Hill West Primary School, part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), has joined a group of 180 schools nationally to have been awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark for outstanding teaching and learning in science.
PSQM is an award scheme to enable primary schools across the UK to evaluate, strengthen and celebrate their science provision. Hill West was keen to embark on the programme to celebrate its highly successful work in science and to raise the profile of STEM subjects across school. STEM is the acronym used in England for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
STEM subjects are a central plank in developing the UK’s skills base. Specialist knowledge in these subjects not only underpins many high-tech sectors – such as IT and engineering – but is also important for creativity and developing new ideas. STEM skills are important across different career paths and other aspects of life. At the specialist end, the supply of high-skilled STEM graduates contributes to the competitiveness and productivity of the economy; but at other levels, elements of STEM skills are needed to take part in many aspects of life and society. STEM-related knowledge and skills are necessary across nearly all areas of employment and are crucial in many sectors. Schools and colleges have an important role in the STEM skills supply chain, both in nurturing enough students to the necessary attainment level (and with the necessary enthusiasm) to continue to study these subjects beyond school and college, and in developing a range of abilities in STEM-related areas more generally for all young people.
By embarking a year long process of evaluation and improvement Hill West was able, not only, to raise the profile of science across school, but share this practice more widely through the Arthur Terry Teaching School Alliance. The alliance saw a number of primary schools join together to accelerate progress and achievement of children in science. By working with existing science networks and facilitating new science networks, Hill West was able to access a rich data base of excellent practice in science.
Dr Warrack, science subject lead at Hill West School, said:
Being involved in PSQM this year has had a massive impact on the development of science, not only in my school, but also in the other schools that I have been able to support.
The PSQM reviewer of Hill West’s evidence submissions said: “There is a rich, deep range of evidence presented with appropriate commentary to explain it. The evidence clearly demonstrates impact across the whole school (Silver) and great feedback from colleagues in other schools demonstrates the wider impact (Gold).
Headteacher Dr Beth Clarke said:
I am absolutely delighted that we have achieved the Gold award: it is a testimony to the hard work and enthusiasm of all the Hill West Staff, who have elevated science teaching so that now children ‘love science’ at our school.”
The Primary Science Quality Mark is led by the University of Hertfordshire, School of Education in partnership with the Primary Science Teaching Trust. It is supported by the Royal Society for Chemistry, the Ogden Trust and the Association for Science Education.
Jane Turner, PSQM national director said:
Gaining a Primary Science Quality Award is a significant achievement for a school. The profile and quality of science teaching and learning in each awarded school is very high. Children are engaging with great science both in and outside the classroom, developing positive attitudes towards science as well as secure science understanding and skills. Science subject leaders, their colleagues, head teachers, children, parents and governors should be very proud.”