Back in my Liverpool home

So nearly 3 months have passed since returning to Liverpool and at the request of so many people I have decided to continue with my blog!

I moved back to Liverpool at the beginning of August after an emotional final few days in Brussels. The 1st few days being back involved me moving back into my house, lots of cleaning and organising things ably assisted by some amazing friends who gave up a lot of their time to help. One thing to look forward to was a family holiday to Cornwall. I had never been before and it was the ideal time to spend quality time with everyone after being away for so long. Staying in a very old cottage we where able to explore without having to travel too far. Managed to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, The Eden Project, Padstow, Tintagel, Port Isaac and a few other local places. After spending a year trying so many different Belgian beers I decided to carry on with the traditional sampling the best beer and cider that Cornwall had to offer 🙂

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The rest of the summer was spent visiting friends and catching up and before I knew it I was back at Broadgreen and the beginning of term! I received a lovely welcome back and a few people didn’t recognise me, especially with the beard and weight loss 🙂 After a few days it felt like I had never left which is not a bad thing and soon found that not much had changed! I found it comforting working with some of my best friends but also missing the buzz of Belgium.

This month I was also invited back to the Science Learning Centre in York to present a case study of how my career has taken off since completing the STACS (Senior Technicians Co-Leaders in Science) course in 2011 to this years cohort. It gave me a chance to look back at how much I have achieved in just a few years and share my experience of doing such a valuable qualification.

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So as we come to the end of a very busy and long half term I can reflect on some of the changes in my life. Things are looking up in both my professional and personal life.  In work I have been given more responsibilities. This is something I have been craving as I try and progress in my career. Some of it will provide a steep learning curve but I am up for the challenge!

This term as I am a member of the ASE Technicians Committee we are continuing to find ways to promote the role of a technician. Unfortunately with so many budget restraints in schools pay is always going to be an issue. Instead we are focusing on self promotion and trying to increase understanding of the role in our own schools. This was discussed in the monthly ASETechs Tweetups. These take place on the 1st Wednesday of each month and the highlights can be found here. Feel free to join the next one in November!

The Technicians Facebook group continues to go from strength to strength and we are hoping to have a 1000 members before Xmas. Lots of excellent advice and tips are shared on a daily basis and we have a very supportive community.

In my personal life, after such a horrendous year, I have unexpectedly met a fellow cat lover called Rachael who has become a very important part of my life. She’s beautiful, makes me laugh, inspires me and has helped me regain a lot of the confidence I had lost. Did I mention she has cats..;)

So that’s it for this update! Hope you enjoy it and thanks for all the great feedback. Phil


RSC Lectures at The British School of Brussels

One of the benefits working at BSB is that we are host to quite a few lectures from the Belgian arm of The Royal Society of Chemistry. Last nights lecture was presented by Professor Sir John Holman from The University of York in the UK.

I have a huge amount of respect for Sir John as he helped set up The National Science Learning Centres around the UK which deliver excellent professional development to science technicians and teachers. I have attended quite a few of these CPD courses over the years and learnt lots of useful skills that have helped me become a better and more confident technician. He is also a big advocate of practical science skills in students which are needed if they are to pursue a career in Science. He has worked alongside the Gatsby Foundation to promote these skills in schools which science technicians prepare practical lessons for students.

The title of the lecture was called “Gelato to Guncotton – The Art of the Demonstration” and last night was a great example of using demonstrations to enthuse students and encourage curiosity. Some of the demonstrations included making ice cream from liquid nitrogen, using dry ice to show that carbon dioxide is acidic when dissolved in water, “burning banknotes” and my favourite screaming jelly babies.

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This lecture had a very enthusiastic audience especially when we were handing around the ice cream… A lot of last demonstrations I have had the pleasure of demonstrating at school open evenings and on primary school visits to get younger students excited about Chemistry and how much fun it can be!

This was also a lecture that could not have been done without science technicians working hard behind the scenes to prepare and test everything beforehand. I would like to thank my team for ensuring that the lecture ran so smoothly.

There are lots of other RSC events taking place all over Belgium  this year if you want to attend any. Here is a link to their blog for details.

Other links you may find useful:

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @floorphillaz