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Chemistry outreach programme receives funding boost

Chemistry outreach programme receives funding boost

The Royal Society of Chemistry has awarded funding to St Mary’s School, Cambridge to support the delivery of a dynamic chemistry outreach programme, that will enable 40-50 pupils from local state primary schools to experience a series of inspiring practical chemistry sessions.

The Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund supports initiatives that provide ‘hard-to-reach student audiences with inspiring chemistry engagement activities, delivered by skilled people’. St Mary’s School has built a track record of delivering effective outreach and the funding will be used to support the delivery of: ‘Bridging Chemistry with the world around us’ – five practical lessons for pupils in Years 4 and 5.

Up to 50 pupils will join the programme from four local primaries with higher levels of pupil premium funding. They will attend a series of five practical, hands-on sessions, in St Mary’s School’s laboratories, along with teaching or supporting staff from each school.

The outreach programme is led by Dr Cristina Alves Martins, Head of Chemistry and Science at St Mary’s School and supported by Dr Alonso, Chemistry technician, both passionate advocates for science. Each 1.5 hour session encourages young people to enjoy experimenting in a laboratory setting. Pupils are encouraged to carry out experiments linked to the real-world contexts and to explore how chemistry opens up exciting career paths. They also build skills in team work, planning, data analysis, conclusion writing and presentation skills.

At the end of the programme, each pupil receives a certificate, complete with stickers to demonstrate progress in a core set of skills, plus a folder recording the experiments completed. For the aspiring chemist, there are tips for extending learning at home and teaching staff take away ideas for developing the topics covered in their own schools.

This initiative builds on previous outreach work delivered by St Mary’s School. Students at St Mary’s also benefit greatly from working with local schools to inspire other young scientists, as part of the Youth Stemm Awards.

Dr Cristina Alves Martins, Programme Leader comments: “I am passionate about helping all young people to discover the potential of chemistry. Through our outreach programme, we provide a practical, hands-on experience of science that is fun and engaging, which is designed to offer a positive and memorable learning experience for young people in our local area.”