ABOUT

The Noël Turner Science Festival was created in 2016 in memory of a BAE Systems radar engineer, Noël Turner, who attended Cowes High School (now Cowes Enterprise College), then Oxford University and who worked on many leading radar products. 

 

The Noël Turner Science Festival is an annual event for Isle of Wight school students and is designed to help young people see the practical applications of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and to raise their ambitions and expectations.

Many local companies attend the event in order to showcase their work in interesting ways which is meant to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. The festival aims to give young people the chance to link their classroom learning with real-life applications of STEM.  Whether it was launching rockets, exploring 3-D vision or star gazing in a planetarium, the previous years' events have provided some fantastic opportunities for 3,000 plus students to see STEM in action.  The involvement of local businesses and education providers also helps island youngsters and their families to find out about well-paid employment in the STEM industries.

In 2019, Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, took on the organisation of the Noël Turner Science Festival. 

MISSION 

Our mission is to spark curiosity in STEM by raising the aspirations of all young people and their families on the Isle of Wight.

Our aims are to:

  • raise student's aspirations, 

  • provide accessible opportunities,

  • raise the standards of science teaching

This year we are focusing on the two day festival for primary and secondary school students. While this model works well, in the future we hope to grow the festival into a multi-day event open to schools and members of the public.

 

We are piloting a STEM challenge for Year 5 and Year 7 students who will design a project around the United Nation’s Global Goals. We hope to expand this challenge in subsequent years and offer it to other groups.

 

We hope to complement the festival with community and pop-up events, such as science busking, stargazing and collaborating with pre-existing events.

We will be supporting teachers with the STEM challenge but we hope to expand this by providing teachers with the opportunity to get together to share best practice and collaborate on resources.

MEET THE STEERING GROUP

ELLEN WEEKS

SIMON GARDNER

Ellen’s family has been traced back to 1563 on the Island and she loves being surrounded by the ever-changing sea. Since childhood, her passions have always been music, drama and writing.


She met Noël in 1998 and they married in 1999, just as her twenty-year career in banking culminated in her appointment as Manager of NatWest Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor branches.  


In 2004, she moved over to the Arts and now teaches students Speech, Drama and Piano, making use of her ALAM Speech and DipABRSM Piano, qualifications. She is a published poet, children’s picture book and dramatic scene writer.


The Noel Turner Science Festival is not only a tribute to her husband, a dynamic man whose love of physics (his ‘beautiful’ subject) was infectious, but also a fantastic opportunity to engage young people on the Island in the fascinating world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.      

I was born on the Isle of Wight and educated first at Cowes High School. I graduated with an M.A. in Physics from Oxford University and started work as a Radar Engineer on the Island at the predecessor company to BAE Systems. Seven years later I underwent a complete change of career, studying and working in the charity sector in Africa for several years, before returning to the IW in 1999 to resume a role in radar systems engineering.

I helped to found the Noel Turner Physics Festival with Noel's widow Ellen and others because Noel was a friend and contemporary through our schooldays, at Oxford and a colleague at BAE Systems until his untimely death in 2015. I have served on the planning committee and have helped to contribute to and coordinate the BAE Systems exhibits at the festival.

JON BAKER

I am a professional engineer and manager with a background in electronics who worked on defence radar products with BAE Systems from 1984 to 2018. Holding many roles within the company, I was, at one time, responsible for managing the group of professional engineers which included Noël Turner, and with Ellen Weeks and Simon Gardner was a founding member of the Noël Turner Physics Festival. 

 

I have a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, am a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and is a Chartered Manager and a Member of the Institute of Management. 

 

Having taken semi-retirement, I now work part time with the IW College coaching young islanders in practical and theoretical Electronic Engineering.

PETER SWANN

I have more than twenty years experience of working in industry in various engineering and management roles. In 2007 I trained to become a teacher and have been Head of Physics at Ryde School since 2015.

I have recently been appointed as the Teacher Coordinator Consultant at The Royal Academy of Engineering to help promote STEM across the Isle of Wight.

I am keen to help students realise the real-life side of Physics and Engineering and promote opportunities for learning outside the classroom. I joined the steering group in 2017.

Ben Ward

Ben Ward is the CEO of Winchester Science Centre and is responsible for leading the charity to achieve its mission of building science capital for all.

Ben has a passion for public engagement, widening participation and impact which has been demonstrated by his previous experience managing arts centres, major arts projects and working for local authority. Due to the historic rich science heritage of the region, Winchester Science Centre has identified the Isle of Wight as a key region for inspiring curiosity. Ben sees The Noël Turner Science Festival as a key event in engaging the young people of the island with the wonder of STEM.

Ben is also Chair of Trustees of the Association of Science and Discovery Centres.

DR NICK ENGLAND

I studied physics at Oxford University for 6 years, completing MA and DPhil degrees.  I taught physics at Wellington College before becoming Headmaster of Ryde School on the Isle of Wight from 1997 to 2013. 

 

I have written, co-authored or contributed to 29 physics textbooks, been an inspector of independent schools, and most recently have worked for Physics Partners and the Institute of Physics as a teaching and learning coach; he is a fellow of the Institute of Physics.

In retirement I am a Deputy Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, as such taking a lead in the QAVS on the Island, and am committed to supporting various community projects.  i am Chair of Governors of the Isle of Wight College, and a member of the Noel Turner Science Festival committee.

NATALIE SMITH

Natalie’s current role is School Improvement Manager for the Isle of Wight Local Authority. This involves supporting and challenging the schools on the Isle of Wight across key stages from 1 to 5, ensuring they are strong and successful for all students. Natalie also chairs the Local Safeguarding Childrens’ Partnership’s Education Subgroup.
 
Having started her career as a science teacher, and with a strong science background, Natalie is keen to help develop STEM across the Island, and to that end is pleased to be a part of the steering group of this outstanding event.

RACHAEL BAKER

Rachael is the Widening Participation Officer at Winchester Science Centre. 

She has experience of organising science festivals, working in science centres and strives to make STEM more accessible to everyone!

Andy Keenan

Andy Keenan is Head of Widening Participation at Winchester Science Centre and has responsibility for sparking curiosity with new and underserved audiences by engaging and building sustainable, long term relationships.

Andy is an ex-RAF aircraft engineer, but more recently has been working in science education and STEM engagement. Andy was recently Assistant Principal at a technical school and has significant experience with running various large scale STEM events and festivals. He has a passion for engaging the next generation with science and sees events like The Noël Turner Science Festival as a vital part of achieving that goal.

Photos from Winchester Science Centre archive