The Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) is an award scheme to enable primary schools across the UK to evaluate, strengthen and celebrate their science provision. Schools can achieve bronze, silver and gold awards.
The main aims of PSQM are to:
- raise the profile of science in primary schools;
- provide schools with a framework and professional support for developing science leadership, teaching and learning;
- celebrate excellence in primary science;
- work with existing, and facilitate new, networks across the UK and wider to provide local support for primary science;
- assemble and make accessible to the wider science education community a rich database of current practice in primary science.
In December, 2015, Cardiff School of Education Senior Lecturer, Bethan Jones, arranged an initial CPD opportunity for PSQM training at Cardiff Metropolitan for university staff, members of professional associations in Cardiff, and consortia. Ruth Coakley then began the first hub (Round 12) and as a result four schools have submitted for the award. Popularity has since grown with a new cohort of nine schools beginning their PSQM journey in March, 2017 (Round 14). Six of the current PSQM schools are also involved with the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project from the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT), working in collaboration with Bath Spa University.
Day One of Round 14 PSQM training included talks from Linda Curwen, who is a Primary Science Teaching Fellow, and Dr. Liam Thomas from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Linda’s presentation gave information about how schools can gain fellow status from the PSTT through the Primary Science Teacher Award and Dr.Thomas discussed how to incorporate chemistry into the primary curriculum.
In addition to the training, bursary funding has been secured from the Royal Society of Chemistry in order to provide PSQM schools with additional CPD in the form of small projects. The first of the projects is underway: Cardiff University MSc Students involved in a Science Communication module with Techniquest are working in collaboration with PSQM schools to develop creative lesson plans in science and technology for Successful Futures. The funding will also release colleagues from PSQM schools to enable them to attend TAPS Day 3 on June 29th.
This is just the start of a very promising and exciting award scheme with many more projects to come.