Brambletye, a co-educational preparatory school in West Sussex, was declared the overall winner in the prestigious inter-school science competition organised by Haileybury. In last year’s Festival, Brambletye won the Chemistry section.
The challenge, which this year was sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited, is designed to stimulate enthusiasm for science as well as to stimulate problem-solving skills in pupils, explains Haileybury’s Head of Biology, Dr Fiona Hughes, who organised last Thursday’s event.
A record 54 schools from South East England applied for the 16 places to compete in three science-based challenges.
The Biology section involved experiments on the theme ‘Magic of the Senses’. It included experiments to challenge all their senses, from identifying objects by feel alone and recognising a range of wild mammal recordings made in the Haileybury woods, to writing Braille. The winners were Beacon School in Buckinghamshire.
Westbrook Hay Prep School in Hemel Hempstead proved most adept at using Bunsen Burners and crystals to produce convection currents and explain continental drift for the Chemistry section while Aldwickbury pupils from Harpenden had a smashing time in their Physics section which took them on a journey involving dropping (unboiled) eggs from a ladder four metres up to see if they were adequately protected.
Says Dr Hughes: "The activities certainly challenged all the participants and most importantly, allowed them to have fun. Their enthusiasm and skills encouraged us all and we feel it was a great start to National Science week."
David Rawlins, Director of MSD Ltd, comments: "MSD is delighted to support the sponsorship of prizes for the Science Festival. We were particularly encouraged that so many schools and pupils participated in the competition, as it is initiatives such as these that will help to inspire children about science and encourage the development of a new generation of scientists."
The 16 schools which qualified for the 2005 Festival included:
Lochinver, Aldwickbury, Ralph Sadleir, Beacon, Devonshire House, Hendon Prep, Stormont, Loyola Prep, Manor Lodge, Beechwood Park, Heath Mount, Lockers Park, St Aubyns, Kingshott, Westbrook Hay and Brambletye.