Let’s travel to Wales High School, South Yorkshire, to find out about what makes Hannah’s teaching space unique

Meet Hannah Feerick, who welcomes us to her science lab. She teaches students between the ages of 11 and 18 and has been teaching chemistry for seven years. At Wales High, they teach AQA at GCSE and A-level, and have developed their own KS3 schemes. Hannah also teaches the BTEC Applied Science equivalent to A-level. Teaching withing her specialism has meant Hannah has become a subject expert, but she also teaches year 9 biology and year 10 physics to develop her subject knowledge. Let’s find out more …

A science teacher doing some practical chemistry

Source: @TTFotos2

While the traditional layout of benches in rows worked well during Covid-19 restrictions, Hannah has been glad of the recent purchase of visualisers

How would you describe your school?

Wales High School is a state secondary school with almost 2000 students, which includes a sixth form with approximately 200 students. Our students come from the various villages surrounding the school and have lots of different learning destinations; some go to study sciences at university, some take apprenticeships with companies like the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and others join the construction industry.

We are lucky to have a lot of links with industry in the surrounding area and we try to connect with as many companies as possible to give the students a flavour of how they could use their science. This year we’ve partnered with Ibstock, which has a site just down the road from us, working on projects such as the North Star Science School. Our students have had the chance to meet Brian Cox and get a taste of the potential roles they could pursue after they complete their studies here. And, 2021 is a significant year for us: Wales High School is celebrating its 50th year.

Show us your classroom and lab

Want to share your teaching space? Then email us and your favourite space or display could feature in EiC online and in print.

A poster on a classroom wall Women in Science

Source: @TTFotos2

Hannah is proud of the displays in her teaching space, like this one showcasing the work of women in science

Tell us about your classroom set-up. What are you most proud of?

The labs are traditional, with benches in rows, which has worked well for Covid-19. Our newer labs contain spare equipment – great for impromptu demonstrations. We bought visualisers for our labs this year so students sitting at the back can see the demonstrations. Most of our labs are fairly old, but I like to think that the teaching makes up for it! 

We have been focusing on the diversity of our curriculum this year and I am proud of the displays we have made to promote the roles of women in science. And our female teachers are running a Women in Welding Ambassadors trip at Lincoln Electric to help break down barriers.

If you had an unlimited budget for your classroom, what would you spend it on?

I would love to have more fume cupboards. We are lucky to be able to visit the school labs at the University of Sheffield, to make aspirin with our KS5 students, which is great as they have loads of fume cupboards. But it would be nice to have more in our own labs, along with the space for them, too.

What’s your favourite area in your teaching space?

I like to move around the classroom when teaching, so it’s been hard for me to teach from the front and not circulate with the Covid-19 restrictions. However, I have tried to focus on the positives and have been working on the quality of my explanations and direct instruction instead. Now, I’m enjoying being able to get out from the front to see how the students are doing. The thing I love about teaching is that there is always something to improve on, or a new lesson tweak to help the students understand chemistry in greater depth.

A microscale chemistry practical on a laminated sheet

Source: @TTFotos2

Making great use of her teaching space, Hannah conducts microscale experiments with her students