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Freyberg High School – Wendy Webster

2017 | Always wash your hands – microbial disease prevention

SchoolFreyberg High School

HostmEpiLab, Infectious Disease Research Centre, (IDReC), Hopkirk Research Institute, IVABS, Massey University


In 2016, Freyberg High School joined 9 primary schools to form the Palmerston North East Community of Learning. As a CoL the school identified a key target as improving the engagement and achievement of students as active and self-directed learners through science and technology. As the sole high school, the school is very aware that only 46% of our students continue on to Level 2/3 Science subjects so they are hoping to increase the participation in these senior subjects as well as the achievement. By having Wendy participating in the leadership programme, the school hopes to improve in this area by starting at the grass roots of years 9 and 10.  The school wants students to develop a greater depth and understanding of the Nature of Science strand which will then hopefully have a follow on effect on senior science subjects.

Wendy has been teaching for 10 years and is the Assistant HOD of Science at Freyberg High School. During this time, she has taught Junior Science, Senior Science and Senior Biology. She has a passion for science and a drive to help students to unlock how science works so that they can inform themselves and help others with the big issues facing our world.

Wendy has been hosted by the mEpilab at the Hopkirk Institute, Massey University. Her placement involved participating in the everyday activities that occur in this laboratory, including DNA amplification and analysis, bacterial culturing, and database entry. She has also participated in public meetings and attended talks given by members of staff. This has given her more insight into how the Nature of Science is manifested in the day-to-day workings of a science institution. These insights will be invaluable as she returns to school and works to further incorporate the Nature of Science into her learning programmes.

The Science Teaching Leadership Programme has provided Wendy with the opportunity to more fully understand the Nature of Science and it’s place within Science as a whole. She would like to thank The Royal Society Te Apārangi, the staff at mEpilab, and Freyberg High School, for allowing her to undertake this powerful learning journey.