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 ūüôā 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.

    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.

    Beebot Olympics and Maths project: Design an Olympic stadium #ukedchat

    olympic torch

    I managed to join in #ukedchat last night which was about cross-curricula planning for the Olympics. I tweet two ideas (neither of them mine!), and a few people were interested in more details, so here they are with the proper credits too!

    1. Beebot Olympics (via Doug Dickinson @orunner)

    This is a great idea from Doug that he suggested in our last ICT session with him. Steal the BeeBots from reception and get KS2 children working with them. The idea is to have the¬†children¬†to create challenges for one another (Olympic events) and then run a competition to see who can score the most points and win the gold. Suggested activities here, but I’m sure that children could come up with some of their own! Perhaps a long jump? Can you get your Beetbot to go the furthest within a set area, not going over the end line from a standing start?

    Using a 6 Bot set. Divide class into 6 groups

    Can be made to score points … better as a set of experiences

    Activity 1                        Bulls eye target

    • Put a ‚Äėbulls eye‚Äô target out and a big stating circle
    • Bot starts outside the big circle and tries to score as many points as possible in 3 mins
    • It must come back the way it went and pause for 5 seconds inside the target

     Activity 2                        There and back

    • Start line and 3 lines various distances away
    • Bot programmed to get over first line
    • And back over start
    • Then programmed to go over second and back over start
    • Then over third and back over start

     Activity 3                        Point and go

    • A set of circles spaced around a central circle
    • Team must aim Bot to PAUSE inside each circle
    • Programmed one at a time

     Activity 4                        Maze

    • Use skipping ropes to design a simple maze
    • Pilot Bot through by direct programming one section at a time

    Activity 5                        Dice Bot

    • A 20 number line
    • Bot starts on arrow
    • Throw die and program Bot to move to that square
    • CLEAR
    • Throw die again and reprogram
    • CLEAR each time
    • Repeat until Bot passes 20

     Activity 6            Bot Zig

    • Starting circle
    • 4 cones
    • Bot to be programmed to zig zag around cones and run straight back


    2. Maths project to design an Olympic Stadium (via @keilystrett)

    This sprang from an idea that Keily has used with her year 6 class for some time to consolidate and apply maths skills. I’m teaching a mixed year 5/6 class on my final placement and just finishing off National Numeracy Strategy block D unit 3. She suggested doing some project work in the last week of my placement so I could work with some guided groups on areas that children had difficulty with earlier in the block while providing some challenge and independent work for the everyone. She asks children to design their ideal bedroom, starting with a set area for the floor space, then introducing a budget to fill the room with furniture. Over a few days, she varies the tasks by introducing sales or budget cuts (using percentages), restricts the value of some items to a maximum, asks them to decorate and work out the amount of paint or wall paper needed (using area). I thought this was a great idea and as our theme at school was the Olympics this term, I thought I could do something similar with an Olympic stadium. Here are my ideas so far for the week:

    Day 1: Start the investigation: set the challenge of designing a new Olympic stadium. Limit the stadium to a particular  area and/or perimeter (the size of their building plot) . Children to research what shape different stadia are and how they would work out their areas.

    Day 2:¬†Budgeting ‚Äď buying equipment to go in the stadium ‚Äď use calculators (Keily usually uses a few Argos or other catalogues for this, but I think I’ll need the children to look online for sports equipment specialists!)

    Day 3:¬†Budgeting ‚Äď work out discounts and restrictions on various items (no single item over ¬£x)

    Day 4: Measurement/ conversions: Running track to be changed from m to km, mm, cm.

    Day 5: Design a scale to measure the long jump or pole vault.

    Another idea from last night was to work on angles – this could include angles for throwing games like shot put, javelin.

    Any other suggestions or ideas would be most welcome! I’d like to leave it fairly open for the children to take in a direction that inspires them, so they may design football pitches, beach volley ball pitches or maybe even white water rapid courses! Who knows?

    (note: Image found and created using which automatically adds a stamp with the attribution to any image you find)

    End of second teaching placement #PGCE

    I haven’t blogged much since I’ve been on my second teaching placement, I just haven’t had the time or energy! A lot has happened in the intervening time. I’ve progressed as a teacher, under the expert eye of my excellent Mentor, I’ve been selected to be part of a European Mobility programme for initial teacher training and will be going to visit schools in Slovakia in April, and last week I¬†succeeded¬†in getting a job!

    I thought it was worth posting some sections from my overall reflection on this teaching placement.

    My teaching style

    I was very fortunate to have an interview for a job and succeed in getting the post during my last week on my second placement. During the interview I was asked to describe my teaching style. Throughout the PGCE we have been encouraged to think about our classroom philosophy and teaching styles and express these in our professional autobiographies (and ultimately for our job application letters). Up until the interview this is a question I have always struggled with, perhaps because I had not seen many styles of teaching or been able to recognise the ethos of a school or classroom. However, being forced to describe my style under pressure I surprised myself and came up with something that is probably fairly close to how I hope I teach. I felt that I was calm and tried to foster an atmosphere where trying to think or working through a problem was more important than getting the right answer. I said I wanted to create an environment in which children felt safe to take risks and make mistakes, be independent and creative. I felt that my relationship with the children was the most important part of my teaching, that there was mutual trust and respect.


    One of the main realisations that I know will help me progress in my next placement is that I need to establish myself in the classroom quickly by following and applying the school discipline policy immediately. Once the children had become used to having me in the classroom they began to test my boundaries to see how I would respond. It took me three weeks before I really bit the bullet and used the sanction system in the school properly, consistently and followed through with my actions. Once I started, the children responded by meeting my expectations for behaviour and I could work much more effectively with them and concentrate on questioning, assessment and delivery during lessons.  On my next placement, I will ask my Mentor what strategies they used to establish themselves with the class when they started working together in September. I think one of the problems I had was that I saw strategies my Mentor was using and copied those, not realising that she had used the full sanction system repeatedly at the beginning of the year. When we discussed this, it was clear that I needed to be much more strict as I did not have the long history of trust and boundaries that she had built with her class from the beginning of the year.  On my next placement this will be even more important, as the teacher will have worked with their class for a nearly a whole year.