The chemistry department at Greenhead College and a Huddersfield primary school teacher have both been honoured with prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Greenhead College Chemistry Department has been named the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Team Prize for Excellence in Secondary and Further Education, while Miss Serena Parker-Sharp claimed the Early Career Prize for Excellence in Primary Education.

Nominated by their peers, the winners were then chosen by the RSC’s prestigious panel of judges, who deemed them to be some of the most inspirational, innovative and dedicated people in education.

The Greenhead College team earned its prize for enhancing and enriching the chemistry learning of a huge and diverse group of students by offering a high quality and broad chemistry education and through effective outreach.

Ruth Farnell, Greenhead College’s head of chemistry, said: “Working with young people can be incredibly rewarding.

“However, the extent of the work that teams like ours put into ensuring that every student receives not only an outstanding education but also so much more in the way of enthusiasm for – and opportunities in – chemistry isn’t often recognised.

“Receiving an accolade like this where our efforts are publicly acknowledged, valued and celebrated means so much to everyone in the team.

“The chemistry team at Greenhead College use their skill, expertise and passion to bring chemistry to life for the almost 1,000 students studying in the department.

“The team have developed an interesting and varied scheme of work that is enhanced and enriched by work outside the classroom.

“Students in the department are given opportunities to work with local primary schools to share their love and passion for chemistry with Year 6 children whose enthusiasm for putting on a lab coat and using a Bunsen burner is infectious.

“If our students are considering a future in chemistry or research, then there is also the chance to work alongside researchers at the University of Huddersfield to conduct a project as part of our Real World Chemistry enrichment, the results of this work are presented both in the college and at the university using PhD-style poster presentations.

“The team supports all learners to make the most of their chemistry education whilst at the college.”

And Miss Parker-Sharp, who works at Spring Grove Junior, Infant and Nursery School in Huddersfield, received her award for championing inclusion and diversity within the primary science curriculum to allow children of all backgrounds to see themselves as scientists.

She said: “I am delighted and overwhelmed to receive this award. The work we do is vital for children to be motivated to become the scientists of the future.

Serena Parker-Sharp

“In a maintained school, we have the responsibility of delivering the content of the National Curriculum which is set out by the Department for Education.

“Within this, schools have the freedom to personalise the curriculum for their community. It was vital to ensure that the school community saw itself within that curriculum. This means that children study science through those that contributed to it from across the world.”

Dr Helen Pain, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “It’s of vital importance that we recognise the crucial role that educators play in the advancement of the sciences.

“Society faces many challenges, and educators give us the tools we need to advance our understanding of the world around us and solve many of the problems we encounter.

“The hard work of both Miss Parker-Sharp and also the Greenhead College Chemistry Department demonstrates an outstanding commitment to chemistry education, and it is our honour to celebrate their considerable contributions.”