Q2. What is your school’s strategy for leading and teaching science and maths?

Why this is important

All core subjects depend on good strategic leadership3 for pupils to achieve their best:

  • school leadership teams (including governors) should agree to a strategic plan
  • subject leaders are responsible for creating a more detailed plan for their subject and the implementation of that plan.

Benchmarks

A Primary science or maths leader should have a whole-school vision for science and be able to lead its development by instigating appropriate initiatives, including ensuring continuing professional development for colleagues, monitoring progress and contributing to the strategic development of learning in school.4

However, Ofsted has found that some school managers fail to understand the role of a science subject leader as something much more than a coordinator of resources. 5

When thinking about your whole-school vision you may wish to consider Wellcome’s study into ‘The Deployment of Science and Maths Leaders in Primary Schools’, which describes a number of models for science and maths teaching and leadership. These models (for science) a shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Ideas for improvement

School governors are responsible for setting the strategic direction for their school and the Framework for Governance can help them develop the school’s strategy.

  • As part of their responsibility to determine the school’s staffing and management structure, school governors should carefully consider how each subject is led. Subject leaders should have a high level of subject expertise but can be deployed in different ways (e.g. as a specialist subject teacher only or also as a class teacher).
  • Different models of leadership have their own benefits and drawbacks – the most important thing is that the model chosen by each school is the best fit for its particular needs and resources.7 The Wellcome Trust has produced a guide for developing great science subject leadership which covers the different models.
  • You should expect school and subject leaders to regularly report to the school leadership team including school governors on science and maths within the school development plan and individual subject plans where appropriate.
  • Your school can aim to be awarded a Primary Science Quality Mark. The process to do this will evaluate, strengthen and celebrate your school’s science provision. It is recommended by subject leaders, headteachers, Ofsted, Wellcome, the Royal Society, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and other members of the primary science community. Find out more at www.psqm.org.uk

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