Inspiring Future Scientists – The Successful Elements

Thursday 29 June 2017 9.00am – 3.30pm
The Tomlinson Centre, Queensbridge Road, E8 3ND

Keynote speakers

  • Professor Averil Macdonald OBE, Hon DSc, Hon D.Univ, CPhys, FInstP, FRSA – Emeritus Professor, University of Reading
  • Jane Turner – National Director: Primary Science Quality Mark, University of Hertfordshire. Please note Jane Turner’s content will now be delivered by her colleague Helen Sizer (Deputy Head Teacher and Science Lead at a Hertfordshire Primary School, University of Hertfordshire’s Science Learning Partnership Lead).
  • Dr Jane Keeley (Chair) – Headteacher, Haggerston School

Why this conference?

Science is in the spotlight.

Ofsted is currently focused on a broad and balanced curriculum that helps pupils acquire knowledge, understanding and skills in all aspects of their education, including scientific learning.

Its report “Maintaining Curiosity: a survey into science education” and the subsequent HMCI findings from May 2016 highlighted that practical work enthuses and inspires students.

This conference will provide opportunities for practitioners to learn from each other and improve science provision in their schools.

It is also an opportunity for education professionals to work together to share practice and consider ways that the school science experience can inspire and motivate them to be the scientists of the future.

Academics, subject specialists and practitioners will share their joint expertise through a range of presentations and workshops.

Areas of focus will be:

  • Sharing practice across KS2 and KS3 to achieve better ‘science transition’
  • Learn about active approaches to teaching and learning
  • Learn about outstanding practice taking place in schools
  • Approaches to effective assessment in science
  • Opportunities and inspiration for pupils to develop key skills and scientific enquiry
  • How to build STEM into your curriculum
  • How to increase the number of girls pursuing STEM careers
  • How to promote inclusive practice into science education


9.00 – Registration, refreshments and networking

9.20 – Welcome and chairs opening remarks Dr Jane Keeley – Headteacher, Haggerston School

9.30 – Primary Science: Updating on the National Perspective, Ofsted, Innovation and Testing
Helen Sizer – Deputy Head Teacher and Science Lead at a Hertfordshire Primary School, University of Hertfordshire’s Science Learning Partnership Lead

Helen will draw on recent work on English policy initiatives and evidence from over 600 schools that achieved a Primary Science Quality Mark this year, to evaluate the national picture of primary science: the issues both national and local, exciting innovations in individual schools and from UK wide organisations, and inspection and assessment expectations and findings. It’s not all doom and gloom: there is plenty to celebrate!

10.20 – Q and A

10.30 – ‘People like me’ – Professor Averil Macdonald – Chair in Science Engagement at the University of Reading

Just 13 % of science, technology, engineering and maths workers are women (Women in Science and Engineering), despite 30 years of spending time, money and effort trying to encourage under-represented groups, particularly girls, to choose STEM careers.
Professor Averil Macdonald will talk about the myths and the fact about why these groups don’t study STEM subjects and she will introduce the revolutionary new approach – “People Like Me” – which is making the difference.

11.20 – Q and A

11.30 – Tea/coffee break

11.45 – Workshop session 1
Please see workshop tab

12.45 – Lunch and an opportunity to speak to science practitioners

13.45 – Workshop session 2
Please see workshop tab

14.45 – Ask the Panel – an opportunity to discuss what issues your schools are facing with the experts – The Panel: Dr Jane Keeley, Prof Averil Macdonald, Jane Turner, Kate Roberts

15.15 – Closing remarks and close of conference

Booking workshops

Delegates have the opportunity to book two workshops of their choice – one for the 11.45 session and one for the 13.45 session. All workshops will be repeated.

Workshop 1: Have they got it? Assessing conceptual understanding in primary science without tests
Run by Helen Sizer (Deputy Head Teacher and Science Lead at a Hertfordshire Primary School, University of Hertfordshire’s Science Learning Partnership Lead)
Audience – Primary Schools

The new National Curriculum for KS1 and 2 Science is clear about what children should be taught to know, understand and do in science. Primary teachers are using many different strategies for assessment for learning, ensuring that children’s prior understanding is built on and next steps identified, alongside skill development. Increasingly teachers arrive at summative judgements by using evidence from a range of formative classroom activities. However, teachers report concerns in knowing the meaning of the NC statements and what evidence they need to confidently make a judgment that a child has achieved the statement. How can you be sure that a child has ‘got it’? This workshop will share work done by a group of ASE members to break down the NC statements into clear descriptors and develop short, fun activities for teachers to use with small groups of children where they just want to check ‘have they got it?’

Workshop 2: The virtues of outdoor science learning
Run by Bob Cooper (Project Lead for Coaching Science Scholars to Success: An LSEF Project, Science Learning Centre Consortium Central England, University of Hertfordshire)
Audience – Primary Schools

This is a very hands-on session of practical science experiences for teachers, covering the 6 areas of scientific investigation in the new curriculum. It is guaranteed to build teachers’ confidence in taking science lessons outside, encouraging them to offer more hands-on outdoor science lessons for primary children. Participants will explore how to use their outdoor areas, whatever they may be, for child-led investigations.
Bring a coat, sensible shoes and also an umbrella to play with!

Workshop 3: The skills!
Run by Hackney Teaching Schools
Audience – Primary Schools

Science leads from our Hackney Teaching Schools will showcase a variety of activities covering key scientific skills. They will share innovative activities to enthuse and engage pupils providing them with opportunities to develop their scientific enquiry skills. There will be a carousel of hand on activities to explore, experience and take away to easily implement back into your classroom.

Workshop 4: Recognising unconscious bias and risks in teaching
Run by Averil MacDonald (Emeritus Professor, University of Reading)
Audience – Primary and Secondary

You’ll never teach the same way again! Unconscious bias is so entrenched in our behaviour that it’s easy to assume that our highly professional approach to students and teaching is totally fair and all students gain equality of opportunity from our lessons. In this session you will look critically at a number of teaching practices and see how our normal approaches can disadvantage some groups. With this insight teachers can make a significant difference to the achievement levels of under-represented groups in our disciplines

Workshop 5: Maths in science
Run by Melanie Ellis (Lead Teacher – Science, Swavesey Village College)
Audience – Secondary Schools

With increased mathematical demands of the new GCSE science courses, the need for collaborative working has never been greater. This workshop explores effective strategies for cross curricular planning and developing a common approach to introducing and developing the mathematical principles so that students can apply them in a scientific context.

Workshop 6: Approaches to science learning and practical work.
Run by Jo Allen (Senior Teacher and Head of Science, Blanche Nevile School for Deaf Children), Jessica Tratt (Head of Science, The Norwood School), Mhairi Stuart (Subject Leader Science, The City Academy)
Audience – Secondary Schools

With more content, more depth, limited pathways and change in delivery and assessment of practical work, inclusive science education has become a real challenge. Learn how different schools are adapting their teaching and learning strategies to address the needs of SEN learners, meeting the demands of a linear curriculum with its challenges of long term learning.

Averil Macdonald

Averil sits on the Women’s Business Council reporting to BEIS on the success of the Government’s Strategy for Women in Science and is also a Director of the Cheltenham Festivals. She has been a Trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry, the National Media Museum and the National Railway Museum and previously sat on the Science and Technology Facilities Council Advisory Panel for Science in Society and the Council of the Institute of Physics. She is the UK representative on the European Physical Society Forum for Physics in Society and the UK representative on the EU Helsinki Group which advises the EU Commission on diversity in research and scholarship. Averil’s drive is in encouraging girls into science and in advancing women’s careers in science as she believes it is essential that women have the full opportunity to demonstrate their skills in all spheres.

Helen Sizer

Helen is currently Deputy Head Teacher and Science Lead at a Hertfordshire Primary School and led her school to achieve the Gold PSQM award. Earlier this year Helen was seconded to the University of Hertfordshire to teach in Primary Science on the BEd programme. As an Ogden Teacher Fellow she leads a local collaboration of schools and has been seconded to PSQM as Development Leader. Helen has been a regular presenter for STEM Learning and having been recently appointed as Project Lead for the Centre for STEM, will now lead the University of Hertfordshire’s Science Learning Partnership.