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Thursday, June 6 • 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Effective primary science subject leadership LIMITED
Limited Capacity seats available

The seminar will begin with a review of the academic literature relevant to the leadership of primary science and consider what effective primary science leadership might look like from a theoretical perspective. The second talk will consider the expectations which others, including senior leaders and OFSTED, will have of subject leaders. The CPD and distributed leadership which might support subject leaders to increase their effectiveness will also be discussed. The seminar will conclude with the findings of recent research into the way in which the Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) supports the development of the professional identity of science subject leaders in their roles as both leaders and science teachers. Consideration will be given to the elements of the (PSQM) and the contexts in which subject leaders work which offer affordances and constraints in such developments.

Talk 1 – Derek Bell
Subject leadership in primary schools is a relatively under researched area of study but, at the same time, it has a key role in successful teaching and learning across the curriculum. Based on research undertaken in primary schools in England, this talk will review and reflect on the development of the role, its challenges and its benefits. In particular the presentation will consider contrasting views on the tensions which arise for the vast majority of subject leaders who are also classroom teachers (see Hammersley-Fletcher & Brundrett, 2005, Busher and Harris, 2000)

Talk 2 – Julia Burger
In the primary settings the science subject leaders will usually assume responsibility for other roles in their schools. Despite performing multiple roles, effective subject leaders need to be aware of the expectations of senior leaders, colleagues, OFSTED and pupils. These expectations will be explored as will the CPD opportunities which should be available. The ways in which, through distributed leadership, subject leaders can not only raise the profile of science in school, but develop themselves as leaders will be considered. Finally, the talk will discuss preparation for a visit from Ofsted.

Talk 3 – Clare Warren
Bell and Ritchie (1999) describe subject leaders as "agents of change" and my PSQM experiences as both a participant and hub leader lead me to believe that PSQM is supportive of science subject leaders as they lead change in their schools.  This prompted me to investigate the developing identity and agency of science subject leaders as they work towards gaining a PSQM award and the affordances and constraints which influence any such development.   The results of my research will be shared.

Bell, D. and Ritchie, R. (1999) Towards Effective Subject Leadership in the Primary School. Open University Press. Buckingham and Philadelphia Busher, H. and Harris, A. (2000) Subject Leadership and School Improvement. Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd., London
Busher, H., Hammersley-Fletcher, L. and Turner, C. (2007) Making sense of middle leadership: community, power and practice, School Leadership and Management. Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 405-422
Hammersley-Fletcher, L. and Brundrett, M. (2005) Leaders on leadership: the impressions of primary school head teachers and subject leaders. School Leadership and Management. Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 423-435
Wellcome Trust (2017) 'State of the nation' report of UK primary science education. CFE research. London.

Chaired by Jane Turner

avatar for Jane Turner

Jane Turner

Director of PSQM, Outgoing Chair of ASE, Primary Science Quality Mark, University of Hertfordshire
Associate Professor Jane Turner BA (Hons), PGCE, MEd, CsciTeachJane taught in primary schools in Hertfordshire and London. She is the director of the Primary Science Quality Mark, based at the University of Hertfordshire. Jane has written and contributed to several primary and early... Read More →


Clare Warren

Senior Regional Hub Leader, PSQM