22 May 2020

Lockdown and school closure may be inconvenient but it has not limited the scope of Abingdon Science Partnership’s ambitious plans for even more successful collaborative activities with partners. If anything, bonds have been strengthened and amazing new skills acquired, sometimes requiring ingenuity and increased reliance on others to provide advice and support. ASP Coordinator, Jeremy Thomas, and Caldecott Primary School Science Coordinator, Holly Irving, were able to co-present an outline of ASP’s response to lockdown on a national platform at the Schools Together organisation’s first ever remote version of its annual conference.

This was hosted by Eton College and chaired by Christina Astin, of Kings School Canterbury and East Kent Schools Together. Jeremy and Holly shared the platform with representatives of several other school partnerships around the UK as well as Andrew Lewer MBE MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Independent Education. They were able to describe how they worked together to use the ASP website as a rapid and convenient way for other schools to access resources from. Holly was able to give a first hand account of how partnership resources helped her work in supporting key worker and vulnerable children still at school during this time. A full recording of this meeting, with presentations on many, interesting aspects of adaptation in partnership to lockdown, can be found here.

Some examples of the work that has been going on at ASP include the amazing efforts of our Science Ambassadors to continue some provision for children who normally attend the Primary Science Club in the Yang Science Centre every Tuesday. Lower Sixth Science Ambassador, Jai Biswas Gladwin, was the first to produce a very high quality challenge worksheet on Soap Film Boats. This was instantly shared by a number of the schools whose pupils normally attend the club. Holly, at Caldecott, commented ‘This is great – I will put it in my challenge planning! Hopefully there will be photos to follow!’ and Bright Sparks Science, professional, children’s science communicators in Abingdon, Tweeted ‘Loving the reference to the Jesus Christ Lizard that runs in water ‘ which illustrates the attention that Jai’s work has already received. Jai’s worksheet can be found online here.

In addition, ASP had been requested to run a primary science workshop on the new topic of Levers, Gears and Pulleys this term by a number of local schools. As this will be impossible to do in person, Jeremy Thomas has produced a trilogy of video workshops instead, improvising apparatus with objects around the house and enlisting the help of family members and remote contributions from other members of the ASP team, such as Megan Milarski.

The videos have been well received with comments such as ‘Thank you for organising these, they will be very useful!’ from Rush Common School and ‘Thank you!! In Harry Potter grades this has “exceeded expectations”! ‘ from St Edmund’s RC primary. This has made all the hard work and inspiration that went into them all the more worthwhile and shown that ASP continues to provide a strong platform to support and develop partnership working in Abingdon’s schools. The video workshops can be seen here under ASP Workshops Online or viewed on the Abingdon School YouTube channel.

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