Five Minutes with our Head of Science

In January we welcomed our new Head of Science, Mr Jeffrey Shipway, to Akeley Wood, so we thought it was high time we caught up with him and found out about his vision for Science at the school.

You’ve been here as Head of Science for 5 months now, what are your first impressions of Akeley?

My first impressions are that Akeley Wood School is a green and pleasant environment in which to work. The staff have been friendly and welcoming, and the pupils are incredibly polite. Never before have I been thanked by so many pupils at the end of my lessons – it makes all the planning and preparation worthwhile. Indeed, one Year 9 girl, who shall remain nameless, asked me why, seeing as I knew so much about science, I had chosen to be a teacher! As I explained to her, my prime motivation is to support both pupils and colleagues, to enable individuals to develop their strengths, and to help shape the future. I am able to relate to young people, I enjoy their company and genuinely believe that I can influence their lives for the better.

What are the benefits to children of learning about Science?

Increasingly, science impinges on all our lives. Therefore, I consider it important that every pupil at AWS should gain a solid scientific background to make informed decisions that could affect his or her immediate or long-term future. I feel that this is particularly important as there are shortages of scientifically qualified personnel. A well-functioning and inclusive formal education in science is essential if society at large is to keep pace with, and remain in control of, scientific development.

What curricular approach do you take with Science at Akeley?

Our approach is to provide an intellectually stimulating, enjoyable and coherent course of study for all students that will encourage enthusiasm and enjoyment of the study of science and develop competent, safe practical skills. Over that past couple of years, pupils have missed out on the opportunities outside of the classroom to develop an emotional connection to science. However, a trip to the Science Museum is already booked for June 2022, and trips to London Zoo, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, GCSE Science Live and (excitingly) NASA are being considered for next year.

What are the strengths of the Science Department?

The Department is well-equipped for its teaching needs. We have six purpose-built laboratories in the Senior School and another three at AW6. Two of the Sixth Form laboratories are being refurbished this year, and resources are constantly being added to and updated. The teaching is shared by ten specialist science teachers, and we also have three laboratory technicians. The atmosphere is one of friendly, purposeful support for the pupils. Science staff are more than willing to offer extra help to pupils who need it during their lunch breaks. To illustrate the point, a series of no fewer than 32 lunchtime GCSE revision sessions has been running since February this year, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team for the incredible support they have given to me from the moment I arrived.

Thank you Mr Shipway!

Junior School Contact Numbers

General number
01908 571231
Admission number
01908 555803

Senior School Contact Numbers

General number
01280 860182
Admission number
01280 828122

Senior & Sixth Form Contact Numbers

General number
01280 814110
Admission number
01280 828122