Investing in Jackie’s Idea

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Jackie Flaherty, Head of Physics at Chipping Campden School in Gloucestershire, had been running sixth form-led Primary Science Clubs for years before applying to Let Teachers SHINE for funding. Passionate about encouraging STEM subjects, Jackie aims to raise attainment for Year 10 students in science.

Her project, which launched in October 2015, involves setting up a training programme for sixth form students, enabling them to run a successful after school support scheme and aspirational enrichment programme for Year 10 students. The sixth form mentors received a six week training programme covering basic teaching techniques, behaviour management and safeguarding. They had to plan lessons and prepare the session resources they used. Sessions then ran over 16 weeks and included enrichment trips and talks by external STEM Ambassadors.

The sixth formers covered Chemistry, Physics, and Biology for five weeks each, with each of them mentoring two Year 10 students. They tried to make the sessions as engaging as possible, as students taking part in the programme would have been at school since 8:30 in the morning. The lessons would include a ten minute introduction, such as a YouTube video clip or a quick quiz on the topic the students covered in the previous week. There were a variety of stations set up in the lesson that the students could work their way around, which may include demonstrations, card sorting activities, or animations on an iPad. During the last ten minutes, Jackie and the sixth formers would ask the students to do a quick exam question on that topic to check their understanding.

For the sixth formers, it’s not just the hour after school – their role involves coming to weekly meetings, preparing their lessons and briefing each other. Jackie reports that they have been really positive about it, and have produced some brilliant resources such as websites and written animations. The project has been really successful and will continue to offer after school support on an optional basis. In fact, the English and Maths departments are already keen to extend Jackie’s project into their subject areas.

Jackie said “it’s been hard work but has been really rewarding and the sixth formers have been an absolute pleasure to work with. There’s certainly something really special about peer mentoring and without the support from SHINE, we wouldn’t have been able to make this such a success.”