Three years in the life of a Science Partnership Coordinator
By Jeremy Thomas, Abingdon Science Partnership Coordinator

When I came to Abingdon School in January 2016, nobody, including myself, really knew what being a Science Partnership Coordinator entailed. Nobody, I knew, had ever employed one before, so I didn’t fit the neat job categories usually found in a school. This was both exhilarating and nerve wracking, as I had been given great privilege but also a huge responsibility.

I hadn’t had such autonomy in my professional life since being a research scientist before I became a teacher. Even then, projects had a clear purpose, defined in funding applications or by the core aims of the organisation. Now nobody could tell me what I was supposed to be doing. My line manager just instructed me to try everything and see what worked!

So, this is what I have been doing for the last three years, looking for opportunities, enhancing existing ones and grabbing new ones as they came along. For example, the CREST Award schemes with over 300 local, primary children taking home the award certificate annually. My colleagues have developed a superb suite of primary science workshops, delivered in our dedicated laboratory in the YSC and covering nearly every topic in the primary science curriculum.

Staff and boys, dubbed Science Ambassadors, run monthly Saturday Science Clubs for children and parents on behalf of Science Oxford. The School is also a leading supporter of the Abingdon ATOM Festival of Science and Technology and the Abingdon Science Partnership’s logo will be among the masthead supporters at ATOM 2019. Our impact on promoting science locally is a cornerstone of our partnership work and an area where our talented Science Ambassadors really contribute to the community our school is part of, whilst also developing skills of immeasurable, personal benefit.

This blog is not long enough to discuss the national projects we are part of, such as student led research projects offered by the Institute for Research in Schools or our Royal Society Partnership Grant with Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

I’m still not sure I can explain exactly what a Science Partnership Coordinator does, but I do know that the impact has been felt in many ways. The benefits of being part of our community, especially when our school bears the town’s name, must be obvious. The benefits to our boys are growing daily as more become Science Ambassadors and gain new skills from doing so. Maybe the best definition is simply the job title itself, encompassing so many worthwhile concepts – science, partnership and coordination of an amazing team of people.

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