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Spirit of Enquiry Underpins Science Department in New Senior School

 

As Shrewsbury International School Bangkok, Riverside enters a new era with the opening of the Sir David Lees Innovation Centre, Science will take centre stage within the brand new seven-story, 17,000 square meter building. This is at the heart of a 1.1 billion-baht facilities investment programme underwritten by school owner Khun Chali Sophonpanich. 

With 18 new laboratories, six each for Chemistry, Biology and Physics and other areas dedicated to Mathematics, Robotics, Innovation, Sixth Form and Higher Education counselling, the investment underlines Shrewsbury's ongoing commitment to delivering a world-class education for its students. These are the foundations on which Shrewsbury will continue to build on an unparalleled track record of examination success and placements at world-leading universities.

The spacious new science laboratories - each 120 square meters - are fitted with top-of-the-line educational furniture and equipment from S+B Labs. This leading UK-based company supplies some of the finest schools and universities worldwide. Each laboratory will also be fully tech-enabled, allowing each student to have ready access to a vast array of web-based resources and instruction throughout each stage of an experiment.  In combination, this will help students carry out a wide range of practical work that leads to a rich understanding of the syllabus and explore even more complex subject matter. 

The Sir David Lees Innovation Building will house 18 120sqm laboratories, each equipped with top-specification equipment

With 17  years of teaching experience and a key science consultancy role in the Government-funded Building Schools for the Future programme, Shrewsbury's Director of Science, Ms Laura Garcia, knows the positive impact of great design on educational outcomes.

"Science learning spaces should be able to motivate and inspire future scientists by supporting collaborative practice and practical work. As a department, we aim to provide a personalised, inclusive and flexible learning environment adapted for different teaching approaches. Above all, the safety and comfort of our students were paramount when planning each element of the design. This could only be achieved by commissioning fully bespoke high-quality furniture that cannot be found in any other school. With a successful track of over four decades designing lab furniture for schools, S+B has proven to be the perfect partner for this."

Science is already one of many strength-areas at Shrewsbury, with a significant proportion of graduates electing to embark on university degrees in both scientific and applied fields such as medicine and engineering. Indeed, nearly one in seven graduating students successfully applied to medical degree programmes in 2021. However, the analytical and investigatory skills honed through scientific study throughout their time at Shrewsbury are a significant benefit to all students, irrespective of their chosen pathway beyond.

All Shrewsbury students study separate or coordinated sciences at GCSE level, with over two-thirds choosing to embark on at least one science subject at A Level; popularity reflected in the examination results attained.

This success is underpinned by the Science Department's vision to foster a spirit of inquiry amongst the students. Ultimately, they aim to support each student's journey to becoming confident, independent learners who are also reflective and practical collaborators. Their curiosity in the subjects leads them to learning that extends far beyond the syllabus. 

Outside their timetabled lessons, students have access to a range of opportunities to help them on this journey. Each department runs clinics for those needing further explanation and support with their curriculum material. In addition to this, Shrewsbury offers an impressive array of co-curricular science clubs and challenges throughout the school, ranging from the hugely popular Junior Science Fair to participation (and repeated success) in the International Physics Olympiad and other global competitions. 

Shrewsbury students benefit from world-class teaching and a wide range of co-curricular opportunities 

By moving into brand new, top-specification facilities, Shrewsbury aims to continue achieving the highest-possible grades while giving teachers the ability to encourage more creativity and ingenuity in every class. According to Ms Garcia, this is where 'investing in excellence' will pay dividends.

"With clear benefits such as a smooth transition into their university studies, practical work in science lessons is pivotal to the learning process. 'Doing' Science leads to a much deeper understanding of abstract concepts. Students are also much more engaged through practical learning. It allows them to develop important thinking and problem-solving skills, to understand the process of scientific investigation, and develop a broad understanding of abstract scientific concepts."

The increased capacity to accommodate the growing popularity across the STEM subjects within the new building also means increased staffing and attracting the highest calibre teachers worldwide. Set to join Shrewsbury's elite teaching faculty over the next five years are five new science teachers, bringing the complement to over 20; one of the region's largest and most-qualified departments. 

Their experience and expertise will further boost the capabilities of an outstanding team of carefully selected educators whose mantra is to nurture a life-long academic fascination in their respective fields. The new facilities will equip them with even more tools to explore the subjects in even more innovative ways and drive further examination success and continued access to the world's most selective university programmes.

"Practical work is at the heart of our Science teaching, and we have always prided ourselves on being a very well resourced department. Shrewsbury scientists stand out for their command of scientific concepts and their confidence and skill in their laboratory investigations. With the new modern laboratories, we can continue to do what we do best: provide our students with an unparalleled science education that culminates in exceptional exam results and university destinations."

 

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