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Darlington students look to the stars


Pupils from schools across Darlington came together for a celebration of celestial science in a lecture at Polam Hall School.

The enthrallingAshes to Dust: a journey through space and time’ lecture was taken by Dr Natalie Starkey, a researcher of science in Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University and a dedicated ambassador of science.

The event was organised by the Polam Hall Old Scholars Association (PHOSA) which provides funds, equipment, bursaries and awards for Polam Hall School. The lecture was funded by the Sylvia Owen Fund and it is the first time this bursary has been presented.

The lecture aimed to encourage student involvement in science and highlight the exciting prospects it holds as a future career for students.

Dr Starkey discussed many fascinating aspects of her research, including comets and how they form in our Solar System, as well as how planets like our own came to be.

Sam Bamlet from Polam Hall School said: “It was really fun to be able to get involved, Dr Starkey brought along samples for us to look at and touch, there was even a part of the moon! It was really good being able to see objects from space right in front of us!” 

The lecture, which was held in the Liddiard Theatre at Polam Hall School, proved to be a big hit. Over 300 key stage 2 and 3 pupils from Longfield Academy, Skerne Park, Darlington School of Mathematics and Science, Corporation Road, Abbey Juniors and Polam Hall were in attendance.

Polam Hall School headmaster John Moreland said: “The lecture was brilliant. The students really engaged with everything Natalie was saying. We’re very lucky to have such a well respected scientist come to the school.”

As a member of the BBC Academy’s panel of Women Experts, Natalie frequently discusses her area of expertise on radio and TV, and is a commendable example of women succeeding in science.

Dr Starkey commented: “It was wonderful to be able to speak with pupils and get them excited about science.  They are the next generations of scientists and it was great to inspire them to think that they could be at the forefront of scientific research in the years to come.”

The lecture was held in memory of previous head teacher of Polam Hall School, Sylvia Owen, who retired in 1980.

Polam Hall School is currently an independent school but is awaiting a decision on their free school application.

Polam Hall has been based at its current site in Darlington since 1854 and has a long and proud history of academic success. The school prides itself on maintaining its traditional values and rich heritage while being able to offer pupils the strongest possible skills for the future.

For more information on the school visit: www.polamhall.com

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