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Chemistry in Action

This project gives Year 6 children at Roxeth the opportunity to experience practical work in the laboratory. The children heat up a range of substances and see a series of demonstrations including the fractional distillation of red wine and the lighting of a Christmas pudding with ethanol. The separation and burning of substances tie in with the Science syllabus. The children work in pairs or threes and each group is supervised by a pupil from Harrow. Both partner schools benefit from the project.


The aim of the project is to introduce laboratory work to Year 6 children and make them enthusiastic about experimentation and science by providing them with opportunities that would not be available in their own school. Primary schools usually do not have the laboratories to make this type of approach possible. Spending two afternoons during the academic year undertaking this sort of work is both stimulating and rewarding. Critical to the success of the project is the enthusiasm of the staff and pupils at both schools and, in particular, the work undertaken by the Chemistry technicians that allows the project to run smoothly. The children at Roxeth are the main beneficiaries, although this project is important in that it introduces Harrow boys to teaching and to the local community.  Our aim is to give them a lifelong interest in philanthropy.


There is a long-standing link between Roxeth and Harrow going back to its foundation. The schools were already working together at many levels, e.g. governance, gardening and Latin teaching, and this seemed a natural extension to the existing informal partnership. The suggestion was greeted with enthusiasm by the both the head teacher and the Science co-ordinator at Roxeth.


Although the Harrovians are the principal facilitators, a Chemistry teacher supervises the sessions and there is considerable input from laboratory technicians.


There have been remarkable thank you letters from the young children and the project has encouraged some of the Harrow boys to become involved in Science Week at other local schools. The project is reviewed by the headteacher and Science coordinator at Roxeth, and the Director of Shaftesbury Enterprise at Harrow.

Pupil Involvement

Harrow provides at least 12 boys from Years 10-13 and two members of the teaching staff each week. 


Science teaching remains one of a large number of activities that take place with our primary school partners. Each Year 6 class at Roxeth has two afternoon sessions of Chemistry. There are a total of eight sessions as we have the same arrangement for another  local school, Vaughan Primary. We will be entering the third year of this project next academic year. Summer timetable and examinations mean that these programmes take place between October and early March.