The new £7m science centre at St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon was officially opened by world-renowned geneticist, Professor Kay Davies CBE on 11 November. Professor Davies, of the University of Oxford’s Hertford College, spoke to the assembled audience of visitors, girls and staff before unveiling the official plaque for the new centre which boasts 13 laboratories.
Each science – biology, chemistry and physics – has four new laboratories arranged over three subject-specific floors. Break-out areas on each floor and the resources available in them, such as journals, magazines and touch screens, allow for independent study, collaboration and small group work and discussion. The three-storey glass atrium provides an event space for whole-school events, including seminars, lectures and outreach activities.
Professor Davies also toured the new centre along with other guests, and as well as seeing the facilities, spoke to students about the impact the centre was already making, their science studies and their future careers.
Acting headteacher Mrs Bernadette Stubley said: “The centre is an outstanding modern learning environment with the girls at its heart. It provides students with the opportunity to fully engage with their studies in science, curricular and beyond, to explore independently and in groups in a stimulating and inspiring facility. Over two thirds of our girls in the sixth form study a STEM subject. The strong take-up of science subjects isn’t pushed by teachers, but we do think that as we are an all-girls school that there is less of a preconception as to what subjects they should take.”