Schoolchildren to gain a head start in science thanks to £90,000 grant

An innovative new project is seeking to sharpen the science skills of schoolchildren in Northumberland.

By David Sedgwick
Monday, 11th April 2022, 8:00 am
An innovative new project is seeking to sharpen the science skills of schoolchildren.
An innovative new project is seeking to sharpen the science skills of schoolchildren.

A grant of £90,000 from education charity SHINE, through a partnership with regional schools’ network Schools North East, a programme is being introduced designed to give pupils the skills they need to succeed in biology, chemistry, and physics when they move to secondary.

The scheme will see secondary school science teachers working alongside primary school staff to create a new science curriculum.

It is being developed to “bridge the gap” that currently exists between primary and secondary school.

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St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, in Bedlington, is taking part, along with five primary schools in Newcastle and being led by Sacred Heart High School.

Sacred Heart High School science teacher Alex Robertson said: “This is not about telling primary school teachers how to do their job.

“What we are doing is giving help and support to these teachers and providing them with the resources they need.

"It is very much a collaborative effort. We will provide training in the areas that they will find of most use.”

Over the first year of the three-year programme, a new science curriculum will be created, and Mr Robertson says creating new science lessons for the primary schools is a “mammoth task”, involving between 20 and 25 lessons per year, in biology, chemistry and physics.

Dr Helen Rafferty, Interim CEO of SHINE, said: “We know that science lessons in primary school can be fun, engaging and rewarding, as well as developing essential skills that children need to progress in secondary school and beyond.

"I am thrilled that we are supporting this exciting project to bring together primary and secondary schools to ensure that children have the very best experience of science.

"We’re very much looking forward to seeing the programme develop and learning more about the impact.”

Chris Zarraga, Director, Schools North East, said: “Schools North East are delighted that the skills and innovation of North East schools are being developed to create solutions to problems that are genuinely fit for the context they are going to be used in.

"It's clear from this initiative that North East schools can lead the nation on this and that gaps can be successfully bridged from primary to secondary schools.”