Published: 11:52, 21 March 2019
| Updated: 11:58, 21 March 2019
A new £20 million science centre at an independent boys' school is set to open as pupils prepare to meet NASA astronauts.
A leading independent boys’ school in Kent is set to open a new state-of-the-art science facility after securing a £4 million funding package from HSBC UK.
The Barton Science Centre at Tonbridge School – named after British Chemist Sir Derek Barton, an old Tonbridgian and Nobel Prize winner in 1969 – spans three storeys and comprises 20 new classrooms and laboratories.
The £20 million development, funded with £4 million from HSBC UK, has been specifically designed to transform the way science is taught and understood by pupils.
The Barton Science Centre also puts Tonbridge at the forefront of school science with top of the range facilities, including an interactive periodic table, a TV wall, its own beehive, a roof garden, greenhouse and dedicated library.
Nick Hicks, Area Director for HSBC UK in Sussex and Surrey, said: “HSBC UK has been working with the Tonbridge School for over 10 years and we are thrilled to have contributed towards this new state-of-the-art facility.
"The Centre will not only modernise how science is taught, but also make the subject more engaging and interactive for current and future pupils.
"Tonbridge is widely regarded as a pioneer in teaching as it continues to encourage pupils to be creative and intellectually curious. The addition of the new science building will, without a doubt, fuel and nurture this outlook.”
James Priory, headmaster at Tonbridge School, said: “We are very grateful to have received support from HSBC UK for the new Barton Science Centre.
"As well as bringing huge value to the school’s science faculty, the new Centre will also have a wider public benefit, acting as a regional hub and Centre of Excellence. We have plans to open our ‘Science for Schools’ days to local primary and secondary pupils and host public lectures and events.”
Established in 1553 by former Lord Mayor of London Andrew Judd, Tonbridge School provides secondary education for nearly 800 pupils and is renowned for being a high performing school both domestically and internationally.
The new Barton Science Centre will officially open on Saturday, March 23, and pupils will also have the chance to meet NASA astronauts at the launch.