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South Downs Scientist

`We are all scientists from the day we are born…’ If you visit Dorset House School in Bury, near Pulborough, you will no doubt meet Paul Keane in his lab and it is likely that he will share these thoughts with you.  Paul has been Head of Science at this co-educational prep school for more than 25 years and his infectious enthusiasm for his subject is as strong as ever.

Whether teaching complex chemical equations to Year 8 pupils or pond dipping with younger children, Paul is constantly asking questions and listening to his pupils’ views – encouraging everyone to take part in sharing the joy of science.

Having studied at university in Dublin, Paul worked and travelled extensively in Africa where he was inspired by the wide array of wildlife.  During his time there, he even managed to survive being toppled out of a boat by a hippo!

It was on his return to the UK that Paul decided to share his excitement for science with the next generation.

Dr Patrick Vallence, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor has recently stressed the fact that we live in an increasingly scientific world and that in all areas – including Data Science, Robotics, AI or medicine, collaboration is vital.

At Dorset House, this skill is honed in many areas of the school as pupils, often across different Year groups, work together – not just in academic subjects but also in drama, music and sport.  In the Science lab, lessons are brought to life through experiments.  This gives those with a more practical approach, the opportunity to work with a partner who may be better at putting things down on paper.

At open mornings, prospective pupils and parents are able to sample some of the fun – including the exploding jelly baby (it lets out a loud ‘scream’ as the glucose burns).

Science is not restricted to timetabled lessons though: the lab is available for students at break times and the Year 8 pupils have extra Science lessons in the evenings as their Common Entrance examinations approach.

This year, Dorset House pupils received commendations from Brighton College, Hurst, Marlborough and Wellington for their excellent exam results.  These included top marks in Physics and Chemistry.

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