Two science specialists win Primary Science Teacher Awards endorsed by the IOP

18 October 2016

Two science teachers – Jules Pottle and Rufus Cooper – have received Primary Science Teacher Awards endorsed by the Institute of Physics and awarded by the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT).

Two science specialists win Primary Science Teacher Awards endorsed by the IOP

Both were presented with their awards by the IOP’s head of education, Charles Tracy, at a ceremony in Bristol on 3 October. As part of the judging process, Cooper and Pottle had each been observed teaching lessons on a physics theme that were imaginative and succeeded in engaging the children, the observers found.

Rufus Cooper has been head of science at the Vineyard School in Richmond, London, for the last seven years. In his nomination from the PSST he was described as “a really exceptional teacher” who has made “an enormous impact on the teaching and learning of the subject”.

Two science specialists win Primary Science Teacher Awards endorsed by the IOP

The nomination goes on to say: “His passion and enthusiasm for science is infectious and he has inspired children, staff and parents alike. Through his inspirational teaching he has ensured that staff are fully supported in delivering science and children are engaged and excited by the subject. Colleagues look to him for ideas, imagination and advice. They feel well supported by him and all children adore their science lessons.”

Special mention is made of his successful proposal to have a Science Hub at the school that would become a Centre of Excellence. Since it opened in April 2015, Rufus has made it into a “ fascinating place of discovery”, the citation says.

Jules Pottle teaches science across the school at Cumnor C of E Primary School, Oxford, and is a trainer for Storytelling Schools and a freelance educator for The Story Museum, Oxford. Her nomination from the PSST says she has “engendered a love and excitement for science throughout the school”. It says: “She uses imaginative approaches to teaching science, particularly using stories to give a context for investigation. This has proved highly effective in engaging the children and this is reflected in the standards achieved by the children: over 60% achieve level 5 in Key Stage 2 SATs in science each year.”

Two science specialists win Primary Science Teacher Awards endorsed by the IOP

The citation goes on to describe her work in CPD for teachers, including the use of storytelling in teaching science, her book entitled Science Through Stories, and her science days involving hands-on science activities for children at other schools as well as her own. The nomination says: “She can demonstrate the wonders of science to both children and adults. She has the gift of making science accessible, fun and memorable.”

Speaking later, Pottle said: “It was a real honour to be given the award and I feel really lucky to be part of this special group of energetic and inspiring teachers. Everyone in the group has done something extraordinary in their schools to promote science, born out of their own particular passion. We all have a lot to learn from each other.”

The winners receive £1,000 each and £500 for their schools. They are also invited to join the PSTT Primary Science Teacher College as fellows, and as such have access to funding of more than £500,000 a year to develop new projects, undertake professional development and to disseminate best practice.