Over 350 pupils from local schools visit our new Science Oxford Centre

Over the last two months we have been – and still are – trialling our new Science Oxford Centre at Stansfeld Park – the UK’s first indoor-outdoor science education centre for primary-aged children. We’ve had over 350 small visitors from local schools as well as several teacher evenings and have been collecting their feedback on the centre before it fully opens in September 2019. They have have been treated to science shows in our new theatre, workshops, time in our Exploration Zone and tours of our urban wild space.

Feedback from teachers
And, so far, the news is good – we’ve got a 100% approval rating from teachers and supporting adults, who have all provided positive descriptions of their overall impression of the centre. Teachers have valued:

– The wide variety of activities available, both indoors and outdoors, and how interesting and engaging they were for pupils (mentioned in 40% of comments).

-The hands-on and experimental nature of the experience and how it had been clearly designed to encourage thinking (mentioned in 30% of comments).

-The child-centred/age-appropriate nature of the activities and the mix of both challenge and accessibility (mentioned in 30% of comments).

-How helpful, knowledgeable and welcoming the Science Oxford Centre staff were (mentioned in 25% of comments).

Here’s what they’ve been saying:

“Thank you for a truly brilliant visit to the new centre today – what an incredible new facility you have created! I think the gasps from the children spoke for themselves as they walked into the Exploration Zone this morning – we feel very lucky to be the first to use those exhibits today! We thought that the workshop worked really well and the woodland walk was a really big hit too, with lots to learn and explore on the site.” Y4 Teacher after trial visit

“I love the principles underlying the building and work planned here. So exciting and uplifting for children being able to experience thought-provoking and stimulating discoveries.” Teacher attending a free Twilight Taster Session

Feedback from pupils
The feedback from children has been amazing too. Here is a selection of written comments from Y3-6 pupils:

“The visit was brilliant, exciting and science-y! It was full of interesting things and there was never a dull moment.”

“You can do stuff that you’ve never done before. It’s fun and challenging all at the same time. They are very nice people.”

“The Exploration Zone with all the equipment was the best fun because I could control stuff, play with unusual things and persevere to get an experiment right!”

“Personally, l think it was one of my best trips! My favourite part of the exhibition was the circuit building, we made a successful circuit, it was great fun and we solved lots of difficulties. When l was making the track for balls to try, l discovered that l should stack the pieces downwards, so that the balls can finish the track with the help of gravity. It was a wonderful experience and l would love to visit again!”

“I thought it was amazing because it was thought through well and it had a child’s interest at heart. It has amazing woodlands and lots of wildlife so you definitely come here and learn lots of new things.”

“You should come here because I had my best Thursday in Year 5.”

It looks like we’ve got a five-star rating from our first visitors for our brand new Science Oxford Centre!

The adjoining innovation centre
The adjoining Wood Centre for Innovation at Stansfeld Park is also open. Alongside OCFI, our new innovation centre is owned by the Trust and provides cost-effective office space for local science and tech start-ups. Income from this is reinvested into Science Oxford’s science and education programmes. The strength of the Trust’s business model is that it is self-sustaining and supports both ends of the science ecosystem from inspiring young children about the wonders of science and helping science start-ups to develop and grow. The good news is that the opening of our new centres at Stansfeld Park will mean we will be able to increase our reach and impact for years to come.