primary & secondary education

Science Teaching in Schools: Raising Standards and Attainment

primary & secondary education

08:45 - 16:30

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer 10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.


This Forum provides an opportunity to examine and learn from outstanding, innovative forms of science teaching in an attempt to raise science attainment levels. Attendees will have the chance to hear from leading experts such as The Association for Science Education and OCR on implementing successful practical science and the impact that recent assessment reforms have had on teaching and learning. In addition, best practice case studies and a workshop will demonstrate success in increasing engagement in science, making science applicable across the entire curriculum and designing and delivering innovative science curricula through promoting professional development to raise attainment across the field of science.


This Forum is designed for secondary schools, academies and sixth forms. Typical job titles will include:

  • Directors of Science
  • Heads of Science
  • Headteachers
  • Deputy and Assistant Headteachers
  • Science Teachers
  • Curriculum Managers
  • Subject Coordinators
  • STEM Ambassadors
  • Science Learning Partners

This event is also open to the Further Education to encourage networking and discussion.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Hannah Russell, CEO, The Association for Science Education (ASE)
  • Andy Brunning, Subject Advisor, OCR
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to PISA 2018 findings, there has been no improvement in science teaching and learning for 13 years, with pupil performance in science reversing, from 512 to 507 in the PISA test.

According to 2018 research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), England’s schools are facing a severe shortage of science teachers, with a particular issue in recruitment and retention. Furthermore, 2018 research by STEM Learning discovered that 73% of businesses have found it more difficult than ever to hire employers in the last 12 months, signifying the lack of pupils with the correct STEM skill set.  As a result, the government also released the 2018 ‘Work with local partners to develop science teaching in your school’ guidance. The key findings in the guidance is that localised Science Learning Partnerships (SLPs) improve science teaching, including facilitating CPD and providing support for schools to increase the take-up of GCSE triple science. It details how schools can make use of SLPs and bring together local expertise to offer continuing professional development (CPD), best practice guidance, online resources and tailored in-school support.

To address the lack of skills in STEM subjects among school leavers, STEM Learning developed the 2019 collection of ‘BEST resources’ for teachers to help improve pupil performance and attainment. The key components of the research included working with children to building on preconceptions, self-regulation, modelling, memory, practical science, the language of science and feedback.

It is therefore vital that schools across the UK ensure they are improving science teaching through strengthening teacher knowledge and cultivating specialist skills. Failure to do so could result in the future workforce being inadequately equipped to deal with the growing demand for science skills in the labour market.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Michael Reiss, Professor of Science Education, University College London (UCL) (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Slido Session

The day will begin with a 10 minute interactive session, led by the Chair, in which delegates will be able to raise key concerns and inform the Chair of what they would like to discuss during the course of the day, guiding the debate and directing the conversation.


Morning Keynote: Outlining the Government’s Vision for Improving Science Teaching in Schools

  • Learning how science teachers can use the ‘School workload reduction toolkit 2018’ to manage behaviour, wellbeing and curriculum planning and apply the toolkit to their context
  • Exploring the ‘Work with local partners to develop science teaching in your school’ guidance outlining how schools can work with local science learning partnerships (SLPs) to participate in CPD and gain in-school support
  • Understanding where SLPs exist, how schools and colleges can approach and benefit from them, including through utilising local ‘STEM Ambassadors’ to help teach science
  • Analysing how £210,000 of funding was distributed by the UK Space Agency to STEM projects and how schools can get involved, by implementing curriculum-based resources developed by the UK Space Agency
  • Exploring the future of the DfE’s relationship with Pisa measurements, including continuity in measuring the success of its reforms on Pisa scores

Andrew Ford, Team Leader for Sciences, Curriculum Division, Department for Education (invited)


Special Keynote: Delivering Effective Practical Science- Exploring Best Practice Methods

  • Analysing the ‘Good Practical Science’ report outlining best practice on how schools can use available tools to develop a curriculum which includes more practical science
  • Outlining the key purpose of practical science, and exploring a map for judging whether it develops understanding, knowledge and learning in science
  • Exploring effective methods being tested in schools including ‘the motor effect’ which has led to developed understanding of science concepts in the classroom
  • Understanding what the practical components to KS3-5 science teaching and learning should look like and highlighting the continuing need for teaching CPD
  • Successfully implementing recommendations of the Gatsby Practical Science report through the ASE toolkit which provides guidance on how to best implement practical science in the classroom

Hannah Russell FRSB, Chief Executive, The Association for Science Education (ASE) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Providing Updates and Analysing Deliverability Guides to Improve GCSE Science Teaching

  • Exploring the ‘Deliverability Guides’ for GCSE Science, learning how to approach science teaching and developing conceptual thinking among students through engagement tasks
  • Understanding the key challenges learners face when learning biology, physics and chemistry at GCSE and overcoming these with activities including DART exercises and key word bingo
  • Demonstrating how to approach difficult topics and ensuring learners are prepared to tackle such topics later on in the course by making conceptual links to other areas of the specification
  • Exploring updates to the GSCE Gateway including an additional Assessment Objectives elements table and a table of command word definitions

Andy Brunning, Subject Advisor, OCR (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Raising Attainment in Science Through STEM Academies  

  • Exploring the school’s ‘STEM academy’, allowing students to complete projects based around STEM skills outside of the regular curriculum
  • Demonstrating how teachers have substantially increased the number of pupils pursuing a career in science by taking a practical and engaging approach to science through the academy
  • Embedding science beyond the academy and further than traditional curriculum by running annual week-long seminars based around STEM, open to pupils, parents and the community
  • Analysing the school’s future, including hosting events and seminars in collaboration with primary schools to increase interest early and demonstrating how this is made possible

Jo Wilson, Depute Rector, Larbert High School (CONFIRMED)

Paul Rodger, Principal Teacher Science, Larbert High School (CONFIRMED)

Rebecca Elliott, Teacher of Technologies and STEM Academy, Larbert High School (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Achieving Excellent Science Results Through Learning Ladders and a Sequenced Curriculum

  • Analysing how to build a knowledge-rich curriculum on the latest research in cognitive science to ensure excellent outcomes for young people.
  • Exploring the specifics of the curriculum which is carefully sequenced with direct instruction, overlearning and repeated retrieval quizzing as key methods to success
  • Learning how the school uses learning ladders across the science curriculum and how others can follow the ‘’Look, Cover, Write, Check’ method to improve learning in science
  • Outlining the key advantages to these methods which has helped to close the disadvantage gap in the classroom

Hannah-Beth Clark, Assistant Principal, Oasis Academy South Bank (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Workshop Session: Achieving Excellence in Science Teaching Through the ‘Best Evidence Science Teaching’ Toolkit

  • Exploring preconception by building on pupils’ ideas brought to lessons by being aware of preconceptions that pupils are likely to hold and knowing how to build on them
  • Using self-regulation to help pupils direct their own learning by analysing the metacognitive knowledge cycle and demonstrating how to use this in science teaching
  • Learning about how modelling can support understanding of scientific concepts through the three levels of scientific knowledge
  • Supporting pupils to retain and retrieve knowledge by understanding the difference between working memory and long-term memory
  • Learning about how to develop the language of science and support pupils to read and write about science through demonstrating the links between words and their composite parts

Emily Yeomans, Head of Programme Strategy, Education Endowment Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Achieving Globally Recognised Outstanding Science Teaching for Girls

  • Increasing female interest and success in science through podcasts and a “Girls in Physics” programme, a termly event where girls from across London are invited with their female parents to hear from female industry professionals in physics or engineering
  • Demonstrating the success of the scheme which contributed to one class achieving 100% A-A* grades in Physics
  • Learning how to engage unengaged students in the subject by grounding every lesson in a real-world connection or everyday experience and providing practical examples
  • Teaching schools how they can effectively engage more females at their school through advice on how to set up termly events and regular podcasts

Listed in the top 50 ‘best teacher’ award at the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize Award 2019

Emma Russo, Physics Teacher and Head of Year, South Hampstead High School (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking

During this networking break, delegates will be able regroup in designated areas to discuss specific themes such as: curriculum design, pupil engagement, and extra-curricular activity


Special Keynote: Preparing Students for Science Examination Through Subject Level Guidance

  • Exploring AQA’s GCSE ‘Subject Level Guidance’, in line with Ofqual’s GCSE guidance for science, including how teachers should nurture scientific ideas, scientific enquiry and techniques
  • Highlighting new areas for students to expect, including being prepared for exam questions within a context and having confidence to identify the science behind a question
  • Analysing considerations for teachers when preparing for future exams including ensuring revision lessons include materials where questions are presented in unfamiliar contexts
  • Demonstrating how to better prepare students for exams by using the ‘Enhanced Results Analysis’ tool to compare topics and exam questions with other schools
  • Outlining the key changes in subject content to be assessed in the summer of 2020-21 including fundamental concepts and principles in chemistry, clearer layouts and updated question structuring

Julian Clarke, Head of Curriculum – Science, AQA (invited)


Interactive Workshop: Taking a School-Wide Approach to Science Teaching

  • Learning how to design a knowledge-rich science curriculum which can be taught across the entire curriculum
  • Highlighting how to raise pupils attainment by focusing more closely on laboratory teaching and advancing their technological skills by teaching coding in KS3
  • Sustaining pupils’ interests and raise standards in science by setting up annual award ceremonies for pupils
  • Exploring how teachers can effectively develop employer partnerships in the area of science to secure placement and career opportunities for students

Winner of the 2019 ENTHUSE Award for Excellence in STEM teaching – Secondary at the STEM Learning Awards 2019

David Perks, Principal and Founder, The Deepings School (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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