Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has announced the winner of the 2012 Rolls-Royce Science Prize, which celebrates and rewards excellence in science teaching.
Teachers from the nine finalist schools attended the awards ceremony at London’s Science Museum. Kells and Connor Primary School, Belfast, was announced as the winner from over 2,000 UK schools. The team received £15,000 to advance science teaching in their school, along with an invitation to spend a day with the Red Arrows. Lark Hall Primary School, London, received the runner up prize of £10,000.
Presenting the awards, John Rishton, Rolls-Royce Chief Executive, said: "I am delighted to award this year's prize to Kells and Connor Primary School for their project 'Made in Belfast'.Their entry is a great example of what can be achieved through innovative and imaginative teaching and I congratulate both staff and pupils for their hard work."
Special guest at the ceremony was the Government Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sir John Beddington, who gave a speech on the importance of science and engineering education. Commenting on the award he said: "Getting people interested in science starts at school, and I was really impressed with the imagination and passion for teaching demonstrated by the finalists in this competition. Their hard work will help create a new generation of scientists and engineers to address the enormous challenges of the 21st century."
Kells and Connor Primary Schoo's 'Made In Belfast' project explored how past industrial innovation shaped the city of Belfast and had influence across the world. Pupils developed an understanding of the science behind the innovations and completed technology challenges. The project was broadcast using a dedicated website and was carried out in tandem with local grammar schools and Queens University Belfast Engineering Department. The project aimed to encourage pupils to take risks with their inventions and develop an interest in a scientific career.
Roy McClelland, Principal of Kells and Connor Primary School, said: "It's a real privilege to accept this award on behalf of all those involved in the project who have shown dedication and hard work in bringing it to fruition. Everyone is very excited at the prospect of using the prize money to enhance and improve the science department in our school."
The Rolls-Royce Science Prize was set up in 2004, as part of the company’s ongoing drive to promote science and engineering in schools by encouraging and rewarding inspirational science teaching. Each year, the company awards a total of £120,000 in cash prizes to schools who implement motivational science teaching. To date, over £810,000 in prize money has been distributed to 360 schools across the UK. Rolls-Royce employees also act as mentors to provide support to the schools throughout their projects.