Education news - January-February 2015

The new 7m Science Centre at St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon

The new 7m Science Centre at St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon - Credit: Archant

A new science centre, a new head master and a crash course in forensics for pupils make up this month’s education news.

Berkhampstead School science class

Berkhampstead School science class - Credit: Archant

Pupils playing detective

Year 6 pupils at Berkhampstead School, Cheltenham enjoyed a crash course in how science can help to catch criminals. In the expert hands of an ex-detective, they learnt how to take copies of their own finger prints. They then ‘lifted’ finger prints off objects that had been held by a suspect and looked for the three different patterns that finger prints have; different to every person even identical twins - which they were able to check since there are two in the class! Chromatography helped them to discover which pen might have been used in a bank raid where the robber had communicated by notes rather than talking. The final activity saw pupils investigating a crime scene (skeleton included) to find out who the victim and suspect were, how the victim had been killed and the motive behind it. All had great fun!

Centre blinds with science

A new £7m Science Centre at St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon has been officially opened by world-renowned geneticist, Professor Kay Davies CBE.

Professor Davies, of the University of Oxford’s Hertford College, spoke to the assembled audience of visitors, girls and staff before unveiling the official plaque for the new centre which boasts 13 laboratories.

Each science - biology, chemistry and physics - has four new laboratories arranged over three subject specific floors. Breakout areas on each floor, and the resources available in them, such as journals, magazines and touch screens, allow for independent study, collaboration and small group work and discussion. The three-storey glass atrium provides an event space for whole School events including seminars, lectures and outreach activities.

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Professor Davies also toured the new centre along with other guests and as well as seeing the facilities, spoke to students about the impact the centre was already making, their science studies and their future careers.

Acting Headteacher, Mrs Bernadette Stubley, said: “The centre is an outstanding modern learning environment with the girls at its heart. It provides students with the opportunity to fully engage with their studies in science, curricular and beyond, to explore independently and in groups in a stimulating and inspiring facility. Over two-thirds of our girls in the Sixth Form study a STEM subject. The strong take-up of science subjects isn’t pushed by teachers, but we do think that as we are an all-girls school that there is less of a preconception as to what subjects they should take.”

New Head for Dean Close

Roger Jones has joined Dean Close Preparatory School as the new Headmaster. Dean Close, which has 281 pupils in its Prep school, has warmly welcomed this very experienced Headmaster who has worked in independent preparatory schools for some 37 years and as a Headmaster for 23 years.

Roger began his professional career at The Junior King’s School in Canterbury and went on to be Headmaster of three such

Schools – Belmont in the Surrey Hills, Davenies School in Beaconsfield and more recently at St George’s School, Windsor Castle, a co-educational Choir School of some 400 pupils.

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