“Lowerplace like home” for Sir Peter’s Phiz Lab

Rochdale’s Sir Peter Ogden has opened the latest Phiz Lab at Lowerplace Primary to benefit primary schools across the borough and inspire children into physics.

Sir Peter was back on his old stomping ground as he opened his latest Phiz Lab, only the third one in the North West, to excited pupils at Lowerplace Primary.

Sir Peter and his son, Cameron, were special guests at the school for the afternoon and were treated to a science-themed lunch, a tour of the school and helped the children conduct experiments in the new, dedicated physics lab, before the grand opening.

He attended Lowerplace in the 1950s, where he met his future wife. He later went on to attend Rochdale Grammar School where he won a scholarship for Durham University taking a BSc in physics and a PhD in particle physics before going on to complete an MBA at Harvard Business school in the United States. He later became the co-founder of Computacentre and was knighted in 2005 for services to education.

Sir Peter was thrilled to be back in Rochdale, he said: “It’s exciting to be back at my old primary school. I’ve a lot happy memories of Lowerplace so I’m particularly proud to be opening this Phiz Lab today. Phiz labs are a great opportunity to get children involved at an early age in the wonders of science and I’m pleased to welcome teachers and students from our local cluster of schools who are promoting science education in our primary schools so successfully. “Science is part of our everyday lives and we have a responsibility to ensure our children can understand its basics, its applications and above all its beauty. From simple questions like how does a mobile phone work to more complex investigations on how did the universe come into being – these are all things children should think about. Phiz Lab will hopefully be the first step on that learning journey for these young children.”

The Phiz Lab is based at Lowerplace Primary school but is available for all schools in the borough to use. It is a dedicated lab to enable primary children to learn about physics in an interactive way and inspire them so they may pursue physics for the rest of their education, and hopefully their career.

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children’s services said: “This is a wonderful resource for our primary schools. It is great to see our young people interested and passionate about science, it’s a great career path for them and I hope Sir Peter’s visit, and the Phiz Lab, will inspire them.”

The Odgen Trust was set up in 1999, with a resolute focus on increasing the number of student taking physics at GCSE, A-Level and university and so they actively work to encourage children to become more engaged in physics. Opening Phiz Labs in schools is one way they hope to inspire generations of children.

Garry Johnson, head teacher at Lowerplace Primary, was delighted with Sir Peter’s visit: “We are thrilled to have this fantastic facility here. To have Sir Peter come back to his former primary school is very special. This has been a very memorable day and I’d like to thank him for spending so much time with our children today, I’m sure he’s inspired many of them.”


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