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Durham University

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University’s new science training is electric for primary school teachers

(3 October 2018)

Durham University has become the first university in the country to run a new training programme for primary school teachers on how to teach children about electricity. 

The programme, run in partnership with The Ogden Trust, a charity dedicated to promoting the teaching and learning of physics, includes hands-on workshops and a teaching toolkit for teachers to use in their own schools.

The first workshop was held at Durham on Wednesday 19 September, with over 60 teachers from schools in the North East of England taking part.

Encouraging creative learning

Called Primary Physics Professional Learning – or P3L for short – the day is designed to increase teacher skills and confidence for all science subject leaders and/or Key Stage 2 teachers – encouraging creativity in the application of science in the classroom through the range of teaching materials provided on each course.

To date The Ogden Trust has delivered these CPD days at independent schools, but now the programme is being extended to universities across the UK with Durham University in the lead.The CPD days are themed on a four year cycle to cover the key concepts of the physics primary curriculum – Electricity, Forces, Light and Sound, and Earth and Space. 

Durham University has a special place in the heart of The Ogden Trust as it was where its founder, Sir Peter Ogden, studied for both his first degree and his PhD, and then funded two new physics buildings on the Durham campus.

Enabling fantastic education

Dr Lorraine Coghill, Ogden Science Outreach Coordinator in the Department of Physics at Durham University, said: “It is part of our mission at Durham University to not only deliver the most engaging science teaching and learning ourselves, but to enable the many fantastic educators working in our local schools to do their bit too.

“We have a long and well-established partnership with The Ogden Trust and we are very pleased to have become the first university in the UK to deliver this new teaching training programme.

“Teaching science well in primary schools, especially physics, is vital. Everyone is interested in science – it’s just that some children don’t know it yet. Hopefully, with the aid of this programme, we can inspire the inner scientist in more young people in County Durham and North East England.”

Dr Jenny Watson, Ogden Trust Teacher Fellow said: “The delegates thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on practical approach and the opportunity to refresh their knowledge of electricity. They appreciated the expertise and enthusiasm of our trainers who are all qualified teachers and primary science experts.

“It was great to have so many interested teachers from the North East learning how they can develop children’s creativity, awaken an interest in physics and share their ideas with their colleagues.”