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Gratnells Science Technician of the Year 2017

Gratnells Science Technician of the Year could be a double winner in 2017


The Gratnells sponsored Science Technician of the Year award 2016/17 has gone to Gill James, who works at Christ the King Catholic Voluntary Academy in Arnold, near Nottingham.


Gill has not only lifted the coveted trophy but has guided her school to the finals of another major science accolade, the Rolls Royce Science prize.


Working as part of a close-knit team of science technicians and teachers, she has been an example of the school’s commitment to excellence throughout the range of STEM subjects, developing student interest along with her meticulous preparation and management of practical science lessons.



Gill has enjoyed a varied career since graduating from Leeds University in Applied Biology, working in the environmental research industry with the Packaging Industry Research Association (PIRA), in the business sector and also qualifying with an NVQ in Children and Young Peoples workforce whilst childminding before taking on that role.


Throughout her career the care and mentoring of children has been a constant theme.  She was with Nottingham County Council for 4 years, working with children and their families as a caseworker in the special educational needs sector. Now, in addition to her regular duties, she is involved with a range of related projects that mentor, encourage and inspire students such as a project with Nottingham Trent University and  the development of the Aspiring STEM Leaders Programme working with STEM Ambassadors, a range of STEM organisations and the University of Nottingham.


From involvement with a Brownie group, helping them develop their first interest in science, to organising opportunities for students to work as science demonstrators at ‘Science in the Park’ near Nottingham, Gill James is a tireless advocate for the study of STEM subjects.


Her success in winning the Gratnells Science Technician of the Year award is another major milestone in her list of achievements, which has delighted her colleagues but not surprised them. Sarah Lissendon Crook, Deputy Head of Science at Christ the King Catholic Voluntary Academy, says she is the consummate professional with a level of personal commitment to both teachers and students which makes her special.


“Her preparations are absolutely immaculate. They help even the most inexperienced teachers to relax and enjoy practical work and this, in turn, transmits itself to the students. She guided us through the opening rounds of the Rolls Royce Science Prize contest virtually single-handed, writing the submission and meeting the deadlines.”



Headmaster Carlo Cuomo endorses the comments from the science department and says that it’s high time science technicians came out from the wings and into the limelight of science education in the UK.


“When you consider the changes in the teaching and support services environment that technicians have adapted to over recent times – just as an example where previously we were mandated to provide just one required practical year, it’s now 18 across 3 sciences over 2 years and 12 each for ‘A’ level subjects – their role has increased in importance and complexity.


Gill is not only a master of organisation and preparation, she’s our leading authority on health and safety, on storage of materials and a dab hand at procurement too. As she will tell you, the whole team including Adam Blazewicz-Bell, Sarah Lissendon-Crook, Joe Mellor and Stacey Wheeler is outstanding, but that does not diminish her star quality. She thoroughly deserves the title of Gratnells Science Technician of the Year 2016/17 and we are delighted for her.”


Gill James was presented with the award by Gratnells International Marketing Director Richard Picking at a ceremony held at the National STEM Learning Centre on York University Campus, receiving £2000 worth of vouchers for her school and a personal cheque. Next year she will be invited to join the judging panel for the 2017/18 awards and will become a member of the newly formed STOTY Alumni Association created by award sponsors Gratnells.

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