At Alexandra Park Primary School, we are passionate about improving the life chances of all our children. One way we achieve this is through our Aspire Programme, which every child is part of. This programme is about creating chances for our children to gain experiences, work with people from a range of industries and have opportunities that will inspire them to go on and create a better future for themselves. We do this in the arts, business, sport and science.
In 1990 Helen Sharman OBE replied to a radio advert which said, ‘Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary.’ Her successful application led her to become the first Britain in space. We want the children of Alexandra Park to have the knowledge and love of science that means in the future if there is a similar opportunity, our children will have the skills and knowledge required for the role and the aspirations to seize the opportunity. Yes, we do want one of our children to go to the moon! We also want them to have the confidence and love of learning that means they can pursue all opportunities and careers that interest them.
Why are we so passionate about science?
According to the UK Commission for Employment & Skills, 43% of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) vacancies are hard to fill. This might not seem like a problem that primary schools can fix but it has been suggested that 'Young children might already be turned off a career in STEM before they even reach secondary school.' (Helena Pozniak, Telegraph)
Probably one of the most concerning statistics we have come across is the percentage of Year 6 children not leaving primary school at the expected level in science. Where the National Average reaching the expected level in reading is 75%, in writing is 78% and in maths is 75%. We cannot stress strongly enough how completely unacceptable we feel that the level in science in 2014 was 28.06% and in 2016 was 22.77% and even worse for children qualifying for Free School Meals in 2014 it was 13.4% and in 2016 it was 9%. These figures are disgraceful and are getting worse rather than improving. Children from Alexandra Park will not be leaving our school with this unacceptable level of understanding of science. They will leave with the ability to working scientifically; a deep understanding of science and have developed enquiring scientific minds.
Standards and Testing Agency Key Stage 2 Science Sampling 2016
How do we ensure our children have the best science experience possible?
Every year, after the high school transition day, the main thing the children talk about is what they did in the science lab. We want them to have this awe and wonder in every science lesson and not have to wait until high school and to achieve this. To achieve this goal, with help from our local community, we created our own science lab where we can ensure high quality science resources are available every lesson and in an environment where the children see themselves as young scientists.
A key element of our Aspire Programme is providing the children with access to inspirational people and experiences. This is particularly pertinent in science, where every child has the opportunity to work with a scientist or take part in a science experience, such as a trip to MOSI every year.
Our commitment to science led us to employ a science teacher who teaches our children across the school. Mrs Causers’ expert scientific knowledge and passion are invaluable in providing our children with what we believe is an outstanding scientific learning experience.