F-Secure Technology In Learning Award 2014/15 

‘Lab 13 Irchester’ 
Irchester Community Primary School, Northamptonshire  
Nominated by: Julia Alison  
Why do our baby teeth fall out? Why do leaves fall off trees? How do germs multiply? 
These are all questions pupils at a Northamptonshire village primary school have been busy answering which has helped the school win a national science award. 
The award was presented to the school for its ‘Lab 13’ project, a scientific learning programme aimed at improving children’s education through science.  
So committed to nurturing children’s skills is the school, it employs resident scientist Cambridge graduate, Alice Draper to help pupils conduct their investigations into some of the earth’s greatest mysteries. 
Children have been busy learning about germs and microbiology through their ‘Dirty, Stinky Children’ project; studying frogs with underwater cameras and learning about the trees and forests.  
The project has been so successful the school now funds the programme by renting the learning space to other schools. 
Head teacher Julia Alison explained the project was led by the children, who each posed a question to the resident scientist, Alice before a thorough scientific investigation by the class. Mrs Alison says the project is helping children to think more carefully. 
“We don’t put a ceiling on the questions, if the children ask a question and it’s what they want to know- even if it’s a secondary school question- we work with them to find an answer, we usually find it leads to another question,” she said. 
“The project has helped the children develop huge self assurance and belief. It gets them thinking about going to university and with their careers; it’s about them taking control and learning to manage their learning through their own investigations. We are very good in this county at innovation and creativity- so it’s all about developing and engaging that in our children.” 
She added: “We are delighted to win this award. It’s great to have national recognition for the project. We are thrilled." 
Kelly Griffiths is the awards’ organiser and commented: “It’s with great pleasure that we present this award to an amazing project which promotes science, literacy and numeracy skills to children.  
What the judges loved about this project was how the children led the programme with their own fantastic questions- and I can’t think of a more fun past time than studying frogs underwater!” 
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