Latest News

May 24th 2017

60 seconds with Mrs A Birkett, Laboratory Technician

For this issue, we speak to our much-loved Laboratory Technician, Mrs A Birkett.


Can you tell us about your role at Blackheath High?

I am a Laboratory Technician and have been at Blackheath High for 6 years. My role is to make sure that all the equipment for practical Science lessons is safe. I put out the equipment, demonstrate it and trial practicals when needed.

Every day is different and I love the variety within my job. I am always learning and finding out new things. It is as much a voyage of discovery for me as it is for the students! For example, I recently trialled a demonstration showing acid rain, looking at the reaction in the atmosphere and how it causes acid rain.

What did you do before you joined us?

I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 6 ½ years at a neuroscience research centre. For 8 years, I also proofread research reports for an investment bank.

Has your research background helped in your role?

Yes, definitely. My research background and experience means that when somebody says that they cannot get something to work, I can quite readily fix it. I draw on my Human and Applied Biology Degree here more than I ever did in my pharmaceutical research. I do like it when someone says they can’t get something to work, I love a challenge!

What do you like most about your job?

The students, they are amazing. They are so good, always polite, helpful and fun to work with. The staff are also lovely, everyone is friendly and helpful. It’s such a nice working environment.

Have you always had a passion for Science?

I’ve always been interested in Science, particularly Biology. I love all Science and knowing how things work. As a child, I was always outside in a ditch or up a tree fossil hunting!

And you are passing this passion onto the girls through Eco club, can you tell us more?

I run Eco club every week. It’s open to all years and we explore everything ecological and biological. This includes global issues like pollution to local issues such as the wildlife in our grounds or on the Heath. We try to do lots of hands-on things like pond dipping, raising butterflies from caterpillars, and worm charming (trying to trick worms into thinking it’s raining). As part of Citizen Science, we participated in a science experiment with the astronaut Tim Peake, comparing seeds that had been in space with seeds that we had here.

What makes working here at BHS so rewarding and enjoyable?

The single thing that makes working here so rewarding and enjoyable is when a student says to me “that’s so cool!”. It really makes my day. When students suddenly understand something or are impressed by something, I think “yes!”.

You are obviously very busy working inside school, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

For the past couple of years, I have been running the Open Door Book Club. I have been going to the club for around 5 years now. It is open to staff and the public and we meet once a month during term time. It is really nice and makes me read something that I wouldn’t necessary read. We have just finished reading ‘Meadowland’ by John Lewis-Stempel, which I really enjoyed. It is about a year in the life of an English field. I have liked all of the books apart from one – ‘A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing’ by Elmear McBride. It was very dark and difficult to read. I accidentally dropped it in the bath and was not disappointed!

I also work on my allotment. I waited 12 years for it and I’m now in my third year, trying to keep the weeds down. It keeps me fit. Genealogy is also a hobby of mine. I found out that my husband is descended from Alfred the Great!

Page Gallery


Category / All Articles


Category / All Articles

Also In the News