2018 Schools Education Award Winner

Mrs Naomi Hennah
Mrs Naomi Hennah
Northampton School for Boys


Awarded for the development and promotion of the importance of language and literacy approaches in chemistry education practical work.

About the Winner

From a background in biochemistry I trained to be a science teacher with a chemistry specialism, teaching students aged 11 to 18. My roles have included Duke of Edinburgh Award leader and Gifted and Talented Coordinator. 

I joined Northampton School for Boys in 2014. It is here that I have been able to develop my knowledge and teaching of literacy in science. Socratic Questioning demonstrated how much more ground could be covered using talk rather than writing. Serendipitously, a friend introduced me to "Talk for Writing" a technique which uses talk and physical movement, motor memory, to support storytelling. As practical science involves a lot of physical movement, I wondered if talk could be employed to improve learning in practical chemistry. Dr Michael Seery's call to teachers interested in trialling his Digital Badge work moved my research interests into the public domain through our collaboration.

Subsequently I have devised a digital badge protocol that recognises "working scientifically" skill progression throughout compulsory education and places an emphasis on using oracy. I had the opportunity of conducting preliminary trials of this work at Geddington Primary school in their afterschool programme supported by an RSC East Midlands Local Section Trust grant. 

Thanks to the support of Northampton School for Boys, I am currently studying with the Open University for a Master's in Education focusing on literacy and have been training with Voice21 on their Oracy Leader course. Through oracy I hope more young people will succeed in chemistry education.