Inspired by the number of 'I've just been made science co-ordinator' posts from various Facebook groups, I've decided to answer the most common questions below.
1) I've just been made science subject leader, what should I do first?
First - Join the ASE! This might sound flippant, but the ASE (Association for Science Education) is a member-led association which is incredibly supportive. From the Journal of Emergent Science and Primary Science, to the annual conference, there is a wealth of experience and support. Most primary members are schools, rather than individuals, which gives all school staff access to the ASE resources online.
Second - Downloading the 'Primary Science Survival Guide' from the Primary Area of the ASE website.
Third - join in on Facebook or Twitter (see 'Science Subject Leaders' page for links).
2) What funding is available for science?
There are a range of funding options, too many to publish here. I have created a (very) limited list on my 'Science Subject Leaders' page. However, google is able to provide a wider range. The main funds are: British Science Week grants and the ENTHUSE bursary.
3) What should I put on my action plan?
This ultimately depends on where the science teaching and learning is at your school. I would recommend ensuring there are a balanced number of actions, ranging from science leadership, monitoring, curriculum development, CPD to enhancement. You can download my blank template here.
4) Who can I go to for help and support?
As detailed above, the primary science community on Facebook and Twitter are incredibly helpful. There is a wealth of experience and advice out there. The STEM website also has lots of useful information, as well as the Primary Area of the ASE website and the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT).
Teaching and Learning
5) How should I assess science in my school?
Each school will view assessment in a different way. In my opinion, assessment needs to be of use to the class teachers. Focus on good use of formative assessment, which should be used in inform planning throughout the year. For more information, Sarah Earle from Bath Spa University has been focusing on teacher assessment in primary science (TAPS) and has provided some excellent resources to get you started.
6) How should I expect teachers to plan for science in my school?
As with assessment, planning can take place in a wide range of formats. There is no prescribed template, however, teachers should be planning science in line with expectations for English and mathematics - remember, it is a core subject.
Consider the principles that you would want in a lesson/weekly plan for English or mathematics (resources, assessment opportunities, learning objectives etc) and use that as a guide. Again, download the 'Primary Science Leaders' Survival Guide' from the ASE for more information.
7) How often should I monitor science?
Any monitoring you carry out should be linked to your action plan and the school priorities. Make sure that the monitoring activities are evenly spaced out so you don't have everything to do at once!
8) What should I be monitoring?
Again, this will depend on your school. Although as a general rule of thumb, I would recommend looking at: planning, books, classrooms (go on a learning walk). These will allow you to develop a rounded view of the science children are learning and identify where you need to go next.