Registered charity number: 1038170 Registered company number: 2850118
The Darwin Centre for Biology and Medicine was founded in Cardiff by Professor Tony Campbell in 1993, moving to Pembrokeshire in 1999. It has evolved from a Biological and Medicine engagement platform through a weeklong Science Engineering and Technology (SET) Festival, to its current format as year round engagement provider in Science, Technology, Engineering , and Mathematics (STEM) in its broadest sense.
There are two arms to the charity one being the Darwin Experience education and engagement programme and the other, the Darwin Research programme.
The educational aspect of the charity draws on the world of STEM including dissemination of the work of the Darwin Research element. The main aspect of the educational and engagement programme is the Dragon LNG Darwin Centre Experience which sits as the primary project within the Darwin Experience umbrella.
The Dragon LNG Darwin Centre Experience is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational programme that has been running since 2005. Dragon LNG and the Darwin Centre are lead partners in the project which operates through working association with the local Educational Services (Pembs County Council) and Pembrokeshire College. This 4 way alliance led by Dragon and Darwin works with many other fractional partners throughout the region and across the UK. 90 % of the funding comes from Dragon LNG, with Pembrokeshire County Council contributing 10%, and Pembrokeshire College providing access to facilities, office space, and IT provision. An elected County Councillor and Pembrokeshire College’s Deputy Principal sit on the Darwin Centre’s board of Trustee’s.
The programme of work is built around a model of field based, engaging activities bringing STEM to life, followed by hands on workshops in the class room. The aim is broad; not just to enthuse young people and raise awareness, understanding, and interest in STEM subjects; but to support the schools delivery of the curriculum across the board, expose young people to industry experts, provide support for teachers through confidence building, and generating increased levels of wellbeing through outdoor learning.
Evidence to support the effort towards those aims is provided below:
- Schools inspectorate for Wales ESTYN recognised the project as an outstanding feature in Haverfordwest VC schools first grade one for Science “Pupils have been involved in a range of successful projects such as the Darwin Experience. As a result many older pupils have a very good geographical understanding of science and its links to industry and the environment”.
- Director of Education within local government commented “Evidence has confirmed my view that the Dragon LNG Darwin Centre experience has been highly effective and significant in enabling young people to experience a broad range of STEM opportunities. The countywide schools evaluation spoke volumes for the perspectives of the staff; during last year’s ESTYN inspection the work of the DLNG Darwin Centre Experience was particularly well received”.
- Head teachers Comment “The value to the children is exceptionally high, it also supports less confident teachers”.
- Class teacher “The expertise, enthusiasm, and expertise of the DLNGDCE team has always WOWED me. Experiences as a class teacher I could not provide”.
- Head teacher “Everything is about enriching the learning of the children, it’s not just fun and science driven, numeracy and literacy permeate through”.
- The DLNGDCE is a lead partner on the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools initiative which has been recognised by ESTYN as Sector Leading Practice in raising wellbeing in schools.
- Head teacher “A crammed timetable justifies working with externals that satisfy our level of quality. The DLNGDCE exceeds those expectations”.
- Pupils comments (10 year olds) “Other schools should be offered events like this one because they would learn something and it’s fun at the same time”. “It was a brill day and nothing could be better”. “By actually going to the cliff tops you learned more than just reading about it”. “It is a good way to learn and it’s great fun”.