Are you a new science lead? We've got 10 tips to help you start the year with confidence and a brand new toolkit!
Your first year as science lead can be daunting, but we have these top 10 tips to help you get off to a good start. For a complete programme of activities and template downloads, view our new Toolkit for Leading Science.
What resources do you have and do your staff know what’s available? It’s useful, even though it can be a pain, to sort and arrange your science cupboard so you know where everything is. This will help you figure out what you need to replenish or throw away altogether. The number of textbooks and resources found dating back to the ’90s will make you chuckle!
Figure out what CPD yourself and your staff need/want and book courses to upskill your team. Start with your ECTs (if you have any) as they will appreciate the support and will help establish you in your professional capacity. Show them our Explorify planning support videos.
Lead by example in your own class. Get to know the year group curriculum for science well this year. Use this as a basis to allow staff to come in and observe you modelling best practise.
Find out if your area has a Science Network team. A network team is usually a collection of science leads who come together from within a local area to discuss new initiatives, curriculum content but is also a great opportunity to share ideas and find answers to queries you may have within your role. A lot of best practise and ideas come from meetings like these. This can then be disseminated, as necessary, to your teaching staff to use in their classrooms.
Find out what the theme is for British Science Week this year and if your school can raise the profile of science during that week in particular. You could run an assembly or share ideas you find on the science week website with your staff and ask them to run an extra session during the week.
Do book looks and check planning. At the very least once a year, with written or verbal feedback provided to help your staff feel supported in their science teaching. This is really helpful as it helps you to decide what follow up CPD or support your staff need. Look at Explorify’s Subject Leader Toolkit or the Primary Science Teaching Trust’s Support for Subject Leaders for more guidance and proformas.
Suggest trips for the staff to take their children on based on their planning and encourage all year groups to consider a science linked trip across the year.
Ask SLT to help you set up a system, in line with other tracking proformas that are in place for other topics, so your staff can follow the progress of their children for each topic objective. Once you have noted the objectives that the child has not met, you will be able to create target groups to close the gaps. Children need to meet all objectives for the topic to have 'met expectations'. If not, they are ‘workings towards’ it. This is different from other topics where the children can be working ‘below’, ‘towards’, ‘at’ and ‘above’ expectations.
If you have a particular niche that you can bring to your role, look out for competitions or use social media to look for novel ways to enthuse the children in your school. You may be really passionate about creative writing and wish to implement it within science learning or you may have a keen interest in space and have seen some exciting initiatives online.