IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Primary Science Capital Project

Working with teachers to develop a science capital approach for primary schools.

The Primary Science Capital Teaching Approach (PSCTA): Teacher Handbook

Cover of the Primary Science Capital Teaching Approach (PSCTA): Teacher Handbook

Handbook translated into other languages

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss translating our materials into any other language. Email: ioe.stemparticipationsocialjustice@ucl.ac.uk

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The Primary Science Capital Project is a piece of applied action research – we work in partnership with teachers to develop a science capital informed pedagogical approach for use in primary schools, from Reception to Year 6.
This is a two-year project (2019-2021) funded by Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and Ogden Trust.
Research and Goals

The project aims to make a significant impact in primary science teaching by meeting the strong and growing demand by practitioners for the secondary-developed Science Capital Teaching Approach.

Our research questions include:

  • How can the principles of the secondary Science Capital Teaching Approach translate to the primary sector?
  • What are the challenges and issues in implementation?
  • How do these vary between teachers, different types of school/ pupil populations (e.g. SES, ethnicity) and by key stage?
  • What are the impacts and effects of implementation of the approach across the sample on children and teachers?

The project will:

  • support primary teachers to develop new skills to build their confidence and competence in science teaching
  • identify the ways in which teachers can better support children’s engagement with science thus contributing to both improved public scientific literacy and addressing the future STEM skills gap.

The project comprises of two phases:

Phase 1

Development of the Primary Science Capital Teaching Approach using action research:

  • Teacher fellows and academic partners will meet regularly to feedback, test, amend and refine pedagogical principles and materials of the secondary-focused Science Capital Teaching Approach.
  • Researchers will support fellows to research their own practice and will conduct additional data collection to both ensure consistent baseline data (capable of showing changes in levels of pupil science capital) and support the project’s knowledge-development.
  • Researchers will also work with fellows to refine the existing science capital measure and make appropriate versions for primary pupils in KS1 and KS2.

Phase 2

  • Qualitative and quantitative research of the Primary Science Capital Teaching Approach implementation.
  • Examination of the Approach's impact and lessons through fellows’ cascading of the Approach to colleagues, with an emphasis on how best to retain fidelity to the evidence-based practice.
Dissemination of the approach

To disseminate, scale and embed the primary science capital teaching approach (PSCTA), we are offering two training courses:

  1. A 9-month accredited training course (offered virtually), which will enable participants to develop an in-depth understanding of the PSCTA and become proficient in cascading it to others. The aim of the course is to establish a national network of high-quality regional coordinators, who will be able to cascade the approach and support teachers in their area to understand and use the PSCTA in their practice. 
  2. A 5-month course offered to science subject leads. This virtual course will enable participants to develop an understanding of the PSCTA and apply the approach within their own practice. 

At the first instance, these courses are only being offered to Fellows from Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and The Ogden Trust. Please reach out to us at ioe.stemparticipationsocialjustice@ucl.ac.uk for more details.

Primary Science Capital project blog