Andrew Kensley, Head of Education Outreach

I’m responsible for the team who go into schools across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to deliver our Science Oxford outreach programme. In primary schools, we present amazing science shows and workshops, run Continuing Professional Development or CPD for teachers, science competitions and events, support schools with kit loan and advice to enhance their science teaching and generally get children excited about science! At secondary level, we operate the STEM Careers Programme to inspire young people about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths by delivering careers days, work placements, workplace visits and work experience weeks. The team also runs our programme of events for families, including our fantastic Saturday science and computing clubs.

I have responsibility for monitoring and evaluating our work to make sure we make the best use of our resources and look out for funding opportunities to enable us to run more and more exciting science activities. We continually evaluate and improve our shows, workshops, clubs and events so that they inspire, entertain and challenge people. I also work with our communications team to publicise our outreach programme, and keep schools and partners up-to-date with all Science Oxford’s activities.

A top priority is to continue to develop our outreach activities to maximise their impact on the young people we engage with, whilst building our relationships with schools and partners in businesses as we do so. We’ll continue to develop our family programme so that we have a range of high quality science-inspired activities.

Our Science Oxford Centre opened in 2019. We work hard to ensure the shows and workshops we present in schools go hand-in-hand with the all the exciting activities at our new centre. I’m also keen to ensure our programme demonstrates the philosophy of Thinking, Doing, Talking Science, our flagship CPD course for Primary Science Teachers which focusses on developing children’s investigative and problem-solving skills.

I really enjoy working with people who are so passionate about what they do – they all love getting young people excited about anything science-related! We have a fantastic team who have a variety of skills and experience and are interested in all sorts of different aspects of science and technology. It’s not unusual for someone in the office to call out “Wow – did you know that?” or “Look at this!” when they’ve discovered a new science fact or gadget which might be useful for a show or workshop! It’s great to have such a varied job too – one day I might be talking in a primary school assembly, the next meeting with business leaders, the following day working with teachers and education specialists.

Before joining Science Oxford, I was a primary school teacher, having taught in schools in Reading and Bracknell. Before that, I was an electrical power systems engineer working in the electricity supply industry. It’s great now to have a job which draws upon experience in both of these very different jobs! I’ve seen at first hand the challenges and opportunities of businesses and schools working together (as they do for our STEM Careers Programme), and I’m excited about encouraging young people with science in the classroom who may become the engineers and scientists of the future.

Family life is busy – I have three children at various stages of university and secondary school, so time for hobbies is limited! However, I enjoy playing the piano, walking, particularly anywhere on the coast, and (not as often as I should) running. I‘ve helped out at a couple of overseas charity projects which I really enjoyed – one building a school in a remote village in Tanzania, East Africa, and another decorating an orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal. Perhaps one day I will sign up for another adventure like these!

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