Inspiring Science at our school
“At Aylesbury Grammar School, we strive to provide an inspiring learning environment and we continue to make essential investment in the School’s facilities and buildings. Our vision is to ensure that our students are prepared to face the demands of the world and able to be successful in their chosen fields. We strive to continuously improve our facilities to support exceptional learning and exceptional students. In our ever changing world, scientific progress is essential if we are to meet the challenges we face and provide the creativity and structure to overcome them. Our School has an impressive record of students studying sciences at the highest level; each year a high number go on to study science at world class universities. We continue to excel in spite of aging and deteriorating facilities but we cannot continue to teach and inspire in an environment that is not fit for purpose. We must aim to provide our students with the best facilities possible to stimulate their ambition, intellect and creativity, and to fulfil their considerable potential. It is for this reason that we must finish what we have started and complete the refurbishment of the Science facilities.” Mark Sturgeon, Headmaster
“I was delighted to take over from Francis Habgood and I thank him and the previous Committee for all their excellent work. As an Old Boy, and as a parent of an ex-pupil, I have always been a proud Aylesburian. I recognise that Aylesbury Grammar School provided me and my son with an exceptional education and prepared us well for our careers. This is the final stage of the campaign to completely reinvigorate science at Aylesbury Grammar School, so when I received the call for support, to allow the standard of the School’s Science facilities to match its aspirations, I did not hesitate. As you consider what the new Science Centre will provide the students, and generations of future Aylesburians, I would ask you not to hesitate either, but to be generous in your support.
I was taught Chemistry, Biology and Physics at AGS during the 1960s. The things I learnt in the science labs set me on a career in Chemistry which has inspired me for a lifetime. Since then technology has transformed scientific life and to inspire future scientists and engineers it is vital that the teaching environment reflects as far as possible the realities and state of the art of our modern world. I wish AGS every success in this all-important renewal and upgrading project.
Why we need to refurbish our Science facilitiesScience is a fundamental part of academic life at Aylesbury Grammar School. All of our students study all three Sciences at GCSE and 70% of our current Sixth Form take at least one science subject A level with many taking two or three. The rigour of scientific enquiry also has significant benefits for all students, whatever subject they may later decide to study at university. Our teachers inspire a passion for science in generations of students, and results in public examinations have been excellent. We remain successful in spite of the condition of our Science facilities which have not been updated since the 1950s and are clearly not appropriate for learning in our demanding world. We now need to refurbish the remaining seven laboratories in which Physics and Chemistry are taught. Our teachers do not benefit from the most up-to-date teaching methods, and our students’ education is limited by the lack and age of facilities. We simply don’t have enough Science laboratories for existing students to study in a specialist setting and our timetabling efficiency has been maximised. As a result, some of our Science lessons currently take place out of laboratories, placing a significant pressure on the timetable and room allocation for the rest of the School.
Why Science is important today
The new labs that have already been refurbished are much more modern and pleasing to the eye. They have up to date equipment that’s fun to use.
Chemistry is a very enjoyable subject but the range of practical investigations possible is limited by our older facilities.
Since joining the School, I have always found the Chemistry staff to be incredibly inspiring. Their enthusiasm and encouragement has been a significant factor in my choice to read Chemistry at university. Whilst we already achieve good results, I feel that if the current labs were renovated it would encourage even more students to excel in the subject and want to continue Chemistry beyond AGS. We need top class facilities to match our top class teachers!
What we have achieved so far
Transforming our Science facilities remains a critical but unfinished development and additional funds are required to complete the project to ensure our facilities reflect the quality of teaching and learning Science at the School. It is a seven phase development and the first six phases have been extremely successful in attracting support from parents, alumni and charitable foundations. In the last five years we have raised £1.8m, nearly 80% of the funds needed to complete the much needed refurbishment. In the past five years our Science facilities have been improved considerably by refurbishing four of the existing 13 laboratories, creating a new preparation room, new teaching and support staff areas, refurbishing the lecture theatre, and building a new state of the art Biology block with four new laboratories and two preparation rooms. Our students are benefiting daily. The next and final phase will focus on completely refurbishing the seven remaining laboratories with new equipment, heating and electrical works – each Chemistry laboratory costs £70,000 to completely renew and each Physics laboratory costs £50,000.
We need to raise a final £500,000 in total to complete the entire refurbishment which will result in:
15 new Laboratories fully equipped with the latest technology specially designed for Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Flexible learning spaces to respond to changing requirements to manage large and small groups of students.
Contemporary design, modern materials but with traditional values to ensure the laboratories are future proofed. All designed for maximising energy efficiency.
Why do we need your help?The Inspiring Science Campaign addresses specifically and directly the urgent need to refurbish the remaining seven laboratories which have not been updated since the 1950s. As an academy our annual operating costs are funded through central government each year and, in recent years, our annual allocation per student has been decreasing in real terms. Public funding is only just sufficient to meet our annual basic operating costs. There is no scope for additional funding for this project; therefore, we do not have the resources to invest in our infrastructure and buildings. This reduction in funding has hit our School hard. We have been situated on our site for over a century and have some rapidly deteriorating learning and teaching spaces. Our Science laboratories are not appropriate for learning today; they urgently need our attention. “In the autumn term 2015 we have been told the figures for the academic year 2016/17. This confirms that Aylesbury Grammar School is now the sixth lowest funded secondary school in England. Significantly, we actually receive £1,542 less funding per student in years 7-11 than the best funded school in Buckinghamshire.” Mark Sturgeon, Headmaster
A £500,000 fundraising campaign to complete our new Science CentreAny regular or one-off donation, large or small, can make a huge difference. We are encouraging parents to set up a standing order over a 30-month period to specifically support the final phase of the refurbishment of our Science laboratories. For instance, for just £50 per month over 30 months, you could help to contribute £3000. If you are a UK taxpayer, this donation would be increased by 25%, adding £750 and if you a higher rate tax payer, you could gain tax relief of 15-25%.
...and finallyWe are extremely grateful to all those who make gifts to our School. Every contribution makes a difference to the lives of AGS boys. We offer our Major Benefactors (donors of £25,000+) the opportunity to name a laboratory or a facility which will demonstrate the generosity of individuals, charitable trusts and grant giving bodies and companies who care about the long-term aims of the School. Every gift will be acknowledged and gratefully received, regardless of the amount. The students will devise an innovative form of public acknowledgement after the campaign although individual gifts will remain confidential. Thank you for your gift to the Inspiring Science Campaign; it is both valued and appreciated.
How to DonatePlease fill in the Donation Form and email it to Development or print and post it to the address below. Thank you. If you would like to fill and return the form electronically, you can open the file in Acrobat Reader. On mobile devices please choose 'Share Flattened Copy' after submitting your form. We would like to encourage you to consider pledging funds to the Campaign for a period of 30 months as this will allow us complete the final phase based on funds pledged. Of course, the amount you pledge and the time commitment you make is entirely your decision but to aid your thinking please refer to our scale of giving.
Contact AlisonFor more information or for any other queries, please contact Alison Cox, Development Director Aylesbury Grammar School, Walton Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 7RP firstname.lastname@example.org 01296 480276