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14th October 2020

Former Physics Teacher awarded MBE

The Oakham School community are all delighted to extend our warmest congratulations to our former teacher of Physics, Helen Pollard, who has been awarded an MBE for her services to Physics education. The award was announced this weekend, with the publication of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.  

“We are delighted that all of Helen’s expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm for developing and championing the teaching and learning of Physics have been recognised in this very well-deserved MBE,” says John Chilton, Head of Science and Helen’s colleague for eight years.   

Helen was a key member of Oakham School’s Physics Department between 1979 and 1991 and returned in 2001 (after a break to raise her family) until 2009.  

Helen also played an important role in the School’s co-educational journey, as she was Oakham’s first female boarding Housemistress in 1986, expertly leading Round House for five years until 1991.  

In Helen’s leavers’ tribute in the School Magazine, The Oakhamian, fellow Physics teacher, Liz Nickless, talked about Helen’s “joy for physics”. “She helped inspire a decade of students to take up Engineering or Physics at university and it was a red-letter day for her when Oakham found themselves interviewing two of her ex-pupils for a Physics post.  Whether it was sending water rockets soaring over the ICT roofs with Science Club or generating sine waves with sand and wallpaper paste to demonstrate SHM to the Sixth Form… lessons were never dull.”  

Since leaving Oakham, Helen has been working closely with the Gatsby Foundation, The Ogden Trust, and the Institute of Physics – working with schools across the Midlands and mentoring teachers to raise the profile of Physics and science. 


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