Strengthening STEM education at primary level across Liverpool
For the past year, teachers from eight primary schools across the Liverpool City region and South Sefton area have participated in a CPD programme, led by experts at LJMU, to increase confidence and self-efficacy in the teaching of science.
The programme is spearheaded by the LJMU Absolute Chemistry team - Dr Andrea Mallaburn, Dr Victoria Brennan from the School of Education and Dr Linda Seton and Menna Goodwin from the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.
Linking curriculum with latest climate and sustainability teaching
The programme consisted of six half day CPD sessions, delivered half-termly on LJMU campus, where teachers received support in the planning and delivery of science sessions aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as current Ofsted and curricular foci. The workshops allowed teachers to engage with current educational research and further develop their own science subject knowledge.
In the interim between the workshops, members of the LJMU Absolute Chemistry team visited each school to support and observe the delivery of the science lessons that had been developed within each session.
This allowed LJMU staff to provide further support to the teachers in their own classrooms, and to also act as role models to the students themselves. For example, one teacher working with a pupil with additional learning needs said that on parents evening their daughter now wanted to be a scientist, proving how inspiring lessons can have a lasting impact on pupils’ enthusiasm and motivation for the subject.
One Year 5 teacher who attended all CPD sessions said: “I’ve really enjoyed watching the children’s curiosity grow…loved seeing them getting themselves involved in all the investigations and working collaboratively and using the vocabulary. Now, coming away from these sessions, I’m trying to put much more practical work into my lessons, and this has made a huge difference on their [the pupils] engagement. I’ve really enjoyed learning about all the different investigations, things that seem quite simple, but they have such a massive effect [on the pupils]."
“I do think that my knowledge has improved and the resources that we’ve had have been brilliant and personally, I feel a lot more confident in teaching science now.”
Value of CPD
Dr Ceri Daniels, Director of the School of Education, reflected on how important these partnerships with local schools and teachers are. She said: “Providing the opportunity for critical reflection and sustained shared thinking space in CPD workshops facilitated by subject experts at LJMU has offered teachers of Primary Science new insights into the strengths of their existing approaches to teaching STEM. It’s also introduced different models for use inside and outside the classroom; especially in relation to the increasing importance of helping children learn about and articulate their own ideas and solutions on sustainability and environmental awareness."
“Teachers are under increasing time pressures and demands, so their commitment to this programme over the last 12 months has been very impressive and testament to how such professional practice learning is valued.”
It is hoped that through additional funding the team can expand and further develop high quality science CPD programmes to support partner schools.
Teachers are innovators and role models for their pupils and the LJMU Absolute Chemistry team are proud to support their professional development in science.