Ogden Science Partnerships
Approximately 20 HMC schools take part in Ogden Science Partnerships, collaborating with multiple local state and independent schools to promote the teaching and learning of science, particularly physics. Through these partnerships the schools inspire primary school to sixth form students and bring pupils from different sectors together. Ogden Trust is a charitable trust founded in 1999 which sponsors Senior and Primary School Science Partnerships across the country.
Wellingborough School Involvement
Wellingborough School has been working closely with these maintained schools since 2012 on a number of reoccurring and successful partnership projects including:
- Annual Sixth Form Physics Conference: Wellingborough has hosted all but one of these inspirational conferences. At this year’s conference Dr Helen Fraser of The Open University lectured on her research into building planets and Libby Jackson from the UK space agency discussed how she became a Mission Control Flight Director. The day ended with students simulating how planets are built in a computer workshop.
- Physics Roadshow: Often involving Wellingborough students, this year saw Wellingborough Physics Technician Elliot Purdy leading pupils from Sir Christopher's and Wrenn in the interactive Physics Roadshow. This reached 330 Year 5 and 6 students in two days, the show which included a fire tornado and a dry ice bubble being based and rehearsed in Wellingborough School.
One pupil from Great Doddington Primary School said: “It was very good as they made it educational and entertaining at the same time. I now like science much more”.
Garry Bowe, Headmaster of Wellingborough School said: "The Ogden partnership with other local schools in the Wellingborough area has been one which has cut through any perceived Maintained Sector-Independent divide and struck at the very heart of education: young people and teachers working together and being enthused by the wonders of Science. The CERN trips in particular have left an indelible lifelong imprint upon young minds!"
Bolton School Involvement
Bolton School Boys’ Division forms the hub of the Bolton partnership, managing the budget given by the Ogden Trust and the running of events for teachers and pupils, providing leadership and continuity. Organised by the Hub co-ordinator alongside two other Physics Teaching Fellows based in Bolton School, this brings together 14 maintained and independent schools. Successfully running since 2007 this is one of Ogden's largest science partnerships.
- Physics Olympics: an annual day of fun and learning for Year 9 pupils across the partnership. The students compete in a series of scientific competitions, the event hosted by Bolton Boys’ Division, organised by Bolton's Physics Fellows and aided by A-level Physics students. Two teams of talented pupils are sent from Bolton Boys’ and Girls’ Division as well as from four state schools, individual teams being sent from five other independent and state schools. The teams complete a number of challenges culminating in an awards ceremony. This year’s Physics Olympics challenges included the Bullseye, in which students built paper rockets then fired them along a corridor at a target using air pressure.
- Keble College: a long running residential trip to Oxford in which Gifted and Talented students from partnership schools stay at an Oxford University College, experiencing sessions from the university, such as in computer science, alongside physics challenges devised by the teachers. This has raised pupils’ aspirations to attend Oxbridge, many pupils stating that this is the best trip they have been on.
One pupil from Bolton Girls’ Division said: “My favourite part of this scheme was delivering the lessons as it was very rewarding to see the positive impact we made on the children - they were always very engaged, enthusiastic and keen to learn in our lessons and at the end of each lesson, it was clear they had all learnt something.”
Brendan Ickringill Ogden Teaching Fellow at Bolton School said: “It is fantastic to see so many pupils engaging with physics and enjoying themselves”
Phillip Britton, Headmaster of Bolton Boys' Division said: “Ogden is a wonderful catalyst for collaboration and a model for other subjects in the curriculum. Our advice is build relationships amongst teachers to the benefit of pupils, think long term and sustained activity rather than one off events and to see the key role of the independent school as providing long term stability and continuity.”
These partnerships have allowed the schools to share best practice, creating positive links between the pupils and teachers of different schools.
Wellingborough School's three physics specialists have participated in crucial CPD training for non-specialist teachers, helping partner schools who have only one or no physics specialists. Bolton School through its Ogden Teaching Fellow has been involved in professional development sessions, working with 15 of the 17 Bolton secondary schools. Bolton also offers GCSE and A-level revision classes to its partner schools.
The connections between the schools have facilitated the discussions of lesson ideas and curriculum changes, particularly prevalent with the new Physics A-Level. The connection made between teachers meant that Dr Bell of Sir Christopher Hatton was able to seek advice from Dr Higgingson Head of Physics at Wellingborough School about a talented pupil’s aims for Oxbridge, Dr Higginson advising on the different application routes and giving the aspiring pupil two mock interviews. This pupil has now been offered a place at Cambridge.