Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
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Dstl Brings Science to Life at Larkhill Primary School

Students from Larkhill Primary School today enjoyed a fun-filled and informative Science and Engineering Day, courtesy of the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Scientists from Dstl’s head quarters at Porton Down visited the local school in the run up to Science and Engineering Week. This national initiative is a celebration of science, engineering and technology, running from 6 to 15 of March.

The purpose of the day was to introduce school children to science, engineering and technology in a way that would show them the relevance of these subjects to every day life. Children took part in a series of interactive science workshops with scientists from Dstl and other local organisations.

Workshops included a microbiology activity called ‘Grubby Hands’ which saw students counting the number of germs on their hands and ‘Protecting the Soldier’, an interactive science show which helped explain the importance of Dstl’s work to protect front line troops. These workshops were designed to engage students, and to help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Head teacher, Mr Steve Norton, said: “At Larkhill we believe that teaching science is valuable and fun, letting us learn and understand how things around us work. We really appreciate the time and effort that Dstl have put in to running our Science Day, helping to instil into the children how wonderful science can be. Everyone has enjoyed themselves and learnt something."
Dstl’s Education Outreach Officer, Jenny Gibson, said: “At Dstl, we believe it is very important for children to become involved with science at an early age. We hope that by taking part in our science workshops, children will realise science is not an elitist or irrelevant subject (an opinion held by many adults in a recent national survey). National Science and Engineering Week is a great time for our scientists to get into the classroom and share their work with the next generation.”

Special thanks must go to Mrs Margaret Clayton, of the company PsyChem, for her help in organising the event. She has been teaching chemistry for 38 years, and her ‘Liquid Nitrogen Show’ was a huge hit with pupils.

Dstl would like to thank the following local companies who also hosted workshops at the event; Salisbury District Hospital, Harnham Water Meadows Trust, QinetiQ, and the Health Protection Agency (HPA). 

Notes to editors,


The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is a centre of scientific excellence for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Its 3,500 strong workforce includes some of the nation’s most talented and creative scientists with the brief to ensure that the UK Armed Forces and Government are supported in-house by the very best impartial scientific and technological advice. Dstl’s position at the heart of the MOD means that its advice is trusted by governments, academia, industry and international partners. It offers timely and accurate advice at all levels of military planning and operations, both overseas and on the home front. For more information please visit

Education Outreach

As a centre of scientific excellence, Dstl takes a proactive approach to enthuse, encourage and inspire future generations of scientists, technologists and engineers. The organisation has pledged to take action to help improve the public image of science, and to encourage a higher number of students to take science GCSEs, A levels and Degrees.

Through the government wide Science and Engineering Ambassador (SEA) scheme, Dstl scientists volunteer to visit local schools and demonstrate real-world science, engineering, technology and maths in fun, exciting and interactive ways. Dstl’s commitment to community liaison allows employees to visit schools in work-time to share their work with students or act as governors, mentors or classroom readers. Dstl works throughout the many stages of the education system to ensure students, teachers, schools, universities and colleges are supported and encouraged to achieve their best in science and technology.

Dstl’s Education Outreach programme forms part of Dstl’s wider Corporate Social Responsibility programme to promote social responsibility and wider environmental issues and community awareness at work. For more information about Dstl’s Education Outreach programme, including contact details, please visit

National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW)
National Science and Engineering Week is a ten day celebration of science, engineering and technology which will run from 6 to15 March 2009. NSEW is coordinated by the British Science Association, funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, in partnership with the Engineering Technology Board. For more information please visit

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