There is much evidence to suggest that children’s perception of science is formed before they leave primary school. To ensure that that primary students do not lose that latent interest and enthusiasm for the world around them, and the science that underpins this, they need innovative, creative and dedicated science teachers.
The Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) champions excellence in primary level science through its support of outstanding primary science teachers. Each year a small cohort of exceptional primary science teachers from across the UK is chosen to receive a Primary Science Teaching Award and to become a PSTT Fellow. If these teachers continue to show excellence in their ability to deliver high quality science across their school, to other schools in their cluster and to other primary science teachers, they are able to have their award endorsed by a scientific institution.
The Geological Society is eager to support exceptional primary science teachers who strive to promote Earth science to their students. So we were delighted when we were offered to opportunity to endorse Carol Sampey.
Carol received her Primary Science Teaching Award in 2012 after significant experience of school leadership, classroom teaching and understanding of best practice in primary science. Carol has a passion for geology and has been working with the Jurassic Coast Trust and their ‘Big Jurassic Classroom’ to bring the wonders of geology to teachers throughout the UK. Carol presented her work and resources at the Geological Society earlier this year at a Primary Science teacher workshop.
We asked Carol how she felt about having her award endorsed by the Geological Society.
‘I was absolutely over the moon when I discovered that my Primary Science Teaching Award had been endorsed by the Geological Society – what an absolute honour! The award came as a complete surprise and where better to receive it, than at the 2019 PSTT Primary Science Educational Conference dinner held at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, situated at the foot of Arthur’s Seat!’
We also asked Carol about her work with the Jurassic Coast trust.
‘I have a great passion for geography and geology and I am keen to support teachers to deliver the requirements of the key stage two rocks and fossils learning content – an area which some teachers find difficult to bring alive. So, when I was given the opportunity to train as PSTT Jurassic Coast Champion in September 2018, I jumped at it!
Primary aged children are fascinated by fossils and dinosaurs so what better way for teachers to introduce them to geology and Earth history than through the Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural World Heritage Site and a unique window into a time when humans didn’t exist. Not only is the area breathtakingly beautiful but it is also an area rich in educational resources: displaying 185 million years of the Earth’s history in dramatic cliffs and tumbling landslides. It’s both a geologist’s and fossil hunter’s dream! However, if you do not teach in an area close enough to make a class visit possible, how can you still use the area to inspire children?
With funding from the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT), the Jurassic Coast Trust developed an educational outreach programme to engage with schools. This project resulted in the production of free online educational resources – “The Big Jurassic Classroom” and although the resources were well used by schools in Dorset and Devon their impact further afield was limited. As PSTT Jurassic Coast Champion, I am keen to raise awareness of how these resources can be used by teachers across the UK. I now lead workshops aimed at enhancing pupil experiences of Earth science with ideas to inspire children not only to look closely at rocks, fossils and landscape, wherever they may live, but also to engage with the stories rocks can tell and discover “pebble personality!”’
The Geological Society is thrilled to be able to endorse Carol’s PSTT award and we hope that she continues to deliver outstanding Earth science to primary teachers and students across the UK.
- Further information about the Jurassic Coast Trust can be found at jurassiccoast.org and The Big Jurassic Classroom resources will soon be moving to pstt.org.uk/resources.
- To find out what primary science resources the Geological Society has take a look at our resources page.