When the William Howard School in Brampton, Cumbria recently ac-quired a splendid new science block, the lower school science labs became redundant, their likely fate to be bulldozed or vandalised.
Instead, members of staff decided to donate them to a school in Uru, Tanzania, with which they have long had links. So the physics and chemistry labs were carefully dismantled benches, water and gas pipes, even blackboards. Each piece was meticulously numbered to make re-assembling at the other end easy. Then everything was packed into a 20-foot crate, and despatched to Tanzania.
Meanwhile physics teacher Phil Furneaux, who is also the school's link co-ordinator with Uru, recruited three local unemployed young people, organised their travelling expenses through various grants, and took them out for two weeks to Uru where, with the help of local tradesmen, they set up the labs and had them pretty well in running order by the end of the fortnight.
There have been one or two teething problems, but these will be sorted out this summer when William Howard's head of science takes out a group from the school for the biennial visit to Uru. (Every other year an Uru group visits Brampton.) Headmaster Roger Alston has already received photographs of the labs in Uru. "It looks just like the lower school," he says. There's also a special bonus with the labs now in place, the Uru school is eligible for a generous grant of science equipment made available by the German government for schools in Tanzania.