School of Earth and Environment

Earth and Environment Blog


Environmental Studies Academy Blog

By Cara Healy, ES Academy Manager

The Environmental Studies Academy Thursday 14th January 2015

Sixth form schools Abbey Grange Academy (Horsforth) and Read School (Selby) attended the ES Academy outreach event and gained unique access to inspiring science sessions in the School of Earth and Environment (SEE) laboratories, where they learned about soils and invertebrates. They were also given a briefing on the SEE’s research and the programmes of study we have to offer.

Students had the opportunity to learn hands-on in our school laboratories focused on two areas of environmental science. Both sessions used real samples collected in the field over the previous months. Between laboratory sessions, students were treated to an inspiring talk by a world-leading scientist and Head of School (Prof Simon Bottrell) who linked the sessions by talking about climate change and the changes that he had been investigating in the field linking water, soils and organisms.

The day was focused on key areas of the Environmental Studies A2-level curriculum but students attended with diverse scientific backgrounds, including geography and biology.

In the morning; students were divided into groups and studied the physical attributes of soils including investigating the colour, pH, texture, moisture and organic matter with Dr Phil Murphy and Kirk Handley in the SEE Level 7 Teaching Labs.


In the afternoon; students investigated preserved soil samples and analysed invertebrates with Jane-Marie Stocks, the Laboratories Manager in the SEE Level 7 Teaching Labs.

All students and teachers had the opportunity to experience lectures given by environmental scientists in SEE such as Prof Simon Bottrell and Dr Steven Dobbie talking about the interesting science they are exploring and what it is like to be an environmental scientist while highlighting Environmental Science course opportunities within SEE.

This was a very inspiring event and pupils and teachers expressed their gratitude at being invited to such an exciting occasion. We received lots of positive feedback from both students and teachers.

Dr Jon Staves (Teacher Read School) quoted ‘Topics were relevant to wider sciences and the principles were not just subject specific. A very valuable day’

The students thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and some students said that they are considering studying with SEE in the future!


Thank you to everyone who was involved in running the ES Academy, in particular to student ambassadors Angus Wilsdon and Vivek Kotak who helped in making the experience enjoyable and comfortable experience for all our visitors and who could help the sixth form students understand what it is like being a student at the University.

This outreach event continues to build relationships with Schools, making the teachers aware of the rich undergraduate programmes we have here, and hopefully interesting the students in our science and to potentially study with us in the future.

As the organiser, I found the day to be really inspirational and I am extremely grateful to be involved in planning and coordinating such an important and exhilarating event.

If you are a student or teacher with pupils interested in attending an upcoming Academy then please contact us.

Warm regards,

Cara Healy

There will be future ES Academy dates – the next ES Academy date will be held Thursday 7th July 2016.

Further information can be found here:

Contacts Dr Steven Dobbie (ES Academy Founder) and Mrs Cara Healy (ES Academy Manager)

This entry was posted in Events.

© Copyright Leeds 2024