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New £4m science building named after world-class physicist

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 March 2018

Churchill Academy has named is new science block, due for completion in December, after Professor Dame Athene Donald.

Churchill Academy has named is new science block, due for completion in December, after Professor Dame Athene Donald.


Churchill Academy’s multi-million-pound science development has been named after world-class physicist Professor Dame Athene Donald, as the school hopes to boost gender equality in learning.

The school embarked on a £3.9million project to create a science and technology facility last year, and students are set to enjoy access to high-quality laboratories and classrooms.

Pupils were challenged to ask worthy candidates to name the building after, with construction due to complete in December.

Groups of pupils aged 11-13 researched prominent women in science and engineering before presenting their work to a panel of governors and staff.

The panel adjudicated over a shortlist of famous scientists, including Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, after the youngsters’ presentations shed light on their work.

After a lengthy debate, the panel unanimously opted to name the facility the Dame Athene Donald Building.

Professor Donald is an award-winning experimental physicist and master of Cambridge University’s Churchill College.

Headteacher Chris Hildrew said: “Aside from the wonderful link between the name of our academy and her Cambridge college, Professor Donald is a fantastic advocate for science, and in particular for gender equality in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).”

Professor Donald is ‘deeply honoured’ to learn the school named the ‘wonderful’ building after her.

She added: “What a lovely idea to set students such a project, so more female scientists of note become familiar to them.

“And what a happy coincidence of the name Churchill, too. I wish them all the very best with the building project and, of course, having new labs inspires a new generation of boys and girls.”

The development comes after the academy spent more than £1million to create the Alan Turing Business, Computing and Social Science Block in 2017, with the school upgrading much of its facilities before decommissioning buildings which have been in use for six decades.

Mr Hildrew believes the revamp of ‘will provide students with state-of-the-art facilities they deserve’, adding the school aims to ‘inspire young women to pursue further study and careers in STEM’.

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