School pupils develop essential laboratory skills through Absolute Chemistry initiative

LJMU’s Absolute Chemistry team has had a busy start to the year having welcomed 150 high school pupils from six Merseyside schools to the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences laboratories.

The on-going outreach project, supported by funding from Shaping Futures as part of the OfS UniConnect programme, focuses on enthusing and inspiring local school-aged pupils to continue studying science beyond secondary school.

Professor Linda Seton and Menna Goodwin from the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, alongside Dr Andrea Mallaburn and Dr Victoria Brennan from the School of Education, are the driving force behind the Absolute Chemistry team. They are passionate about working with schools from across the Liverpool City Region and supporting opportunities to raise aspirations of those that often face social disadvantages.

Professor Seton said: “The longitudinal nature of these funded programmes allows the LJMU Absolute Chemistry team to foster positive relationships with partner schools and it is these sustained relationships that can increase young peoples’ opportunities to engage with science over their secondary education. This is believed to improve attitudes towards science and help increase an individuals’ science capital which can impact on their future career choices.”

As part of the programme of inbound visits, Year 11 students spent extended time in the laboratories at LJMU focusing on developing subject specific skills under their school curriculum requirements. They also carried out hands-on practical experiments with the help of current LJMU students.

Aside from the lab work, they had the chance to practise GCSE style questions and learn more about future career options through informative talks from the LJMU Outreach team.

The students said that they had increased their conceptual knowledge during their visits and that they enjoyed the programme stating that it was “interesting”, “informative” and “fun”.

The next programme of campus visits will focus on Year 10 pupils and will take place in the summer. These events will include schools supported by the second phase of the Royal Society of Chemistry's ‘Chemistry for All’ programme.


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