Congratulations to Junior School Head Teacher, Mrs Skerry who has been nominated for the Royal Society of Chemistry Excellence in Primary Education Prize.
Mrs Skerry will often be found in the school orchard (pictured left) or in the Junior Science lab challenging and inspiring our inquisitive pupils.
Click on the link below to read more about this fantastic nomination.
RSC nomination _ Caroline Skerry
Caroline Skerry is committed to supporting primary teachers across Cornwall to develop excellent science in schools and during the pandemic organised ‘Cornwall Primary Science Share’ online to enable teachers to meet regularly to share good practice.
Caroline Skerry is head teacher at St Joseph’s Junior School in Launceston, Cornwall and a Fellow of the Primary Science Teaching Trust’s College. Caroline is passionate about primary science: both enthusing children to engage with science through practical investigations and sharing her expertise in primary science teaching with other teachers.
Caroline has been science subject lead at St Joseph’s from 2015 – 2021 and has introduced several science projects to the school which have fostered a ‘can do’ attitude and enthusiasm for science amongst the pupils. Examples include a Royal Society grant to investigate invasive species in the school pond, and outreach sessions with pupils from local primary schools.
During the first Covid-19 school lockdown Caroline was determined that practical science should continue at home and created a series of ‘Kitchen Science’ videos from her own kitchen which challenged children to have a go at an investigation. An example of these was showing how dye from Skittles dissolves and diffuses. Children were challenged to find out what happened when they changed the sweets or the liquid. Feedback from parents indicated that children were really engaged and were investigating their own questions.
Caroline has always been committed to sharing her expertise in primary science with other primary teachers. She shared her Kitchen Science videos on Facebook and with local teachers who asked to use the films with their classes. Feedback on Facebook confirmed that these are being used by children in other schools.
Caroline has also worked hard over the last 2 years to establish a free primary science network in Cornwall. In 2018 she approached STEM LP for help in advertising meetings and hosted a free twilight session at St Joseph’s for primary teachers wanting to develop primary science in their schools. Although only 4 teachers came, another meeting was arranged at Truro and was attended by 8 teachers. In 2019, Caroline approached Louise Stubberfield (Primary Science Programme Lead, Wellcome Trust) for support in growing this network. Other CPD providers in Cornwall were invited to support this venture: Kate Whetter (Education Coordinator, South West, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), Alison Trew (PSTT Area Mentor), Robbie Kirkman (Education Team Lead at Eden Project), Ed Walsh (Independent Consultant). The outcome was a twilight session at the Eden Project attended by 20 teachers.
Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic put a stop to these meetings. However, Caroline was not deterred. Despite taking on a new role as Junior headteacher in her school in September 2020, during the pandemic when schools were closed and travel and CPD opportunities were non-existent, Caroline started the ‘Cornwall Primary Science Share’. This is a free, online meeting after school for primary teachers across Cornwall.
Caroline contacted all the primary schools in Cornwall to advertise the first online Primary Science Share which was held in February 2021 and was attended by 16 teachers. Caroline invited a member of the RSC team to talk about the new RSC website and a PSTT Area Mentor to share new resources. Feedback was very positive, and teachers asked for a regular half-termly meeting.
The second online meeting in April 2021 was attended by 22 teachers. Caroline invited two PSTT Mentors to speak about funding for primary science and new resources which teachers can take back to their schools. Teachers were also given time to share good practice and their concerns in small groups (breakout rooms). Giving teachers a platform to discuss their practice is something that is not often done but is extremely helpful to teachers.
A third meeting in June 2021 was also attended by about 20 teachers. Teachers who were not able to attend this meeting but had come to previous sessions asked for news updates and PowerPoints to be emailed to them.
Over 60 primary teachers have now responded to Caroline’s invitations to the online Cornwall Primary Science Share and are now on a mailing list. Caroline intends to offer these online meetings every half-term from September 2021. In a rural county like Cornwall where travel to a venue takes a long time, this could become a very useful way for teachers to connect and discuss primary science. I suspect that the meetings will grow in popularity because several of the teachers who came to the first meetings work in large multi-academy trusts will share with colleagues.
I think that you will agree that Caroline has demonstrated effectiveness in delivering and supporting science teaching and that she is committed to supporting the development of primary teachers in Cornwall and encouraging collaboration between them.