The science tech team at DHS includes Maggie Williams, Sam Baker, Alex Searle and Catherine Bourner. Maggie is the Senior Technician in the team, having joined DHS originally as a Teaching Assistant and then moving to the science department in 2011. There is a true team spirit and camaraderie between the staff who all work well together ensuring every single lesson is ready to go, from chemicals and agar dishes, scalpels and sheep eyes, to Weetabix and nylon tights which are used as an example of the digestive system. During Maggie’s 11 years in the department, she has prepared for over 11,000 lessons, meaning her experience and knowledge is a valuable resource to the entire team.
With 14 state of the art laboratories, 5 periods and up to 70 lessons to prepare for each day, ranging from year 7 to year 11 GCSE education, it is a busy environment demanding careful planning. The science department uses an IT software programme, Lab Logger, to input their requirements for each lesson. The technicians begin their day ensuring all work areas are safe and ready to go and then begin the task of gathering whatever resources are required for that day’s learning. Whilst students take a break mid-morning, and again at lunchtime, the technicians are busy re-stocking the individual laboratories so lessons flow seamlessly. Health and safety procedures are followed at all times, along with stock control, future planning, and even a weekly shopping trip to the supermarket and often the local butchers to purchase offal for dissection during biology lessons, so there is never a dull moment!
The team come from a diverse background, and the common theme is ‘common sense’. All the staff undertake regular training sessions with CLEAPSS, the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services, and DHS hopes to host CLEAPSS training sessions in the future for all local schools to attend. The team are all First Aid qualified, fire safety trained as well as completing annual DHS training in safeguarding, child protection, health and safety, diversity and equity as continued professional development is a key part for all our DHS staff.
The science technicians at DHS provide a vital role in assisting the smooth running of the curriculum, and their passion and enthusiasm for the school, and the students’ learning experience, radiates throughout the team. They are particularly proud of the annual ‘science week’, which although demanding in the preparation is worth every moment to see the students faces uplifted, enlivened and engaged.
The whole team love the variety of the role as it’s not just prepping lessons, they may be searching the grounds for woodlice to test out different habitats, or simply ensuring there is enough hot water for tea and coffee for the teachers when taking their breaks. The whole department, teachers and techs, have a great working relationship sharing best practice, supporting one another, empathising, and of course laughter to get you through those busy days.
Yet it is not only within the confines of the science department where the DHS teamwork and supportive friendships flourish. There are always opportunities to work across departments in whole school events such as performing arts productions, charity fundraising events, the DHS list is long! For Maggie, she will always hold special memories of the DHS annual Christmas Carol Concert, as a practising Christian she enjoys playing her part in the organisation of this event which brings the whole school community together at a special time of the year.