Student scientists from Sheffield showcase at national exhibition

Student scientists from a Sheffield school have showcased their cutting-edge research findings at the third anniversary celebration of the Institute for Research in Schools at The Francis Crick Institute in London

Monday, 25th March 2019, 11:31 am
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 11:33 am
Year 12 students at Tapton School showcasing their modular satellite which they designed as part of the Engineering Education Scheme with support from ARM technologies. (L-R) Emma Bladen, Emily Pearson, Tom Edwards, Owen Cooper, Sam Krain.

The students from Tapton School, in Crosspool, presented their research into motor neurone disease, genome annotation and collaborative efforts  with eight primary schools in Sheffield to discover the next generation of antibiotics, at the event on March 18. 

Their work, which was celebrated by the scientific community, has been made possible by the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), which gives the youngsters access to real world and potentially life changing science projects.

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Currently there is a national shortage of scientists and engineers, with Engineering UK estimating that by 2024 we will need to train 186,000 engineers annually to keep up with industry demand.

However, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) curriculum is not enticing enough to meet that demand.

So, in a bid to plug the gap, IRIS are hoping they can inspire the next generation of scientists.

Leo Maltby Year 12 student at Tapton School, took part in the event. He said: “Performing experiments with DNA in our motor neurone disease project has been a remarkable experience where we are learning so much, but most importantly if it works, we may unlock new ideas about how this terrible disease can be treated.”

Owen Cooper Year 12 student at Tapton School added: “It has been fantastic to be given some freedom to explore the genomes of the human whipworm in genome decoders.” 

David Dennis, Executive Headteacher of the Tapton School Academy Trust, added: “It is great to see the impact that these projects have had on our students’ enthusiasm for, and engagement, in practical science across our Trust.”

Following the event, Tapton School hosted a Science-Expo to showcase the science which the students are involved in both inside and outside of the classroom, and to celebrate their successes in national and international competitions.

Nick Harris, Science Teacher at Tapton School, said: “Science thrives in a culture of discussion and collaboration and that is what this is about.

“Our students were really impressive and thoroughly enjoyed answering some of the tough questions from so many visiting academics from our local universities.

“Our younger students also did us proud with their many activities on show. All this in the same week as our national showcase in London.”

At the Expo, Becky Parker, Director of the Institute for Research in Schools, said she was impressed with the ‘phenomenal standard’ of work by Tapton students in helping tackle challenges of the future.

She added: “It was wonderful to celebrate Tapton’s important contributions to so many of our research projects as well as hear about how they are developing new projects with primary schools at our third anniversary earlier this week.

“Now is the time to nurture these young scientists in Sheffield if we want to bridge the gap between supply and demand in the industry.

“Coming face to face with real science is the way to make children fall in love with science - so much so that they continue their studies at A-Level, onto university and then out into the world as passionate scientists.”