Record-breaker Andy Green inspires Newham pupils with science talk
PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 March 2016
If you want to drive a car at 1,000 miles per hour, you’ve got to start by studying maths.
Principal: I want to expose pupils to greatness
Just about any institution in the country would be happy to have Andy Green over for a lecture, so his presence was quite a coup for NCS.
But it wasn’t a one-off, as its principal, Mouhssin Ismail, was very keen to emphasise.
“The range of speakers we’ve had here – Shami Chakrabarti, Simon Singh, Vince Cable – is unrivalled in the country,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is expose the pupils to these big figures.
“When Andy Green is on TV in a couple of years after breaking the record again, one of these kids will say, ‘He was at my school – maybe I could do that’.”
His hope is to “desensitise” pupils to greatness, something “kids from Newham maybe aren’t expected” to experience.
“We want to give them the same experience they get at Harrow or Eton,” he said. “It’s got to have an impact.”
So said Andy Green, holder of the world land speed record since 1997 (when he rocketed through the Nevada desert at 760mph), as he promoted the power of engineering at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form.
He was visiting the East Ham school, in Barking Road, for British Science Week – but left feeling highly impressed by the borough’s scholars.
“I’m hugely confident about future generations,” said the RAF wing commander, who is working towards beating his own record. “The questions these students have asked are as good as any I’ve ever heard.”
NCS is one of the first schools to invite Andy to speak, and he was very happy to discuss the the advantages of science.
“These young people are studying the very world they will be building,” he said.
“Maths has been useful to me in every area of my life and it has helped me get the best job in the world.
“Britain’s world class in innovation and it’s because of schools like this finding and teaching the next generation.”
The pilot, who said he was very proud to have flown missions in defence of UK air space, also mentioned Britain’s F1 dominance – claiming the only thing German about Mercedes’ car was its name.
His persuasive power won praise from student Raja Ali, 17, whose teachers consider him a “maths genius”.
“He was so knowledgeable,” said Raja. “I really liked his style. I’m set on maths, but he made me consider engineering.”
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