In early 2019, The Mead Teaching School was selected to become an ENTHUSE Partnership school, in collaboration with STEM Learning. ENTHUSE Partnerships aim to inspire young people into STEM subjects and careers; STEM Learning fulfil this by enabling groups of schools and colleges to improve young people’s achievement and engagement in STEM.

By becoming a partnership school, we are able to access a wide range of support from STEM Learning, including:

  • Teacher CPD
  • Resources which are free, curated and quality assured
  • Teacher placements
  • STEM Ambassadors
  • STEM Clubs

This proven model for achieving lasting improvement in STEM will enable us to develop a tailored two-year programme to improve STEM knowledge, skills, confidence and career aspiration.

You can read more about the partnerships here, and we’ll be keeping you up-to-date with all of our activities via our blog posts below. If you have any questions about the STEM CPD we are offering to our alliance schools, please get in touch via email.

I am delighted to be working with STEM Learning on such an exciting project, not only for the Teaching School but also for our alliance member schools, whose children and staff will have access to many more STEM opportunities over the next two years as a result of this partnership. Lindsay Palmer, Head of Teaching School

Term 4 2019-20

9th March 2020: Science Club at River Mead School are enjoying their weekly challenges: The best spinner; the furthest a plane will fly; the highest a rocket can go. This was the spinner challenge which ends in the grand finale when they release their spinners from height – the balcony steps.

4th March 2020: The Science leads from all four project schools met with the Project Lead, Lindsay Palmer, to discuss progress so far and agree exciting next steps for some amazing children’s activities – watch this space for more news!

3rd March 2020: Badgers Class from River Mead School enjoyed a wonderful day at Butterfly World, getting up close with some of their residents. We were able to bring some stick insects back to school to study and look after. A great way to start our new topic of ‘Beast Creators’.

Term 3 2019-20

11th February 2020: Reception children at The Mead have been exploring shapes in the environment by going on a shape walk around school. They spotted lots of different shapes and talked about the properties of the shapes they found.

7th February 2020: Nursery children at River Mead School have loved taking part in this week’s activity. Over the last three weeks they have been exploring how to create new colours only using prime colours. As the weeks have gone on, the children have talked about the colours they have made by painting rainbows. With this in mind we thought we would extend our experiments further by using skittles and warm milk or some hot water. The children enjoyed watching and waiting to see what happens. This activity allowed the children to make their own predictions and test out their own theories. They finished off by singing the rainbow song and signing the colours using makaton.

31st January 2020: Year 6 loved seeing the different creatures from Tropical Discovery today. They learned lots of amazing facts to build on their learning around adaptation and habitats.

29th January 2020: Y5 children at River Mead are looking at bacteria growth. Their project is all about the Black Death and they have swabbed various items in the classroom and are watching how the bacteria is growing over time. The areas and items swabbed for our investigation are:

  • classroom door handle
  • sink taps
  • tables
  • chairs
  • laptop keyboard
  • the teacher’s bunch of keys
  • floor

23rd January 2020: Y6 children at Castle Mead School researched the question ‘Are different tools better for picking up different types of seeds?’ They created a hypothesis, wrote a method making sure to identify the variables, carried out the investigation, created a graph using their results and then wrote a conclusion and evaluation. The children really enjoyed the experience and commented that “it was great to do it all in two days so we could see the process through” and “it was great fun learning how to use different tools”.

16th January 2020: Year 2 children at River Mead School have had a fantastic time looking at different materials and deciding whether they would float or sink, and then testing their theories out!

Term 2 2019-20

Term 2:  KS1 Nature Club enjoyed making fat balls, hedgehog homes, journey sticks, weather diaries, leaf and bark rubbings and having lots of other fun exploring. 

13th December 2019: Children from Year 5 visited a local secondary school, along with children from other local schools, to take part in a Chemistry day

9th December 2019: Year 2 completed a very exciting materials project, which involved naming and sorting different materials, discussing their properties, conducting experiments to test whether each material is transparent, flexible or waterproof and finally making their own judgements.

6th December 2019: Children in Castle Mead School’s Year 6 class dissected pig hearts, to learn more about the different parts of a heart and how they all work

5th December 2019: Year 4 children visited We The Curious; they had the opportunity to explore the centre and watch a science show called ‘Splash and Bubble’, which engaged them with liquids, gases and ideas about volume and measuring.

29th November 2019: Y5/6 children at The Mead at Wingfield have been learning about the Solar System. They compared the sizes of the planets by creating accurate scale models using play-dough and discovered that the sizes of the planets vary massively and that Jupiter is larger than all of the other planets put together.

20th November 2019: Children from across Castle Mead School had the opportunity to hold Moon rock, Martian rock and asteroid debris

18th November 2019: Year 2 children visited Westonbirt Aboretum, to learn about different trees. They collected leaves, made a natural sculpture and presented some poetry

17th November 2019: Pine Martens class, a mixed Y2/3 class at The Mead Wingfield, have been learning about the properties of materials . They sorted materials into different groups according to their properties and used scientific language to explain why their group had sorted their materials in a particular way. They had a very interesting discussion about how materials could have more than one property and many different uses.

4th November 2019: A fantastic day of Primary Physics Professional Learning, delivered by the knowledgeable and passionate Ogden Trust. Over 70 teachers came together to look at topics such as Electrifying English, Magnetic Maths, Light & Sound and Creative Cosmos.

Term 1 2019-20

21st October 2019: An amazing day for Year 5 children at Langford Lakes. They studied the water cycle and the life of a river in beautiful surroundings.

18th October 2019: Year 1 children at The Mead invited their grown ups in for an afternoon to build a model house for the Three Little Pigs. The children designed their house first. It needed a door that opened and windows you could see through. Then they built their house with their grown ups.

9th October 2019: A very full and informative day developing our understanding, skills and knowledge as effective Science Subject Leaders. ENTHUSE partnership schools were all in attendance as well as colleagues from other sites. 

27th September 2019: Mrs Chislett enjoyed an evening networking with cutting edge researchers from Bath and Bristol universities @ BRLSI – FUTURES 2019.

23rd September 2019: Children in Y5/6 at The Mead Wingfield have been learning about the water cycle and created a miniature version of it in their classroom. They poured a small amount of hot water into an old fish tank and covered it with cling film. They then put ice blocks over the top.This caused the water vapour, produced by evaporation, to condense and fall in little droplets back down again. They made some of their own water cycles in bags and stuck them to the windows of the classroom to see what would happen.

20th September 2019: Hedgehogs spent a 30 minute session speaking with Richard Browning (founder of Gravity Industries Ltd). He spoke to us live from his ‘lab’ and shared footage of testing of the Daedalus Mark 1 (a jet pack comprising several jet engines). We were then able to ask him questions his work and being an engineer. 

Term 6 2018-19

We kicked off the final term of this year with a cross-Trust Professional Development Meeting focused on Science Moderation. All teachers attended a year-group specific meeting, and received statutory information and documentation on expected standards for the end of their Key Stage in Science. They also gained examples of work for each standard to use when comparing to their own class work and moderating. Assessment information was given with the expectation that the class assessments will be completed by the end of the academic year so that any gaps in understanding are identified and can be planned for early on.

Across KS1 and KS2, we now have a clear, consistent and accurate understanding of where all of our children are in relation to expected standards in Science. 

21st July 2019: Children from Castle Mead School take part in developing the new pond learning area

12th July 2019: A micro habitat enquiry and observation at Pewsey Primary School. Our question was ‘Do all mini beast live in the same habitat?’ We looked at two different micro habitats and are in the process of observing mini beast found in each location. We are collecting data on numbers found there, which we will then make into pictograms to answer our question

9th July 2019: Lindsay Palmer and Jenny Chislett meet with Steve Hacker from STEM Learning and Alison Simpson from Malmesbury School to plan out our training dates for next year

3rd July 2019: Year 5 loved having teachers from John of Gaunt visit them this afternoon. They completed science experiments to find the most effective prototype for a helicopter. 

28th June 2019: Meanwhile, Year 6 have been investigating how light travels and conducting their own investigations into the relationship between light and shadows.

28th June 2019: Paper helicopters! This week in Year 4, we have been putting our investigative skills to the test by experimenting how wing length affects how a paper spinner will fall. Conclusions and analysis to follow next week. 

27th June 2019: Jenny Chislett, our Enthuse Project lead, met with Tracy Boulton, Head of School at Castle Mead, and Lyssy Bolton, Executive Headteacher, to talk through progress on the project and confirm dates for Jenny’s residential CPD next year.

25th June 2019: Lindsay Palmer, our Head of Teaching School, and Jenny Chislett, our Enthuse Project lead, met with Carol Sampey from the Primary Science Teaching Trust meet to plan more training and coaching activities during 2019/2020. Some brilliant events to look forward to. Watch this space!

24th June 2019: Jenny Chislett, our Trust lead for science, meets with Steve from STEM Learning to review progress on the project so far and plan next steps 

21st June 2019: Tim from Bristol ChemLabs delivered an amazing science assembly for the Year 5 and 6 children from Castle Mead School, River Mead School and The Mead Primary School. Mrs Young, Year 6 teacher at Castle Mead School, said:
“The assembly was a fantastic opportunity for the children. They all loved it and were very keen to share all their scientific learning with other teachers, friends and parents back at school. They thought the assembly was funny, exciting and informative. A number of the children spoke about how they now want to be scientists / chemists so that they can do more experiments and learn more about the world. For some of our children they have never had the opportunity to experience anything like this in museums or open days so it was an amazing eye opening opportunity for them. Lots of them asked if we could go and visit a science lab or do more science experiments at school before the end of the year.”

10th June 2019: The Science Leads from Castle Mead School, The Mead Primary School, and Pewsey Primary School meet to plan

5th June 2019: Teachers from across the Trust meet for Science Moderation

Term 5 2018-19

We have really enjoyed diving into the detail of the project, mapping out a timeline of activities, CPD and STEM-related event for our children that will take place over the next two years. We’re enjoying working collaboratively with the Science leads from all three of our Trust schools, and have broken for half term with several dates in the diary for Term Six. We will be meeting as a group to moderate Science in Week 1, and will meet again the following week to plan for the remainder of the term.

17th May 2019: Lindsay Palmer, Head of Teaching School and Jenny Chislett, Trust Lead for Science, meet to plan the timetable of events from 2019-21

Term 4 2018-19

Where it all begins! We travelled to York on 3rd April 2019, to join Cohort 12 and kick off our partnership with STEM Learning. Lindsay Palmer, Head of Teaching School, and Jon Hackett, teacher and Science Lead for The Mead Primary School, endured planes, trains and automobiles to get to York from Trowbridge after school, and were kindly hosted by the University of York for the night.

The following day we attended a briefing with the other schools in the cohort, and put our practical Science skills to the test!

The whole induction experience was hugely inspiring, and we arrived back just before the Easter break tired and slightly travel-weary, but incredibly excited about what the partnership will mean to our teachers and children.

4th April 2019: Starting as we mean to go on, with a fabulous breakfast provided by the University of York

4th April 2019: Getting to grips with building our own glider as part of the induction day