Schools set out to revolutionise their approach to science teaching

FIFTEEN ARK schools have announced they’re to sign up for Empiribox, the new innovation in science teaching that’s inspiring a new approach to learning science in primary schools.

Empiribox provides teachers with access to all the equipment they need for primary school science teaching, as well as exciting Schemes of Work and Lesson Plans. It is a unique concept which, the team that developed it says, will enhance the teaching and learning of science in primary schools.

ARK is an education charity and considered to be one of the country’s top-performing academy networks. It aims to create schools that give every pupil the opportunity to go to university or pursue the career of their choice. Fourteen out of the 15 ARK schools that have been inspected so far by Ofsted are rated good or outstanding.

Empiribox provides the platform for delivering affordable and practical science lessons throughout the year for KS2 pupils in Years three to six.

“The vast majority of class teachers in K1 and KS2 have no graduate science qualifications and often no science A level qualifications either,” explains Empiribox Managing Director Dan Sullivan, “so they’re often uncomfortable and ill-equipped to deliver high quality lessons, effectively planned and structured, and with appropriate equipment.

“Just as in secondary schools, science teaching at primary school needs to be exciting and interactive. That can only happen if teachers feel confident in the science role. Empiribox makes learning fun and relevant for pupils – that’s probably its greatest benefit.”

Empiribox provides imaginative, engaging and fun schemes of work for every teaching week over four years. Training and support for teachers is provided by experienced teacher-trainers, and there’s access to full class sets of all the latest and traditional teaching resources.

In addition to ongoing Continuous Professional Development in science for primary teachers, the newly-launched scheme has a number of significant advantages for pupils.

Says Sullivan: “The system encourages children to ask and test scientific questions and develop ‘Investigative skills’; it stimulates their enthusiasm for science as well as enhancing their understanding of the scientific process, particularly the limitations of experimental design.

“And there’s a major benefit for children, teachers and schools outside of science; it enhances literacy and numeracy through real data and experiments which they own.

“Add to that the removal of stress, time and anxiety for teachers and schools around planning the annual science curriculum and lessons for KS2 and there’s every chance it will boost the school’s results in the core science skills they need, leading to improved league table results and greater popularity and funding.”

The Empiribox system was trialled in 21 schools in Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and London, prior to its launch across the UK in April.

The ARK schools will take delivery of their first Empiribox experiments’ trolleys in September.

Venessa Willms of ARK says: “Using Empiribox will provide teaching consistency across our academies; not only will it improve students’ knowledge and understanding of science, it will allow staff to develop through teacher training and lessons plans that ensure continuous quality of teaching.

“We’ll be sending a better calibre of science students to secondary school; students with enthusiasm, practical experience and the willingness to explore science in Key Stage 3 and beyond. Using Empiribox across our schools also means that children and parents will know what to expect with ARK, regardless of location.”

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