Schools put heads together for brain awareness week

Bruce Hood
Bruce Hood (on the right)

Two local schools are taking part in a large-scale experiment to learn more about the human brain led by leading academic Prof. Bruce Hood from the University of Bristol as part of Brain Awareness Week from 13 to 19 March.

CCSS and Bassingbourn Village College will join ten schools in the Independent Schools Association and their partner schools in the maintained sector during the week. Students from CCSS will be going to Bassingbourn Village College on 14 March to hear two expert speakers: Dr Sara Baker and Dr Jon Simons, both psychology doctorates working at the University of Cambridge.

Says CCSS Principal Stuart Nicholson: “We are delighted and honoured that they are giving up their time to come and talk to our students. We cannot at this stage reveal the exact nature of the experiment in which we are involved, but we can reveal that CCSS will be partnering Bassingbourn Village College during Brain Awareness Week in a day of learning about the brain. Thanks to Prof Hood and his colleagues across the country, all 25 of the schools in this project will have visiting expert University lecturers coming to talk to them about how the brain really works. Such an enormous amount has been learned in the last decade that the truth about the inner workings of the most complex organ in the body are not widely known, and Brain Awareness Week which starts on 13 March 2017 will begin to put that right.”

Prof Hood is well known as the presenter of the Royal institution Christmas lectures in 2011, which you can listen to here. He has established an organisation committed to promoting engagement between university researchers and schools. His Speakezee organisation is a searchable database of academic expert speakers; a not-for-profit community interest company supported by the University of Bristol and other sponsors. At its heart is the desire to help speakers engage with their audience and to make it easier for organisers to find relevant experts to talk at their event, whatever the size.

Schools involved include: in the north-west of England, Scarisbrick Hall School and their partner St Bedes Catholic High School; to Bishop Challoner School in Bromley and their partner schools Bonus Pastor Catholic College, Langley Park School for Boys, and St Ursula’s Convent School; to CCSS and Bassingbourn Village College in Cambridgeshire. In all there are around 25 schools and 2000 students.

Adds Stuart Nicholson: “All of us at CCSS hope that this will be the first of many shared endeavours with our friends at Bassingbourn Village College. The Principals and Deputy Principals from both colleges have been meeting over recent months to see how the two schools might be able to work together and we are very proud that we are able to link the launch of our joint initiatives with the marvellous large-scale experiment that Prof Hood is conducting during Brain Awareness Week. “

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