New primary science curriculum ASE course

Details of the course
The New Primary Science Curriculum – what should it look like in the classroom?
Saturday 9 November 2013, 9.15am-12.30pm at Riverside Community Primary School, Leicestershire.

What are the changes in the Primary curriculum? How much will you have to change your practice? How can you use it to promote better science teaching across your primary school?
The main session by our popular and successful presenter will be authoritive, down to earth, and full of ideas that relate to the reality of the primary school. It will cover the impact of the new primary science curriculum and what it actually means for those of us teaching it in the classroom.

Presenter: Nicola Beverley
ASE North and East Midlands Region and Education CPD+ jointly present:
This session is suitable for everyone teaching in a primary school, not just science co-ordinators. Students, Teaching assistants, tutors and non members are welcome.

And also a brief introduction to
Richard III – A Cross Curricular outreach resource from Leicester University Presented by Charlotte Barratt
The presentation will demonstrate what is available for year 5 and 6 pupils, developed by the genetics and archaeology departments, related to the discovery and verification of the remains of Richard III in a Leicester car park. A good chance to include a local and topical issue into your school, as expected by OFSTED.

A super start by meeting Hannah Boydon (@boydon1967) as I walked in, always lovely to meet fellow tweechers in person!

The meeting was packed with lots of students but a huge number of teaching staff too.

Nicola Beverly started with some inspiration from David Attenborough

Great introduction for living things, ask children to link these clips to their own experience of science.

History of the curriculum development from Nicola, she recommends very strongly uh at you make sure you have the final version that was released in September 2013. Anne Goldsworthy was instrumental in shaping the new curriculum and her blog looks very interesting http://annegoldsworthy.wordpress.comAnne Goldsworthy .

News from the DfE
New curriculum from 2014, except yr 6 and 2 that follow existing NC, year 3/4 may be disapplied if schools want to explore new curriculum this year. Levels will be removed, first new tests in English, maths, science, will be in summer 2016. Sample questions available from summer 2014. Sample testing for science will continue biennially, levelled this year, but next time without levels.

Look to Primary Quality Science Mark gold schools as centres for sharing good practice in new curriculum and its assessment. Publishers are looking to a support the new curriculum but must remember that anything available now will be very unlikely to have the the new curriculum embedded properly within it.

Looking at age related expectation against programs of study. Age related in terms of year groups not chronological age. Curriculum mastery model, need to look for progress and mastery at mid key stage two as well says year 6. On track, mastered or exceeded. Feels very similarly to the foundation stage curriculum. Strong element of teacher assessment.

When looking at the curriculum don’t forget to look at the introduction. Many positives here, including : flexibility to move content within the Key Stages, speaking and listening (in both key stages) and good links to maths.

Getting ready for the new curriculum

  • Working scientifically – new version of scientific enquiry
    Review long term mapping for the science curriculum in school.
    Identify our own, and colleagues CPD to develop subject knowledge.
  • Working scientifically
    Must be thoroughly integrated, not taught separately. Notes and guidance within the programmes of study show how this can be embedded, do not use the examples as a scheme, can work outside this.
    5 types of enquiry mentioned in each overview of the year group summaries.
    Ways to answer their OWN questions (even in KS1)
    1. Observing changes over time
    2. Noticing patterns
    3. Grouping and classifying
    4. Simple comparative tests (including fair tests with controlled variables and comparative tests)
    5. Finding out by using secondary sources (research)

    Good exercise to do with staff is a sorting exercise – list of questions that children might ask and then think how we could address these working scientifically. Resources is available from Nicola, add in some questions from our children. Or generate a quality question for each type of enquiry from a object like a plant.


  • are the skills of working scientifically embedded within the school?
    Are you teaching the full range of enquiry types?
    Is there progression in working scientifically?
    Are the children’s questions used?
  • Working scientifically is a good place to start thinking about the new curriculum and something we can start to introduce now.

    Programme of study
    Long term projects encouraged, planting seeds that grow over several months, not just having to use cress because it grows quickly. Handout shows how progression works across the year and across different years. Big implications for planning! Revisit over the year, quality learning child centred learning is possible and in fact encouraged. Huge opportunities to expand but big implications for building on knowledge developed every year.

    Changing world
    Are children experiencing Our Changing World? Over TIME.
    Outdoor learning – a key area to develop
    Do they can can they grow things? Not just KS1! Observing change over an entire growing season.
    How is seasonal change celebrated?
    Woodland trust native detectives have some great materials for good scientific enquiry outdoors, RSPB, butterfly trust.

    Curriculum is a basic entitlement, not the whole story (particularly at key stage one). Must be embedded in our situation and circumstances.

    ASE business
    ASE curriculum in January. Saturday session is primary focused. Support for PQSM, accreditation through ASE for recognition in science education. Fast track to registered science teacher with 2 years experience plus science degree.

    Charlotte Barratt
    University of Leicester – Richard III cross curricular outreach
    All free 🙂 just transport costs if you are going to the university.
    Very interdisciplinary discovery – archaeology, genetics, engineering, history, English, maths, medieval research, law.
    Each of those university departments have well establish outreach course and resources for schools. Working with the Leicester museums, cathedral and county council heritage services. Working with the dig site and the Guild Hall.

    Offering year 5/6 campus sessions for genetics and archaeology. Sessions at botanic gardens (uses of plants and seeds), downloadable resources online. Master classes in Shakespeare. Will also skype chat with schools with archaeologists from the dig. Covers local heritage for new national curriculum. Fits with history elements for medieval period, famous person.

    Online resources and lesson plans : University of Leicester Richard III outreach

    Free book with the session today looks useful:




    Leicester University PGCE ICT conference 2013 #lupgceict2013

    Today I’m speaking at the Leicester University PGCE ICT conference instead of being back with my year 4 class for the beginning of the summer term. As a 2012 Leicester University PGCE graduate, two-thirds of my way through my NQT year, the opportunity to share how I am using ICT in my classroom was a great chance to reflect on how I am teaching ICT.

    Using Scoopit and Pinterest to collect resources cc @tricias

    I have used Scoopit as a quick way of putting a page of links for children to use for research before. Here are two examples for years 3/4:

    Vikings  : Vicious Vikings (used last term for our Invaders and settlers theme)

    Tudors: Terrible tudors (this formed the basis of my ICT research project during my PGCE)

    I have also started collecting ideas on Pinterest when a fellow student showed me her collection. These tend to be much more image based and as Pinterest is blocked in school, are usually for my own ideas. I started using it to gather ideas for my classroom, but it is particularly good for art (ideas for arts week themed around Diwali) and any sort of poster or display resource you could ever want!

    For curriculum ideas, I collected pictures of maps and resources for our Around the World theme this term.

    Beginning my second NQT term

    Yawning koala bear by National Media Museum
    No known copyright restrictions

    I’m not going to apologise for the lack of posts over the last two months, my first term as an NQT has been pretty overwhelming. The TES New Teachers supplement this week struck a resounding chord this morning. Phil Beadle has one of the best descriptions I’ve read of what the teaching workload entails:

    “You are trying to do a job in which the amount of work you have to do is obviously not possible in a normal person’s waking hours… There is no other job that routinely and blithely expects you to run yourself so far past the point of exhaustion that you look back on exhaustion with overly fond eyes.”

    So, here I am. I had a proper break at Christmas and managed to spend a considerable block of time planning and thinking. This has bought me some time in the rush of the first week back and I have resolved to keep ahead of myself. I’ve mapped out when I should do the rest of my planning for the rest of this (very short!) half-term and so my diary popped up this morning and told me what I needed to do.

    There is little time to stop and think, let alone reflect in the week. I used to enjoy writing weekly reflections on teaching practice and realised how they improved my teaching. So, I’m back here, thinking aloud.

    My two main targets for myself this half term are:

    1. Improve my maths planning (and hopefully become more comfortable with it, it is a very painful process at the moment!).
    2. A focus on behaviour and raising expectations for quality and quantity of work.

    So this week:

    1. Maths – I have been very slow to work with groups of children in a focussed way, this is finally kicking in properly  this week and it has made a massive difference to my understanding of what the children need. I can see that I overcomplicate my planning, teaching and activities. For example, on Thursday, I was teaching written addition methods, the middle attaining children used a Google maths map I made to find sums to do (based on Tom Barrett’s collaborative maps). Whilst they loved exploring the map, they struggled with maneuvering effectively to be able to read the questions, and only one pair managed to do more than two sums in the time we had which clearly didn’t make for much time for learning the written method. In contrast, yesterday I was teaching written methods for subtraction and used a simple table of distances of cities from Leicester with a few questions where the children had to subtract on distance from another, then write a question of their own and swap to try someone else’s question. This worked much better, there was more work completed and when marking I could see which children had understood the method (counting on) and which needed more help. It is slowly sinking in that I need to narrow my learning objectives and the narrow the task to fit it (something my mentor has been trying to tell me for some time, but now I’ve finally seen what she means in action it will hopefully click).

    2. Behaviour – this has been along hard slog for me and will continue to be for the rest of the year. I am trying to accept this and steel myself to the relentlessness of it. Over the holidays I thought a lot about how I have much higher expectations of  my own children than I do of the children in my class. Having twins meant that I quickly had to  learn to make rules and stick to them. I realised I had fallen into the trap of thinking that it is too hard to expect the children to do X or Y and I would work up gradually to it. I would fix it later, it would do ‘for now’. I never did that with my own children, they were expected to behave in the way I wanted and there was never any compromise, I did it there and then, I didn’t put it off. Why have I been different with my class? I’m not sure, but something clicked over the holidays and I tried to start the new term as I meant to go on, with high expectations and no excuses. I know it will be difficult to stick to, but I also know that they have improved already and we can only keep getting better. I am responsible for how they behave.

    (I should perhaps say that I am not dealing with any severe behaviour problems, and I am well aware that behaviour is very subjective, and as NQT I realise that I will be learning about this for years to come. My class have a lot of low-level disruption, are very good at talking and very noisy during transitions. Standards for behaviour in my school are high and when I compare my class to those around the school I can see we have a lot of work to do.)

    In terms of surviving to Easter, I’ve booked the first night of half term away with my family visit Stratford on Avon and take the girls to their first RSC production (The Winter’s tale).  We have our oldest friends coming for lunch next Sunday and my parents are coming to watch our daughter in her ballet show the weekend after. My mum is retired teacher and even though she lives 120 miles away, has regularly booked herself in to visit us. She turns up, cleans the house, does all the ironing and puts a week’s worth of delicious home cooked meals in the freezer just at the points when I thought I couldn’t go on. She is amazing. My husband deserves a mention too, he has taken over the large majority of the child care, all the grocery shopping and most of the washing with out a fuss and without complaint. He is beyond amazing.  So, I have lovely treats to look forward to, a great support network at home, purposeful days that I can take ‘off’ and spend time with my family, allowing me to work the rest of the time knowing I will get a proper break at least once a week.

    Finally, I think the time has come for me to admit that I find being a novice incredibly hard. Much harder than I  was prepared for. I was very good at my job before, I was used to praise and thanks on a daily basis. Teaching is an incredibly lonely profession and there is something that doesn’t go well or right every day, or many times a day. I am very slowly learning how to be resilient and cope with this, and while my ability to be self-critical is essential to my improvement and development as a teacher, I have a tendency to dwell on my failures too long instead of learning from them, moving on and trying again. Blogging is a way for me to try to record my successes, and exorcise the problems in public so they don’t eat away at me. I’ve been conscious that I have felt I should spend my time working on other things at the weekends and not blogging. This has been an hour spent thinking about my teaching this week. I think it is worth it. Time will tell.

    Google Teacher Academy 6 month reflection #GTAUK

    Google Certified Teacher

    I can’t believe that only 6 months have passed since I attend the Google  Teacher Academy in London in April earlier this year. Since then, I have visited Slovakia on a European Teacher Trainee exchange, qualified as a primary school teacher and started my first teaching position with a class of 36 energetic and inspiring year 4 children (8-9 years old).

    As I am just starting as a newly qualified teacher, the technology I love has had to take a back seat while I establish classroom routines, conquer a myriad of behaviour management techniques and generally cope with the 1001 things that you need to do as a classroom teacher that never occurred to you as a student. However, I have been very fortunate to find a position where the Senior Leadership not only support my interest in technology but actively encourage it and slowly I’ve started to have time to get our Google Apps account up and running. We have started three class blogs this week and have made blogs to share learning logs (homework) and the marvellous moments we have in school. One of the blogs is for my class, the other two are for the classes taught by the senior leadership team (foundation and year 6). It has been wonderfully inspiring to help them get started on this journey.

    We will be publicising the blogs to our parents soon, having first built up a few teacher-written posts. Once permissions are sorted out from parents, we can start to give the children accounts and they will be able to write blog posts and comments themselves. So far we are on track for developing blogging at the school over the coming year.

    Without attending GTAUK, I don’t think I would have had the confidence to set up the Google Apps for Education account myself. The Google Certified Teachers I met in London have been an amazing source of wisdom, help and advice. I hope that with this support and the encouragement of my senior leadership team, our use of technology in school will be transformed by the end of the school year to be relevant to children, practical and easy to update, child-led and reach out beyond the physical school and into the wider community beyond.

    Trying out a stimulus for writing

    I am now into the second literacy unit of the term, recounts and newspapers. For a change, this is a unit I taught part of before, when I was on my second teaching placement. That has really helped me feel much more comfortable with the content and what the children may be expected to know already and where they may have problems. During my placement, we linked the final writing phase to our theme, which was Tudors, and the children wrote about the sinking of the Mary Rose. Whilst they coped well with the technical aspects of newspaper writing (using a headline, paragraphs, reported speech) they had a lot of questions about the actual facts of the story.

    When discussing the timing of my unit with my mentor last week, I realised that I needed to condense the unit a little to make space for us to write our Christmas play next week (yes, Christmas already!!). I was worried that I would not have enough time for the children to get to know the story I wanted them to report on. Our theme this half term is aliens, so I was looking to Newsround’s space week to get some ideas, and a twitter colleague (TeaKayB) had kindly offered to answer any astronomy questions we had (by the way, I highly recommend his blog for any space questions you may have!!).  Unfortunately we felt I didn’t have time to investigate a story, think of questions and get answers, so my mentor suggested a situation stimulus instead. I was a little hesitant as I had tried to set something up like this before and the children didn’t seem to want to suspend their disbelief to get into it and fire their imagination. However, I wanted to give it another try and my mentor encouraged me to give it a go.

    So this morning, I set up the classroom. I used only a few props – an old hard drive that was broken and in pieces, a clockwork toy, a stone, some slime that my daughters had made in mad science and some dry porridge oats. I turned over a few chairs and opened a window. I then took some photos using the class iPad, making them from odd angles and blurring them. I had made some ‘tentacles’ from play dough rolled in oats, and used these to add into the photos. I left a talk tracker on the table with a message from the intruder (this sounded brilliant – it was the text-to-speech accessibility option on our old mac on a robot sounding voice that read a sentence I wrote).

    I shut the classroom door and just told the children that there was a problem with the classroom and that  they needed to go into the hall for registration. I explained that something had happened and the classroom was in a mess. I asked them to investigate with me and let them into the room altogether. The buzz and the questions were amazing! They found the talk tracker and the message straight away and the children were very concerned about my iPad, as they knew I didn’t let it out of the case and it was discarded on the windowsill.

    I uploaded the photos from the iPad to the whiteboard and this gave us a chance to come together and think about what might have happened. I put four pieces of paper around the room labelled  who, where, what and when and asked them to write their ideas down. We gathered these together and I created a plan for the article whilst the children magpied ideas on their whiteboards.

    We set up blogs for some of our classes at the weekend, so I’ve added an entry on our class blog tonight (you can see the iPad photos and listen to the message from the alien there). To encourage writing for an audience I’ve told the children their final articles will be shared on that blog, and we will choose the best one to go in the school newspaper. The rest will be copied and bound into a class newspaper.

    I can’t wait to see what effect this stimulus has on their writing! It certainly inspired me, and the children were full of questions all day. I always assumed before that stimuli like this for writing needed to be spectacular, with masses of props that took ages to set up. In fact, with just a few props from home, a bit of technology and a genuine look of shock on my face, the children were completely taken up in what we were doing.

    Reflecting on my reflections… #pgce

    This is the second of two posts in which I want to reflect back on my experience as a PGCE student. (First post was about using Turnitin as student).

    I started this blog whilst working as an elearning technologist to share ideas, research and my thoughts. I worked on several projects with Alan Cann (+Alan Cann) about encouraging undergraduates to reflect on their learning. Of course, once I started my PGCE, it was my turn to reflect.

    After a rather demoralising week in my final placement, I wrote my weekly reflection and sent it to my visiting tutor as usual. He sent me this response:

    A very professional and exemplary reflection! You will make an excellent teacher not least because of your ability and willingness to look at your practice on both a micro and macro level.I really hope you find that you can consolidate this thinking into your practice over the final week. Good luck!!

    It was wonderful to have some positive feedback and it made me realise just how far I’ve come. Reflection is something that is very personal, and I had always intended that my weekly PGCE reflections would be open and all online on this blog. In the majority of cases, this hasn’t felt appropriate, and having read a great summary of what looks like an interesting paper on a typology of reflection (via Zara Hooley) it is maybe because many of my reflections as a trainee teacher fell into the confessional category ! (See Reflexive Management Learning : An Integrative Review and a Conceptual Typology in the June 2012 issue of Human Resource Development Review 11(2).)

    When I look back at my early reflections, particularly those about the course rather than teaching placement, (e.g.Reflecting in public) they are much closer to a diary with the odd comment into themes running across the teaching we received. This latest reflection (with only two weeks to go on the course) is a completely different animal altogether. My weekly reflection has become the place that I analyse my teaching, its effect on the children’s learning and my wishes to change my practice and how I will implement those changes in the future.

    I know that many other PGCE students have struggled with reflections and asked for exemplars to see what they should be aiming for. The response from the staff has always been that reflection is personal and so sharing exemplars would be pointless. However, amongst us we have shared reflections with one another. I know that Alan has tried to demonstrate reflection by actively modelling it online using social media, and it would have been massively helpful to have access to this sort of support and personal feedback. Twitter does provide a space to reflect with peers and get advice from more experienced colleagues, but is usually not as in-depth as is needed for a PGCE course.

    I thought it would be useful to add links here to some of my public ones:

    and from my fifth week in my third and final teaching placement:

    Overall progress

    This week I have settled into more of a standard routine of teaching the whole class on an 80% basis. Whilst I have developed my written planning to use weekly plans for maths and literacy, I feel that I have not has as much time or opportunity to reflect on my teaching and it’s impact on the children’s learning.

    Behaviour management

    I stuck to the behaviour management system, making use of the visual representation on the board of the different levels of sanctions. I restated the rules and my expectations clearly at the beginning of the week, particularly as two boys had been away for two weeks before the half term holiday and had not been taught by me for any length of time. I quickly settled back in to using the system rigorously and noticed that by Wednesday children’s eyes were already flicking to the board and the visual representation of the system behind me whenever I called out their name to be quiet when I expected it to. However, towards the end of the week this began to slip, as I was feeling tired and constantly writing names down or calling them out was interrupting the flow of my thought when talking to the class. It wasn’t until I discussed the class motivation in my observed lesson with my tutor on Thursday that I realised I had been concentrating so hard on the behaviour system that I had forgotten that the other main element of managing behaviour is having appropriate and engaging tasks for the children to complete. As I have been moving through different topics in maths and literacy, I am still finding out a great deal about the children’s attainment and ability to work together. I have therefore not always been applying this knowledge to change the activities I have been setting during the main part of the lessons.

    Having talked it through and reflected on this discussion over the last two evenings, I can see that I have grasped the classroom management techniques for reinforcing my expectations for behaviour but that I now need to combine this with more engaging tasks at appropriate levels. Combined, these should help the flow of my lessons and enable me to move forward more quickly. I had even commented to the children on Friday that the constant stopping to ask for attention was getting boring – and they agreed! This week I will review my weekly plans very carefully to ensure that the activities are well thought through, aligned to the learning objective and that I am sure of what the children will achieve and how they will carry it out. (Q31, Q25a).


    For various reasons I have had less opportunity to discuss my lessons with my mentor or LSA this week. Looking back over the week, I think that this has led me to reflect less on my teaching and the children’s learning. When I have my own class next year, I realise that I will need to seek out my NQT mentor to discuss my teaching regularly. I have found that talking my lessons through, even quickly, really does help to move me forward and develop further (Q7a, Q7b, Q9).

    Purpose and timing

    Whilst I am often clear in my own mind about the purpose and timing of work to be completed by the children, I do not always explicitly share this with the class, particularly when planned to be carried out over several days. This leads to the children not having an overview of their work, or ownership, in that they do not know how long to spend on tasks as they are not sure when we will move onto the next piece of work. This leads in turn to children repeatedly asking me when they finish a piece of work and if they can work on various pieces at other times of the day. I will endeavour to share the bigger picture with children for my final week of lessons (Q29, Q25b).

    The wider aims of my teaching

    A discussion with my tutor this week and the publication of the draft primary national curriculum this week has caused me to think more deeply about the wider purpose of my teaching. It is easy to slip in to a very narrow view, particularly when working on a fixed length placement with a ‘borrowed’ class. There are several times that I have realised that with my own class there will be certain routines that I will want to establish when I have the opportunity to work with them over a longer period of time. These will include practical things such as where workbooks are stored, how they given out and collected in, how whiteboards and other classroom resources are used and accessed. I have also thought about how I would like to set a homepage on the classroom PCs that provides children with 3 or 4 quick activities that they can do to productively work on during spare time in the day (such as typing skills, or google search techniques), and how I would like to add access to podcasts of stories and audio books to my guided reading sessions.

    Some of these practical elements have a wider impact, however. I tried to ban the use of rubbers when I was teaching the year 5 children in the community room during SATs. This worked while we were away from the main classroom, but I failed to continue to use it in once working with the whole class, as there were just too many rubbers (and sources of children’s own rubbers!) to deal with. In my own classroom I will not allow rubbers (and I already know that they are not permitted in the school except for art). The practical impact is for children to work more quickly, rather than spending time looking for rubbers and then reworking something they had already done. The wider philosophical aspect, however, is much more important to me. I would like to encourage a feeling in my classroom that it is a safe place to make mistakes, that in fact, mistakes and risk taking is encouraged. A place where as a teacher I can see the mistakes that children make and praise them for learning from them.

    Whilst I have a clear idea about the wider principles I would like children to develop in maths over their year with me, such as reasoning, explanations and application, I am not as certain about the language skills that I would like to develop. I have so far taken a rather functional approach to teaching literacy and grammar, and not concentrated on the wider richness of language and development of a love a reading or writing. Interestingly, a similar argument is happening around the draft national curriculum proposals, and the author Michael Rosen’s blog on the topic of grammar rules this week, struck a chord with the discussion I had with my tutor this week ( He argues that teaching grammar only by a set of rules denies the joy and pleasure of the English language. I think this is an area that I will develop more confidence in as I teach more, but I will seek some input from my NQT mentor and literacy co-ordinator on the school’s wider aims for skills development in literacy which will help to guide me initially. (Q14, Q17)

    [note the ‘Q14′ etc. refers to the teaching standards that we need to meet as trainees. These are changing in September 2012 and some tutors have asked for them to be referenced in reflections, whilst others have explicitly asked for them to be removed]