The airport’s University Visits Fund was recently put to excellent use by the Royal Docks Community School, who took a group of their most gifted Year 9 students on an inspiring visit to the University of Oxford.


The talented group of 22 students were treated to three fantastic scientific workshops in different locations around the city. Their day started in the enchanted Botanic Gardens – a place where the famous authors J. R. R. Tolkien and Phillip Pullman often spent time to muse and generate creative ideas for their writing.


Students were taken on a guided trail to discover plants and trees whose cells and minerals are a critical component in pharmaceutical drugs, used to treat a range of illnesses, from multiple sclerosis to the common cold. On the way to workshop #2, students wandered through Oxford’s oldest and most architecturally impressive buildings; past secret entrances to magnificent college courtyards and the University’s superb Bodleian library.


Their second workshop, held at the Museum of the History of Science, introduced students to the early ideas about electricity. Students watched demonstrations of experiments that were done in the 18th century when scientists were testing their theories about electrostatic charge and the nature of lightening.


Their visit culminated in a real life undergraduate experience utilising the laboratories of the Department of Materials. Students were tasked with building their very own waterproof batteries for an aircraft life jacket using metals and salt solutions. Alongside being scientific innovators, they learned about routes into Material Science degrees at Oxford and how applicable the subject is to the world of work.


Kenan Drugzani, Science Teacher and Enrichment Manager at the Royal Docks Community School, said “The educational visit to the University of Oxford has helped to raise the aspirations of our pupils, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds and without this visit would find it challenging to consider such institutions as their future venue for studies”


Inspired? We would love more students to visit Russell Group universities, so please get in touch to apply for funding if your school or sixth form is located in one of the following boroughs: Newham, Waltham Forest, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering.