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Phizzing with excitement

Swadlincote Partnership opens its new Phiz Lab with support from the Trust and local businesses.

Published: 13 December 2022

“It’s unusual for a primary school to have this kind of facility and this has happened because we are part of The Ogden Trust. To have the funding and space to be able to do this is amazing. It is our vision for this to be a space allowing our children to become enthusiastic scientists, with pupils from other schools in the partnership taking advantage of this dedicated facility and for it to be a community hub.”

Nashim Prabatani has always wanted to provide pupils at St Edward’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, in Swadlincote, with a purpose-built facility dedicated to science to enhance their learning. Now, as part of the Ogden Swadlincote Partnership, her vision has become a reality as the school has opened its own Phiz Lab, with support from local businesses and The Ogden Trust.

As well as a Phiz Lab grant from The Ogden Trust, the school received support from electronics company Integrex, logistics company Clipper and Home and Garden Services Acorn who are all based in Swadlincote.

A class of pupils pictured in a colourful lab with a 'space' wall behind them and inflatable planets from the ceiling. Four adults are also in the pictiure.

Together they transformed an under-utilised area of the school into a Phiz Lab, complete with an area for children to complete their investigations using dedicated science equipment. There is also a comprehensive library relating to science and microscopes for the children to use to extend their learning opportunities within their lessons. The school also received funding from the Worshipful Glass Sellers Company of London to purchase six telescopes and six pairs of binoculars which offer children the chance to explore the night sky on a regular basis. Clipper provided the school with an eye-catching large-scale space inspired mural which is definitely a talking point for the children and for visitors to the Phiz Lab.

Nashim, class teacher and Science Lead at St Edward’s, said she was inspired by her love of science to create a dedicated space for the children.

She said: “It feels surreal. To be able to inspire the same love of science that I had as a young child among our children is incredible. It would be wonderful even if one child became a scientist or went on to study science at A-level or university.

Two young pupils in white coats using pipettes for a science investigation

“It’s unusual for a primary school to have this kind of facility and this has happened because we are part of The Ogden Trust. To have the funding and space to be able to do this is amazing. It is our vision for this to be a space allowing our children to become enthusiastic scientists, with pupils from other schools in the partnership taking advantage of this dedicated facility and for it to be a community hub.”

A pupil from Year 6, said she loved the science lab. She said: “It’s a really good learning environment and it’s great that it’s a room that is just for science. I look forward to my lessons in here; it is one of my favourite rooms in school.”

A pupil from Year 3, said she thought that pupils were lucky to have such an amazing space in school. She said: “It’s good, there is lots of equipment in the lab and we’ve got science books in the library. The whole place is really colourful and I enjoy learning in it. It’s my favourite classroom and I love having lessons in here.”

Jayne McQuillan, Headteacher at St Edward’s, which is part of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said that pupils would benefit hugely from the new lab, that has created a buzz around school.

She said: “I want to thank everyone who has been involved in creating the Phiz Lab. The children love it and staff can come in here and know that all of the equipment they need is to hand. It will allow our pupils to explore and be hands-on with materials, it generates interest and an enthusiasm for science and provides opportunities that you just can’t get in a classroom. We have also had some great feedback from parents about it.”

Pete Dowsett, East Midlands representative for The Ogden Trust, said they were pleased to have been able to support St Edward’s. He said: “The lab is a brilliant space. It’s great to see the children in their lab coats and they can come here and use this facility which raises the profile of science, and that’s the whole purpose.”

A male pupil pouring water from a beaker into a cylinder for a science investigation. He is wearing a white lab coat.

School Partnerships

Applications for new partnerships open annually between September and February.

A local cluster partnership (a group of four or more schools within a local area) can apply for up to £2,500 per academic year for the first three years and up to £1,000 in the fourth year for partnership activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. A further grant of up to £250 is available as partnerships move into their legacy phase. In the first year, partnership co-ordinators are awarded a time buy-out giving them half a day a week to build relationships across the cluster and establish the partnership.

An established collaboration partnership (a group of four or more schools associated through a multi-academy trust (MAT), MAC, federation, educational trust, etc) can apply for up to £2,000 per academic year for the first three years and £1,000 in the fourth year for activities to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. The partnership lead is eligible for up to two years of time buy-out to support the partnership.

Partnerships receive support from Ogden regional representatives and teachers at all partnership schools can access Ogden CPD from Early Years Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 3.

Three pupils in lab coats looking at a model of teeth


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