Local Rochdale primary school teacher, Chris Lowe, has been awarded a coveted place to visit CERN - the European Organisation for Nuclear Research - in Switzerland by The Ogden Trust, the charity dedicated to promoting the teaching and learning of physics.
Chris will visit one of the world's largest and most respected centres for scientific research from Monday, 30 July 2018 for a week, and is eager to learn more about particle physics, which he will use to enthuse a younger generation of pupils in Greater Manchester.
Currently the assistant headteacher and science leader at Lowerplace Primary School in Rochdale, Chris has an insatiable enthusiasm for the sciences and has brought the subjects alive for his pupils through a number of 'firsts' for the school. These include a dedicated Phiz Lab – a specialist classroom dedicated to the learning of science - and recently a satellite event for a cluster of Ogden Trust Partnership Schools in the area as part of the national Great Science Share held on Tuesday, 19 June 2018.
His next big venture is his involvement with us on bringing Dippy the Diplodocus to the town in February 2020, which will be a massive science-related venture for the whole town.
A convert to sciences, Chris switched from psychology at the Universities of Salford and Manchester to become a teacher when he realised that he wanted to work with and inspire children.
He already has an idea of what he will do with his new-found knowledge on his return from CERN. He wants to set up after-school clubs or lunchtime sessions for children to introduce particle physics to primary children who are ready to learn about the subject area in more detail. He also wants to do some work around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through digital storytelling.
'We are now on the radar of some inspiring people from the world of science who are in touch or coming to visit the school'
Chris Lowe, on hearing of his invitation to visit CERN, said: "This will be a really exciting trip for me and will undoubtedly motivate me to introduce to my pupils some new areas of physics. So much has evolved from my association with The Ogden Trust. Their interest and encouragement has helped me to take on new initiatives, and we are now on the radar of some inspiring people from the world of science who are in touch or coming to visit the school.
"I have also received huge support from Lowerplace Primary School, which has allowed me to develop the sciences here thus far.
"I hope we can include many more children from schools in the area so that we can share our knowledge. I look forward to returning with plenty of fresh material to take us forward."
Lowerplace Primary School already has one famous physics pupil which encourages Chris to continue the legend. The founder and former Chairman of The Ogden Trust, Sir Peter Ogden, was educated at Lowerplace Primary School before going on to Rochdale Grammar School. He returned in January 2018 to open the new Phiz Lab and was delighted to join the pupils in some hands-on scientific experiments.
'This is a great reward for Chris and shows how he's clearly getting pupils enthusiastic about the subject'
Councillor Kieran Heakin, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "Lowerplace are doing amazing work on science what with their Phiz Lab facility and their recent Great Science Share event. This is a great reward for Chris and shows how he's clearly getting pupils enthusiastic about the subject. I really hope he enjoys his trip and with his plans for the school, Rochdale will really benefit from this".