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Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has urged Welsh teachers to grasp a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to visit the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland.

First published:
12 November 2016
Last updated:

Earlier this year 24 physics teachers from Wales visited the site of the large hadron collider in Geneva to witness up close some of the latest discoveries in particle physics, as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The CERN teacher placement scheme, organised by Welsh Government and supported by Project ENTHUSE, provides teachers the opportunity to attend lectures and learn about CERN’s facilities, functions and operation from the scientists and engineers who work there. They include Dr Lyn Evans from Aberdare, former Director of the Large Hadron Collider project, supporter of our Focus on Science campaign and course co-ordinator for the four day visit.

We are supporting Welsh teachers again this year and Kirsty Williams has called for teachers to apply urgently to ensure they can learn how this pioneering work can inform their lessons and hopefully lead to a greater interest in STEM subjects.

Kirsty said,

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I am really pleased we have been able to continue to support our teachers as they embark on this extraordinary trip for another year.

“The feedback we have received from last year’s group is that the knowledge and experience gained from this trip has made the teaching of physics much more enjoyable and meaningful for the students. A number of teachers expressed an interest in keeping in touch with organisers, enabling them to set up networks to share best practise, while other teachers have actually arranged visits for students in their own schools.”

Dr Lyn Evans said,

“Our teachers are our greatest asset and deserve all the support we can give them. Coming to CERN they will experience a vibrant atmosphere and interact with front-line scientists. We hope that they can take their enthusiasm back to the classroom and inspire more budding young scientists, engineers and technicians, which are needed for Wales to compete in the 21st century high-tech world.”

The programme has been organised and designed by our own STEM team and CERN Teacher Programme co-ordinator Jeff Weiner to ensure the teachers have the opportunity appreciate CERN and the work undertaken there; by attending lectures on Particle Physics, the development of particle accelerators, particle detectors, visiting the Large Hadron Collider, the Magnet test facility, the Compact Muon Solenoid detector and finally a visit to the Antimatter Factory.

Later next year, teachers will be able to attend a two week summer placement at CERN; the first time a residential stay has been offered to all school science teachers (not just physics). Entries are open now until 31 December.

Teachers who wish to apply, for either visit, should contact the team at Dysg@wales.gsi.gov.uk