How do you make the subject of science more interesting and engaging for primary school students?

One teacher who has the answer is Maxine Roberts and her efforts have earned Harriers Academy a prestigious Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM).

The accolade is testament to her efforts over the last three years to show pupils how science is fundamental to everyday life.

In the three years that Mrs Roberts, a year 4 teacher, has been a science lead at the Banbury primary which is part of the Aspirations Academies Trust, the subject has undergone an innovative change.

A science club for girls has been introduced, science fairs have been organised and attendees have included a scientist from the charity Cancer Research and STEM ambassadors many of whom are volunteers from a wide range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics related jobs across the UK.

Solid partnerships have also been built up with Science Oxford and Oxford University through outreach work to engage students.

Dr Jeffery Quaye, Regional Chief Executive Officer for the South Central region is pictured holding the PSQM award with teacher Maxine Roberts

For Mrs Roberts, the award is a reflection of the journey that she has also taken:

‘’The Primary Science Quality Mark is recognition that we are exposing our pupils to quality science.

 ‘’When they offered me the job of Science Lead three years ago, I laughed because I am not a scientist! But they said they wanted me to do the job because I’m enthusiastic.

‘’I saw it as an opportunity to make science more innovative and I have done so much learning over the last three years.

‘’The award has led to a furthering of science capital in the school – it’s a positive way forward for having systems in place for teaching and learning science. 

‘’The children are really engaged and they are beginning to recognise that science is everywhere and part of everyday life. They love science. 

‘’I am really proud to have the award.’’

Jo Agate, Principal of Harriers, is equally proud of Mrs Roberts and this impressive accolade. She said: ‘’Maxine has led Science with passion and enthusiasm throughout the school. She has supported staff with their needs and assisted them to plan progressive, challenging sessions for the pupils. The PSQM has raised the quality and profile of Science throughout the school.’’