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RAL activities for schools

A key part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) mission is to share our exciting work with schools and the public. We are dedicated to be encouraging young people to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

All events run by the RAL Public Engagement team are free of charge but must be booked and confirmed in advance.

Find upcoming events for schools.

Workshops and visits (Key Stage 2 to 5)

We run a wide range of workshops and events for students in Key Stages 2 to 5, covering space, computing, particle physics, materials and much more! They are a great way to inspire your students, by meeting people with different backgrounds and career paths who work here.

Online workshops typically last an hour and can involve activities, talks from our scientists and engineers, and virtual tours. Visits to the lab typically last a full day and include tours of our experiments, shows or talks and hands-on workshops.

Ada Lovelace Challenge Day (Key Stage 3)

Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

To celebrate, RAL hosts a computing challenge day for teams of students from Year 8 or 9. As part of the day, the students are also given a tour of our Scientific Computing facility.

School Science Prize (Key Stage 3)

If you are a Year 9 student, you can enter the School Science Prize. Participants are asked to write a 500 word essay about, “Why I love science”. We’re looking for an excitement about science and an enthusiasm to learn more.

See the judging criteria for the School Science Prize.

All participating students receive a certificate and the final 15 students are invited to an evening celebration, normally in December. The 15 finalists are invited to give a two minute presentation on why they love science. Entries open in September and close in November.

To enter you will need to upload the essay into an online form. We’ll update this page when applications open. As well as uploading your essay, we’ll also ask for your school and a teacher’s contact email address. Teachers can also upload class sets of essays.

Science in Your Future (Key Stage 4)

To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Science in Your Future gives GCSE students the opportunity to learn about the different careers available in science, technology, engineering, computing and maths.

The day is run in partnership with Diamond Light Source and includes:

  • quick talks by some of our early career staff
  • a tour of Diamond Light Source
  • engaging ‘hands-on’ workshops.

There’s also an interactive careers fair, where students can speak to partners and organisations from a wide range of fields within STEM.

Chemistry at Work (Key Stage 4)

The ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory host an annual Chemistry at Work event in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry, aimed at GCSE students.

The students have the opportunity to visit the ISIS experimental hall and learn about the incredible chemistry undertaken at the facility, through talks, demonstrations and a series of activities. The day finishes with an exciting chemistry show.

Schools can bring a maximum of 12 students and priority is given to local schools and students who have not already visited the facility. Lunch is included.

Particle Physics Masterclass (Key Stage 5)

The National Particle Physics Masterclass is a popular series of one-day events for sixth form students and their teachers, run by particle physics researchers at various institutes all over the country. These classes provide excellent support for the material on particle physics, which is in many 16+ curricula.

The masterclasses at RAL provide the chance to:

  • hear talks by leading particle physicists from RAL and CERN
  • tour one of our accelerators
  • carry out a computer simulation activity with staff from RAL’s Particle Physics department.

As these days are very popular, the masterclass is repeated in one week each year. They are run both online and (when circumstances allow) in person.

Engineering Your Future (Key Stage 5)

Engineering Your Future is a careers event to help Key Stage 5 students find out more about different careers available to them if they choose to progress with work or study in the field of engineering. It is co-hosted by Diamond Light Source, Oxfordshire’s very own synchrotron.

The day includes:

  • short talks from our early career engineers
  • a tour of Diamond Light Source
  • interactive workshops.

There is also a careers fair giving students a chance to speak to other organisations that support maths, science, computing and engineering. These events run either in person or online. Lunch is provided when the event is in person.

Teacher training (CPD) workshops

We work with our local teaching organisations to host and run training on a wide range of different topics, enabling teachers and careers leads to speak directly to our experts on site.

If you are interested in working with us to deliver training, please email us your details.

Email: visitral@stfc.ac.uk

Last updated: 31 March 2022

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