Welcome to the science lab and teaching spaces of Jedburgh Grammar Campus. Teachers Sara and Katie share their experiences in their brand-new space

A chemistry teacher creating a fireball in a school lab

Source: © Sara Lambard and Katie Smith

In the main shared lab, Sara practises her flame-throwing skills

Meet Sara, Katie and their teaching spaces. Sara and Katie teach at Jedburgh Grammar Campus in the Scottish Borders. Sara has been teaching for about 10 years in schools and before that she taught in FE and HE, while Katie recently completed her probationer year. Here they tell us about their school and how they teach there.

How would you describe your school?

Sara: Our school is small with around 380 students in the secondary phase, but we have a primary school and nursery in the same building. We are very fortunate to have a brand-new building which we moved into in 2020.

The main science lab is a large room divided into four airy teaching spaces, each with areas for written work and practical work. We also have a fully equipped 6th year lab for Advanced higher tutorials and lab work, which allows for more dedicated support of senior students. In addition, the STEM Lab is a large area used for teaching practical electronics and physics but has the potential to host larger groups such as primary school visits. It has large windows with black-out curtains for experiments to do with light, eg luminescence.

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.

Tell us how you use your teaching spaces.

Thanks to Scottish Borders Council’s Inspire Learning programme, all students and staff have iPads and our teaching and learning is mostly done via these devices. In science we use OneNote a lot for notes, homework and exam practice. The OneNote app acts as a jotter and teachers can give feedback using it.

The iPads link directly to the screens we teach from, making it easy to move between a Powerpoint, OneNote and a video for example. They also allow us to digitally showcase students’ work by sharing their iPad screen to the classroom screen.

We were concerned about the open plan nature of these spaces initially, but the sound buffering is good and the students have quickly adapted to the space and stay engaged with what is happening in their area.

What’s your favourite thing about your teaching space?

Sara: My favourite thing about my teaching space was initially my biggest concern: that it was a shared space and I wouldn’t have my own classroom or desk. However, the lack of a cluttered desk is liberating and when I am not teaching, I choose to sit in the space and pick up tips from listening to others teach, which has improved my own practice. When I am teaching, there is always someone to help with digital issues and this collaboration has increased my digital abilities hugely.

Katie: My favourite thing is that it promotes collaboration among both staff and students as you always feel supported by other staff in the same room. As a probationer/NQT it was a great opportunity to be immersed in a classroom with three other experienced teachers for all three sciences to gain inspiration for my own teaching practice. There is also the opportunity for team teaching due to the layout of our space.

If you had an unlimited budget, how would you spend it?

Sara: Virtual reality equipment so I could take my class to a noisy, smelly blast furnace or a high-tech university lab and show them how chemistry is applied in the real world.

Katie: I would take students on trips to research labs such as CERN and the hydrogen research lab at St Andrews University to show them how science research is carried out and the practical applications of what we teach.