Curiosity Connections spoke to Sarah Earle, Senior Regional Hub Leader for Wales and the West, to find out what the Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) is all about…
What is the PSQM?
“PSQM is an opportunity for school’s to develop and celebrate primary science through subject leadership development.
“It’s a year-long process for the school, with the subject leader working with their local hub leader via meetings and online support to develop science in the school.
“They start by auditing the current state of science education in the school and then plan how to develop science uptake by doing things like: developing science days, looking at cross-curricula links and science assessment, supporting less confident colleagues etc.
“At the end of the year they reflect on the process, upload evidence of what they’ve done and are awarded a PSQM award that stands for three years.”
What are the different PSQM award levels?
“When the subject leader audits the school, they decide whether to go for PSQM Award, Gilt or Outreach. Gilt is the slightly shinier version of the Award, which means practice is embedded, and Outreach is when the school has started to support other schools.”
Why are PSQM so focused on subject leader support?
“PSQM is a whole school thing, but we believe that subject leaders are the ones who are going to make the difference. And we refer to them as leaders because they’re doing more than sorting resources, they are leading the school in a strategic way.”
And the awkward question, does it cost anything?
“Yes, it comes with a price tag, £800 for a school. But for that the school gets four,half days of face-to-face subject leader CPD support, plus e-mentoring in-between.”
How does a school sign-up?
“Usually one subject leader, or sometimes a pair, register their school’s interest on the website. Rounds start in September and finish in June, or start in April to finish in March.
“PSQM is growing and growing, it started off as a very small pilot from a few schools, to growing across the country and now it’s international, with about 600 schools participating every year.”