Funding a passion for physics at Dallam School March 21, 2012
An appeal by a Dallam schoolteacher to a billionaire who wants young people to get passionate bout physics has secured the school special funding which will also benefit other local schools.
Ms Watson applied to the Ogden Trust, set up by billionaire Peter Ogden, for funding to support a number of initiatives that will benefit secondary school pupils in the South Lakes area. Ashley Watson (28), who teaches Physics at Dallam School, is particularly keen to use the funding to encourage girls to study a subject traditionally the preserve of boys.
The £5,000 grant from the trust is now funding a popular, twice-weekly, physics after- school club, the purchase of text books and equipment not usually available in schools as well as a programme of lectures from visiting experts. This month (14 March) Dr Melanie Windridge, who presents on the BBC’s ‘Bang Goes The Theory’ show, visited Dallam and spoke to students from Dallam and other schools.
The money is also earmarked to launch a quest to find the county’s best young physicist, to send young pupils on an ‘extreme physics’ bootcamp involving star-watching, sky-diving, making rockets and learning from Oxbridge graduates. Next year Ms Watson hopes Dallam will be able to run its own bootcamp for young physicists in conjunction with the University of Cumbria and using the observatory at Grange over Sands.
“Physics is a challenging and deeply rewarding subject requiring a good grasp of maths. I’ve been really impressed by the enthusiasm of the students who attend my after school club particularly Friday’s session. I am hoping these Year Ten pupils will be able to sit their AS level in physics next January, just seven months after taking their GCSE exam.” explains Ashley.
“And”, adds Ashley, “when Tim Simmons, director of funding at the Ogden Trust recently visited the school he was highly impressed with the inspirational commitment of our current Year Ten girls which makes me very proud”.
The Ogden Trust hopes that this initiative, along with many others it funds, will have a significant impact on the teaching of science in schools and halt the decline of physics graduates and teachers.
For more information contact: Emma Dewhurst