PP.
The Science department developed a programme of outreach activities with 5 local primary schools with events such as Science Week; 500 primary school pupils and their teachers attended 18 different science-based sessions including rocket building, liquid nitrogen demonstrations and microscope workshops.
Phiz lab (previously the Physics Factory), part funded by the Ogden Trust and KEFW, developed into one of the major school-based outreach centres nationally. Outreach sessions were delivered in primary schools and at KEFW for pupils on topics such as space, sound, light and forces. A Potions Day was organised as well as presentations for pupils and staff on topics such as the Magic of Science and the solar system.
The Pupil Leadership Group, which involved over 70 Sixth Form students, delivered an extensive range of activities each year in Saturday masterclasses and summer activity weeks. After-school science clubs were introduced in a number of primary schools.
The annual Festival of Science for KEFW pupils and visiting primary schools included a Rocket Day, a Year 7 Science Fair and 20 bookable activities. Visiting speakers included Alice Roberts giving her presentation on ’The incredible unlikeliness of being’ and ’Space - so what?’ by Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Academy.
Evidence: Staff and pupil feedback.
Impact: Over 7,000 pupils and 300 staff from over 100 schools attended science-based sessions in the final year of the project, and feedback was very positive. 96% of pupils found the sessions very enjoyable and 100% enjoyable; 100% said they had learnt something new. 100% of staff said they had done more practical work than they would normally do and 97% thought the sessions were more challenging than their normal lessons. The ambitious target of 20% PP for September 2015 was met and received national recognition from the Sutton Trust and The Times and The Guardian newspapers.
Reflections: This has been a very positive experience for me, as Head of Department when I started the project, and in my new role as Assistant Head with responsibility for widening accessibility. Whilst Science was always the focus for the outreach that I developed, as the team of people involved increased, the scope of the projects also increased. The enthusiasm and enjoyment from all involved has been a delight to see; people willing to give up their own free time for the benefit of others and to share the love of a subject.
Contact: Richard Russell, firstname.lastname@example.org