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					CP649 - NSLC_April National Newsletter EM_V3:LORES                             18/3/08    10:12        Page 1

    Innovation                                                                                                                   Contact Us
                                                                                                                                 The national network of Science Learning Centres
                                                                                                                                 has been created to bring about innovation and
                                                                                                                                 inspiration in the science curriculum.The network,
                                                                                                                                 which is made up of nine regional Centres across
                                                                                                                                 the country and a National Centre, exists to
                                                                                                                                 ensure that access to high quality professional
                                                                                                                                 development is within easy reach across the UK.

     A new and exciting collaboration is                                                                                         The courses offered at the regional Centres
                                                                                                                                 include at least one day’s training together with
     taking place between the Science
                                                                                                                                 ongoing support through classroom exercises and
     Learning Centre East Midlands and                                                                                           online materials.The National Science Learning
     GENIE - the Centre for Excellence in                                                                                        Centre offers a different and complementary
                                                               Investigating DNA
     Teaching and Learning (CETL) in                                                                                             experience by providing longer, more intensive
     Genetics, based at the University                         The GENIE CETL is leading the development of                      residential courses that cater for teachers and
     of Leicester.                                             innovative approaches in, and resources for, genetics             lecturers from across England, Scotland, Wales
                                                               teaching and learning, not only for the Higher
                                                                                                                                 and Northern Ireland.                                  Professional development in science teaching East Midlands edition Summer Term 2008
     The collaboration has brought about a new and             Education sector, but also for schools and colleges,
     exciting two-day residential course focussing on the      healthcare professionals and the general public.                  National

                                                                                                                                                                                        Creative ScienceTeaching
     practical aspects of DNA recombinant technologies.        Central to this is the Virtual Genetics Education                 Email:
     The Department of Genetics at the University of           Centre an expanding web-based collection of                       Tel: 01904 328300
     Leicester is renowned for its pioneering research and     evaluated resources and cross references. Visit the               East of England
     excellence in teaching and learning. It is also widely    website at                      Email:
     known as the ‘birthplace’ of DNA fingerprinting           The GENIE CETL was also awarded funding for the                   Tel: 01992 503498
     discovered by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys. The course     establishment of two GENIE outreach laboratories,
     will take place in June 2008.                             where the new collaborative course will be held.
                                                                                                                                 East Midlands
                                                                                                                                 Tel: 0116 252 3771
                                                                                                                                                                                         Enhancing the                                                              Enhancing
     Skills for Technicians and                                                                                                  London
                                                                                                                                 Tel: 020 7612 6325                                      Curriculum                                                                 Primary Teaching
     Regional Conference                                                                                                         North East
                                                                                                                                                                                         The Science Learning Centre East Midlands designs                          We have designed several creative science courses
                                                                                                                                 Tel: 0191 370 6200                                      and delivers innovative CPD to help teachers be                            aimed at primary teachers and teaching assistants.
     Building upon our reputation for delivering high quality CPD for technicians,                                                                                                       more creative in the classroom.                                            These courses often make links between different
     colleagues from our satellite centre at John Cleveland College in Hinckley have                                             North West
                                                                                                                                 Email:                                                                                                     aspects of the primary curriculum such as literacy,
     designed a new course called ‘Skills for Science Technicians’.                                                              Tel: 0161 247 2944
                                                                                                                                                                                         A recent course called ‘Feeling the Earth Move!’ focused on the use of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    art, music and science fiction.
                                                                                                                                                                                         seismometers to gather real data for science lessons at KS4 and Post-
     The course follows on from the very successful ‘Hints     This will also be the venue, in June, for this year’s             South East                                              16. The collection and interpretation of ‘real scientific’ data provides
     and Tips’ day held last summer. Delegates commented       Regional Science Technicians’ Conference. There will              Email:                                                                                              Our ‘Creativity in Primary Science’ course is designed and led by
                                                                                                                                                                                         students with relevant, challenging and stimulating tasks which can
     that they wanted an additional day to practise and        be a range of activities from which delegates can                 Tel: 023 8059 8810                                                                                                                 Rosemary Feasey, whose courses are informative, active and practical
                                                                                                                                                                                         only enhance lessons.
     hone skills as well as having the opportunity to make     choose a number to attend.                                                                                                                                                                           with loads of hands-on experiences to take back into the classroom.
                                                                                                                                 South West                                                                                                                         Delegates regularly comment on how inspiring these courses are:
     items that would be of use back in school or college.     A delegate from last year’s conference commented:                 Email:                                Delegates were able, through sponsorship by Petroleum Geoservices,
     Sue Cure, Dave Corbett and Phil Leach, science                                                                              Tel: 0845 345 3344                                      to receive a free school seismometer for use back in the classroom.
                                                               “A really fantastic day with lots of new ideas I’m sure                                                                                                                                              “An excellent course. Am going away with lots of ideas I can’t wait to
     technicians at the college, have organised a whole day                                                                                                                              During the day, delegates were shown how to install and use the
                                                               will be used at my school.”                                       West Midlands                                                                                                                      use in science lessons!”
     of hands-on activities in light of these comments.                                                                                                                                  seismometer and interpret the seismograms produced. Shortly before
     The course will take place later in the summer term                                                                                                                                 the day of the course an earthquake occurred which was detected and        Our collaboration with the BA has resulted in a ‘Celebrating Science at
                                                                                                                                 Tel: 01782 584 430
     at John Cleveland College.                                                            Delegates at Technicians Conference
                                                                                                                                                                                         the data analysed. Having ‘real life’ data to work with meant the          KS1 and KS2’ course which has run successfully for the past two years.
                                                                                                                                 Yorkshire & the Humber                                  delegates could see, at first hand, how valuable it can be and how         The course aims to provide delegates with ideas and activities to
                                                                                                                                 Email:                 lessons can be made more creative when using it. One delegate              enrich lessons, science weeks and science clubs. The inclusion of input
                                                                                                                                 Tel: 0114 225 4891                                      commented:                                                                 from our local, regional SETPOINTs has meant delegates receive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    information and additional support. A recent delegate commented:
                                                                                                                                                                                         “A very informative, eye-opening course which I hope to make use of
                                                                                                                                                                                         in the future. Excellent value for money and a well spent and              “I really enjoyed the day and have gained many useful and fun ideas.”
                                                                                                                                                                                         informative day.”

                                                                                                                                                                                         Delegates Setting up Seismometers                                          Delegates on BA course

                                                                                                                                 For details of your nearest Centre visit:
                                                                                                                                                                                          news, bursaries and courses for teachers, technicians and
     The national network of Science Learning Centres is a joint initiative by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Wellcome Trust.                     CP649_EM
                                                                                                                                                                                            Discover:                                teaching assistants across the UK. See inside to find out more.
CP649 - NSLC_April Network_V3:LORES                  18/3/08    10:25      Page 3

     Technician CPD: Research into Impact                                                                                                                                            Launch of Primary Science Quality Mark Award Pilot Scheme
                                                                                                                                                                                     Science is thriving in many primary schools. Highly committed subject leaders                                        “A well established quality mark could do much to
     Approximately 5,000 laboratory                          the four-day training courses during 2005 in the East    Specific impact:                                               are ensuring that their schools provide an excellent science education for all                                       revitalize science in primary schools.”
                                                             Midlands. Additional information was also gathered                                                                                                                                                                                           (John Holman, National Science Learning Centre,
     technicians support science teachers in                                                                          • increased technician autonomy freed up teacher               their pupils resulting in high levels of attainment and enthusiasm. But there is
                                                             from 47 other technicians at 41 schools in the region                                                                                                                                                                                        director.)
     the UK. These technicians are largely                   to act as a control group, and from teachers working
                                                                                                                        time by reducing the need for detailed briefing              no external recognition for that effort, expertise and success. There is also no
     self-taught and have acquired much of                                                                              and supervision                                              framework for development to help all schools evaluate and improve the quality                                       “Skyswood Primary School is delighted to be part of
                                                             closely with a sub-sample of course participants. Pre
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          this project as a means of raising the profile of
     their expertise through ad-hoc                          and post course questionnaires along with in-depth       • greater expertise and improved science knowledge             of their science provision.                                                                                          science throughout our school and moving the school
     mentoring by senior colleagues.                         interviews conducted before, during and after the          led to a more effective use of equipment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          forward. The launch event has helped us to clarify our
     However, very few have had any                          courses were used to explore technicians’ attitudes                                                                     Until now that is!                                          As well as celebrating good practice, the award
                                                                                                                      • increased informal CPD between technicians                                                                                                                                        understanding of the requirements at each level and
                                                             to their current jobs and career, and evaluate the                                                                                                                                  scheme aims to improve the quality and profile of
     extended training. When separate                        effect of the more formal training. Teachers who
                                                                                                                        improved skills in departments                               The Science Learning Centre East of England, in                                                                      evaluate which level our school should be working
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 science in primary schools.                              towards in order to significantly move the school
     courses were run for inexperienced and                  worked closely with them were also interviewed to        • ICT skills were cascaded by technicians to teachers
                                                                                                                                                                                     collaboration with Barnet LA and the ASE, was
                                                                                                                                                                                     delighted to launch a Primary Science Quality Mark                                                                   forward yet knowing that the award is realistic and
     experienced technicians in the East                     gauge the impact of the training courses on their                                                                                                                                   Twelve primary schools from Essex, Hertfordshire.        achievable.” (Hertfordshire head teacher)
                                                                                                                      • confidence in supporting teachers in the crucial             Award pilot scheme on 28th January.
     Midlands in 2005/06, they attracted just                departments’ work.                                                                                                                                                                  Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Barnet have now started
                                                                                                                        shortage area of physics showed a significant
     under 100 participants from the region.                                                                            statistical rise                                             The Quality Mark award scheme, builds on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 on the Quality Mark application process, as follows:     Interest is already flooding in from schools around
                                                             Impact of course on                                                                                                     successful model of Artsmark and Sportsmark, offering       1. evaluate and audit current practice against Primary   the country. If you would like to join in a trial of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quality Mark process or just find out more, please
     Recent Science Learning Centre research by Tina                                                                  Action to optimise impact                                      schools the opportunity and framework to develop and           Science Quality Mark criteria
     Jarvis, Philip Hingley and Anthony Pell has shown       school practice                                          The research also revealed that training benefits could        celebrate a school wide commitment to excellent
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2. decide which level of award to apply for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          contact Jane Turner at Science Learning Centre East
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          of England by email
     the changes in secondary technicians’ attitudes                                                                  be compromised if professional communication with              science teaching and learning.The pilot project has
     following a four-day in-service programme and           Overall impact:                                                                                                         been enthusiastically taken up by schools and Local                                                                  or telephone 01992 503498.
                                                                                                                      line managers was poor, even in situations where                                                                           3. work with LA advisory staff to develop an action
     subsequent effects on school practice. The findings     Before attending the course, the technicians showed a    personal relationships were cordial. Further joint CPD         Authorities in East England and received                       plan to achieve the quality criteria in the
     were published in the Journal of In-service Education   high level of commitment to the improvement of           to enhance efficiency and communication could be               encouragement and support from senior staff at Ofsted,         following areas
     34(1) pages 27–46. Below is a summary of their          students’ learning. After the courses, most              advantageous. It would provide an insight into the             QCA, the National Science Learning Centre, the ASE and
     findings.                                               participants’ (already high) job satisfaction and self                                                                  leading professionals in the field of primary science.The    • subject management
                                                                                                                      pedagogical process that technicians both value and
                                                             confidence had risen. Technicians showed an              seek informally through their unofficial lesson                pilot has been funded by the Wellcome Trust.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • teachers and teaching
     Research Methods                                        increased desire to follow the pedagogical process
                                                             and be present in science lessons and be more
                                                                                                                      observations. Teachers would also have much-needed
                                                                                                                      access to their technicians’ health and safety                                                                              • pupils and learning
     The research project focused on investigating the       proactive and engaged in decision-making at              knowledge in an authentic context.                                                                                          • broader opportunities
     changing attitudes of 40 technicians who attended       department and school level.
                                                                                                                                                         Technicians on CPD course                                                                • science at your school
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 4. follow action plan and assemble evidence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 5. by October submit evidence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 6. January 2009 receive Primary Science Quality Mark
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    award and wear it with pride!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 While the schools are busy improving practice and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 assembling evidence, the Quality Mark project leaders
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 will be evaluating the process and its impact. Their
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 aim is to demonstrate the need for a national Primary
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Science Quality Mark and attract funding for a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 national roll out of the project.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 So watch this space! This is a project that will make
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 a difference.                                            Delegates on a primary science conference

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 range of courses to contextualise the scientific         Impact Awards to cover the cost of the
                                                                                                                                                                                     Contemporary                                                concepts and the teaching and learning of How
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Science Works. Contemporary science topics include
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          course fees are available for delegates from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          maintained schools. To find out more, visit

                                                                                                                                                                                     Science                                                     astrophysics, climate change, genetics, alternative
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 technologies, nanotechnology and new materials.

                                                                                                                                                                                     Courses in your region
                                                                                                                                                                                     Reconnecting science teachers with their subject
                                                                                                                                                                                     knowledge is at the heart of our secondary
                                                                                                                                                                                     development programme. The contemporary science
                                                                                                                                                                                     theme aims to develop the confidence of teachers to
                                                                                                                                                                                     address modern science and related matters
                                                                                                                                                                                     pertaining to scientific literacy. Developed in
                                                                                                                                                                                     consultation with leading scientists and their
                                                                                                                                                                                     professional bodies, CPD within this theme provides
                                                                                                                                                                                     teachers with up-to-date subject knowledge and
                                                                                                                                                                                     practical expertise in new and emerging areas of
                                                                                                                                                                                     science and its applications and implications.

                                                                                                                                                                                     In the summer term, through the continued support
                                                                                                                                                                                     of Research Councils UK (RCUK), we will be offering a