The Thomas Hardye School

THS Students visit Royal Society


Royal Society Visit

A party of  10 sixth form Thomas Hardye biologists attended the first Partnership Grants conference at the Royal Society on Tuesday 2 February. They presented their project “Investigating the epidemiology of Borrelia spirochaetes in Dorset” to the President and Fellows of the Royal Society, Members of Parliament, invited guests and representatives from 11 other Partnership Grant schools. 

In the impressive historical surroundings of the UK’s national science academy, the day’s packed programme began with an introduction from Sir Venki Ramakrishnan FRS, President of the Royal Society and was followed by a panel discussion about scientific careers chaired by Professor Russell Foster FRS. In the remaining morning sessions, students learnt about the process of publishing scientific results and how to plan and carry out scientific expeditions. After lunch, all the schools gave short presentations about their projects. Year 13 students Nicole Hope, Natalie Cotterell, Eilish Hart, Jasmin Howard spoke on behalf of Thomas Hardye School about their aims to identify the proportion of ticks that contain Borrelia spirochaetes (which are known to cause Lyme Disease), to investigate the characteristics of these ticks, and to raise awareness about Lyme disease and its transmission. The students reported their progress in developing the skills required to prepare tick samples carefully (to avoid contamination) and the process of extracting tick DNA using Polymerase Chain Reaction and gel electrophoresis in order to detect if they host Borrelia. The students also mentioned their work in engaging with the public raising awareness of Lyme Disease at every event they have taken part in including the Dorset County Show, with help from information supplied by the charity Lyme Disease Action.

Six other members of the ‘GENEsis lab’ who work as volunteers on the project every Monday - Amber Cornick, Noah Criswick, Jack Davies, Kensey Lycett, Louisa Spearing, Eleanor Wilberforce joined Nicole, Natalie, Eilish and Jasmin, Dr Rowe and Mrs Wardlaw for an hour to stand by their poster and enjoyed exchanging information with many of the distinguished visitors. Dr Rowe reported “The students were excellent ambassadors for the school, and we were complimented on the ambitious nature of our project, along with the excellent presentation skills and engagement of our students throughout the day”.

Rounding off an excellent day, the school and its representatives were presented with certificates to commemorate their participation in this pioneering event. This was an excellent chance for the students to improve their presentation skills, and to celebrate the success of their project and showcase their work. Lead teacher on the project Mr Lewis said  “Scientific communication of research is important, the Royal Society is a well-established forum for British Science, to present here was a real honour and something that will help our students to develop these important skills, as well as meet with many important people in British Science”.

The Thomas Hardye School is very grateful for invaluable support given by:

The Royal Society Partnership Grants committee and its Education Team

University of Exeter partner Dr Nicky King and colleagues who visited the school, supplied advice and equipment and hosted a workshop-style visit from the GENEsis students at the university

Lyme Disease Action for advice and leaflets

The Ernest Cook Trust for supplementary funding


Royal Society

Royal Society Certificate









February 2016