SchoolLab is a science communication programme run in English. It encourages students to engage with all that scientific research has to offer. 

Students discover the international side to scientific research and improve their English language skills whilst having fun.   

Who is SchoolLab for?

SchoolLab is aimed at students in years 9 and 10. Selected schools respond to a call for applications sent out by their respective Local Education Authorities.

The programme is generally run by one Science and one English teacher who get around thirty students, divided into smaller groups, to participate. 

What do students need to do to participate?

To participate in SchoolLab, students need to:

  • Present a scientific subject in an interesting manner in three minutes
  • Ensure that the 3C's are integrated into their presentation: Clarity, Content and Charisma
  • Speak in English

How it works

Only one group of three students can represent a school at a time. Each group decides on the subject of their presentation and conducts relevant research. The group writes their presentation and then practices delivering it with help from a mentor (A FamelLab alumni). One alumni is partnered with each school. 

Teachers who participate are trained in scientific communication so they can support their students during each stage of the programme. 

A competition is held in front of a jury made up of research and communication professionals in each school. Every winning team is then asked to present at the SchoolLab final, held at the end of the academic year, where teams from different schools compete against each other.

SchoolLab has been organised by the British Council France in the Local Education Authorities of Lille and Toulouse since 2016. We bring together different partners such as the International Relations Department of each Board of Education, the Villeneuve d'Ascq Forum des Sciences, the House of Science in Lille and Toulouse, and the Lilliad Learning Centre Innovation. SchoolLab was able to take place in Toulouse thanks to the support from la Fondation EDF. 

What's the impact of the programme?

The project supports transdisciplinary work. Often Science, English and Drama teachers work together to support participating students. 

Here's a quote from a teacher in Lille:

"The project has made students more curious and attracted to Science and English as academic subjects, the latter having become a more authentic language of communication. The project allowed me to get to know my Science colleagues better as I had never worked with them before. It strengthened co-operation between students and enabled us to work with other teachers. Some students were able to surpass themselves despite being severely disabled (as was the case for one of our students) or excessively shy (as was the case for others). Students who usually switch off were suddenly motivated in class. 

Each group of students is supported in their work by a young European researcher. This gives students a role model who in turn opens them up to new perspectives for scientific careers and internationalism. SchoolLab allows students to have an active role in scientific communication and inspires them follow in the footsteps of the current generation of young researchers. Their scientific knowledge, their spoken English and their confidence are all positively impacted. 

SchoolLab helps students to: 

  • Challenge their assumptions on research and science as they deepen their knowledge on both subjects
  • Develop critical thinking through innovative and creative activities
  • Increase in confidence and skills - useful for presenting their ideas when they enter the world of work
  • Demystify and therefore identify with young scientists
  • Open up to the international world

Students develop the following skills:

  • Science, engineering and technology based skills
  • Communicating in a foreign language
  • The ability to take initiative
  • The research, documentation and synthesising of information
  • Working in a group