School partnership: Durham Ferryhill & Chilton

6 September 2019

The Durham Ferryhill & Chilton Partnership is an active, highly collaborative cluster of six primary schools. At the heart of the partnership is a new Phiz Lab at Chilton Academy and an enthusiastic and inspirational cohort of ambassadors from across the schools.

Our ambassador’s programme is engaging girls in science and increasing the extra-curricular science activities we can offer across the partnership. The programme is encouraging girls to get involved and enthused by science, raising their science capital and their self-confidence. In return, they are sharing their enthusiasm and expertise with pupils across the partnership as they deliver science clubs, lunchtime lessons and community events.

Thirty-six girls from Years 4-6 at the six primary schools have been working as science ambassadors in 2018/2019 supporting science at their schools and in their local communities – they are inspirational. It’s been amazing working with them this year and seeing all of their ideas and activities develop and flourish. Being a science ambassador makes a huge difference to their confidence and their awareness of opportunities in STEM.

Phiz Lab opening

Our new Phiz Lab at Chilton Academy is designed to nurture pupil-led scientific learning; the space and resources, combined with the expertise of science specialists from regional businesses and universities, is helping us to provide our partnership pupils with scientific skills and knowledge that they can pass onto their peers. The science ambassadors are using the space for hands-on workshops for families and to help younger pupils learn through experiments they have developed with staff and students.

We have fantastic support from our local Ogden regional representative, Dr Lorraine Coghill at Durham University and work closely with other local businesses and organisations, including Business Durham, the economic development organisation for Durham, who train and support our young science ambassadors.

We want children to see science as an exciting, fun and innovative career option in the future; our partnership is a huge factor in making this happen.

Glenys Newby, Partnership Co-ordinator, Durham Ferryhill & Chilton Partnership
(July 2019)


"Hello - I am Leah, one of the Science Ambassadors from Cleves Cross primary and I have worked with ambassadors from all the Ferryhill, Chilton and West Cornforth primary schools.

I have really enjoyed being a Science Ambassador this year. I loved doing the science clubs, training, the opening of the Phiz Lab, the Rolls Royce and Netpark visits and learning all the science facts. I hope next year’s Science Ambassadors love it as much as we did!

Meeting an astronaut was amazing too! I enjoyed meeting Dr Jenny and Dr Lorraine and all the scientists. Our science club at school was super fun. We have made rockets, slime, oobleck and electronics.

Oobleck is a liquid and a solid. In your hand it is a liquid but if you punch or poke it, it’s hard.

Also we learned about electronics, we connected wires from a battery to a fan, a buzzer and a light bulb. It’s all been amazing thanks to The Ogden Trust, Durham University Physics Outreach, Business Durham and Approach Too."
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