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Innovative Darwin project wins this year’s Rolls-Royce Science Prize


Rolls-Royce plc, a world-leading provider of power systems and services, has awarded a primary school from Lancashire the 2007 Rolls-Royce Science Prize. Launched in 2004, the scheme promotes innovative science teaching in schools across the UK and Ireland.

St Stephen and All Martyrs’ Primary School, located near Bolton, won the prize for its ‘Darwin’s Footsteps’ project. Inspired by the expeditions of scientific pioneers, the children planned their own scientific expedition to a disused piece of land close to the school where they identified, classified and illustrated the local fauna and flora. The primary school pupils worked with Bolton University, using techniques usually reserved for undergraduates.

Rolls-Royce Chief Executive, Sir John Rose, presented the school with a trophy and cheque at an Awards Dinner held last night at the Science Museum in London. Sir John said: “What we are trying to do through the Science Prize initiative is to underline the point that, in today’s world, science really matters. Science in its widest sense is at the very heart of everything Rolls-Royce does.

“We all need to do more to ensure that a career in science and engineering is seen as an attractive, exciting and rewarding one. To achieve this we need inspirational and committed teachers like those at St Stephen and All Martyrs’ Primary School.”

Colin Johnson OBE, Rolls-Royce Science Prize Judge and Vice President (Young People’s Programme) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science commented: “Many schools run projects in which pupils explore their local environment, but this one is really special. It sets the scientific investigation in a broad historical context and takes the pupils on an exciting journey - both physically and mentally - into the ”uncharted territory“ which is on their doorstep. Warmest congratulations to the team.”

Michael Cummings, St Stephen and All Martyrs’ Primary School Head Teacher said: “We are always looking to develop exciting ways in which to enthuse our pupils in curriculum subjects. Winning the Rolls-Royce Science Prize means that we can retrace ‘Darwin’s Footsteps’ and its results, inspiring future generations about science.”

The winning school was selected by an independent panel of eminent educationalists ahead of eight other schools. The judges were impressed by the way that the team involved local experts to bring practical experience and new perspectives to the school science project, using research skills and modern technology. The ‘Darwin’s Footsteps’ project will have a lasting effect on the local area, reclaiming the disused land so that it is once more available to the whole community.

The school wins a prize of £15,000 to further science teaching in the school, plus a day out with the Red Arrows. London-based Mulberry School for Girls received the runner up prize for its project about the creation of the universe and will receive £10,000.


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