Abingdon School’s Science Partnership, ASP, has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2018 Tes Schools Awards in the Community and Collaboration category. Set up three years ago by staff at Abingdon School, the Partnership’s aim is to encourage science in the community through activities and support of schools, clubs, local organisations and events. ASP Co-ordinator, Jeremy Thomas said “I couldn’t be more proud of my team here at Abingdon School, it's a fantastic achievement."
Commenting on the shortlist for the 2018 awards, Tes editor Ann Mroz said: “It is wonderful to see such innovative ideas and best-practice emerging from our schools and teachers, despite the current squeeze on funding. We had a record year for entries and the standard was the best so far – all those shortlisted should be very proud: it’s an extraordinary achievement.”
The winners will be revealed at the Tes gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 22 June 2018. To see the full short list visit tesawards.co.uk.
Speaking about ASP, Jeremy, said. “We want everyone to explore science, not just to learn what’s on a syllabus, and it’s exciting no matter what age you are. We started with our own ideas but now we are part of big, national projects such as the Polar Explorer Programme which puts primary school children in touch with scientists working in the polar regions, and ATLAScraft where secondary students from several schools constructed a virtual version of CERN’s ATLAS detector in Minecraft. We want people to see how fascinating science can be, and not just the headline stuff – every day science is great too.”
The Partnership has a dedicated science lab at Abingdon School which hosts activities and events including Science Oxford’s Saturday Science Clubs which regularly attract up to 60 primary aged children and their parents. The clubs, which are practical and hands-on, are run voluntarily by ASP staff and Abingdon School students. They explore diverse topics from building rockets and investigating fossils to making models of human digestion. And they’ve run science for adults too with a ‘Gunge for Grown Ups’ evening.
Brownies, Beavers, Rainbows, Scouts and Guides all use the ASP lab. Children can work on badges, Science Investigator and Star Gazer, and get involved with projects such as clean water and sanitation in developing countries. Interested parties include 10 Downing St who invited the 30th Abingdon Beavers to visit and demonstrate their project.
ASP’s activities cover over 50 schools and community organisations across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. The Partnership supports CREST at ten schools with around 300 Year 2 and Year 3 pupils gaining the Star award each year. ASP has also become a catalyst for the growth of local STEM outreach activities, supporting these in both maintained and independent schools and youth groups. The Partnership works with local community organisations including the annual Abingdon ATOM Festival of Science and Technology.