The Royal Society Of Chemistry’s President’s Award Won By Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (The NCS) Chemistry Department

The chemistry department at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (The NCS) has won the Royal Society of Chemistry President’s Award 2018.

Royal Society Of Chemistry's Presidents Prize Awarded To Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre

This year’s award recognised a teacher or group of teachers for their work in inspiring students from diverse backgrounds and for encouraging them to continue their studies of chemistry or related subjects at the next stage of their education.

The team have won the award for inspiring and showing students the importance of chemistry in the world and providing them with the best possible chances for the future to study at top universities, further validating the outstanding efforts and outcomes our passionate and expert teachers deliver for our students.

“Our focus is helping disadvantaged students reach their potential and achieving fantastic results in chemistry”, says Jacob Parslow, Head of Chemistry. “These results, along with the multitude of extra curriculum opportunities, enable our students to study and flourish at top universities. We have had great success so far with students going to studying chemistry related subjects at MIT, Cambridge and Oxford just to name a few.”

“The team are over the moon to have received this prestigious award and look forward to using the prize money to buy some exciting new equipment that will improve our students’ learning. We all feel very honoured to have been selected.”

Professor Sir John Holman
Royal Society of Chemistry president Professor Sir John Holman Picture: @ Royal Society of Chemistry

The winner was chosen from the list of nominees by Royal Society of Chemistry president Professor Sir John Holman, following recommendations by members of the Education Division Council.

“I’m the first president of the Royal Society of Chemistry to come from a school teaching background and teaching is what I have done all my career,” said Professor Holman. “I’ve always felt that there are two ways to measure your success as a chemistry teacher. One is obviously exam grades but the other is whether students are being inspired to study the subject further. Are they getting such inspirational teaching that they want to stick with chemistry for the future, for example by opting to do A-level or going on to further studies?”

“It isn’t just about good teaching. It’s about teaching that motivates by showing how important chemistry is to people’s lives, how fascinating it is and how it helps explain the world around us and I wanted to recognise that too.

“I also wanted to recognise what a difference inspirational teachers can make to students from disadvantaged backgrounds – it’s an important part of social mobility. Our community of chemistry is a wonderfully diverse mosaic and I wanted the award to celebrate that diversity in the chemists of the future.”


“The team from Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre really have done what I was advocating for. They’re getting large numbers of students going on to continue with the study of science, often at highly successful higher education institutions. They’re getting superb exams grades. They’re doing so in one of the most deprived parts of the country. And they’re doing so as a team.”

“I particularly like the fact that we’re giving the award not to an individual but to a team of teachers and a technician. Because good teaching usually depends on the work of a department, as well as the inspired individual members of it. And when you look at the team it’s clearly a very diverse group of people and I like that idea too.”

Professor Holman presented the award at the Royal Society of Chemistry at Burlington House, as part of the event Inspiring leadership in chemistry teaching, featuring talks by HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman and Nobel laureate Ben Feringa.

“I shall present this award with great pride and pleasure”, he says. “I’m looking forward to meeting them and I’ve asked if I can go and visit their school at some stage in the future to see how they do it.”

“This award and this event will be for me one of the high spots of my two years as president and I’m hugely looking forward to it.”

Meet the team
Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (The NCS) Chemistry Department Awarded The Royal Society Of Chemistry's President's Award
Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (The NCS) Chemistry Department Awarded The Royal Society Of Chemistry's President's Award

The school’s chemistry department consists of a highly skilled team of six chemistry teachers and one chemistry technician. Every member of the team has outstanding subject knowledge, excellent pedagogy and a deep passion for helping their students.

Mr Gurinder Sanhotra – Head of Science/Chemistry teacher

BSc (Hons) Chemistry – Queen Mary, University of London, PGCE King’s College London, MCT, MCP

Mr Jacob Parslow – Head of Chemistry

BSc (Hons) Neuroscience, PGCE, MA Education – University of Sussex

“Leading the NCS chemistry department for the last two years has been the most rewarding experience of my life and I am so happy to see our students achieve such fantastic results.”

Ms Susan Palmer – Teacher of Chemistry

MChem – University of Southampton, PGCE – Edge Hill University 

“The NCS is an excellent environment for teaching and learning and it is a pleasure to work with such a lovely team.”

Ms Lucy Budden – Teacher of Chemistry

MChem – University of Oxford, PGCE – Canterbury Christ Church University

“I have always been passionate about inspiring students to love science. Teaching at the NCS has been an exciting challenge, the students stretch and entertain me every day.”

Ms Syeda Sardar – Teacher of Chemistry

Pharmaceutical Chemistry BSc (Hons) Queen Mary & Westfield College, PGCE – Institute of Education

“Working at the NCS has been a great journey where I am surrounded by passionate, dedicated and outstanding teachers. Their focus to give our students the best opportunities they may not otherwise get in a deprived borough such as Newham.”

Ms Mumena Begum – Teacher of Chemistry

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry – Queen Mary, University of London, PGCE – Institute of Education

“It is wonderful to be working with a team of such experienced and dedicated teachers who are passionate in what they do and consistently inspire students to challenge themselves and achieve their best.”

Ms Surya Kurup – Chemistry technician 

BSc (Hons) Chemistry, University of Kerala, India.

“Working with the NCS students has been an absolute pleasure due to their hard work and enthusiasm.” is now SixthForm.London!
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