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Professor Lord Winston impressed students with an inspirational speech on education and how he’s linked to the biggest boy band in the world – One Direction!

Professor Lord Robert Winston came to Peterborough to officially opened the new £15 million Nene Park Academy building (February 27). The Academy, which opened to students in September 2013 and was funded by Peterborough City Council, boasts a state-of-the-art educational environment. This includes purpose-built science laboratories, fully-equipped TV and radio studios and it looks great too with a parkland frontage which includes a grass amphitheatre.

After Professor Lord Winston learnt that one of the Academy’s Houses had been named after him by students in recognition of his contribution to science and education, he was particularly delighted to attend the event.

The Professor, whose work includes preeminent research and development in IVF and or course his popular BBC TV science programmes Child of Our Time and Superhuman, toured the Academy to see the students learning in its first-class science facilities. He also delivered a special lecture to students, staff and VIP guests (including ESP Magazine) in the new hall.

He directed much of his speech to the students saying – “ It is really wrong that as a society we don’t value young people as much as we should do. In my opinion you and people like you are the most important people in our society because you are our future. You are the people that will make our society whatever it will be in the future for good or for bad. Therefore the way we treat you and the way we teach you is very important.”

Professor Winston added, “It’s great that students are being taught in wonderful premises like this, but unfortunately when students go home, there isn’t that aspiration to continue the learning process. It’s impossible for teachers to teach unless they’re supported. I’ve given out awards in schools where less than 10% of students had their parents attend the award ceremony. These are usually in the evening, outside of working hours, where there is no reason why the parents shouldn’t be there and I find that shocking. As a society we have to respect education.

“People think that I’m very clever when actually I’ve probably failed just as many exams that I’ve passed. Science is not done by Nobel Prize winners; it’s done by normal people working in collaboration with each other. In my own laboratory I don’t think any of us are particularly clever, but we’ve achieved things that are really important to our society and have helped human health across the world. We did this by working in collaboration. You are capable of doing whatever you want to focus on.”

You can watch his full inspirational speech on our video below.

The students seemed inspired by Lord Winston, but what got them particularly excited was when he asked them, “Do you like One Direction?” The students screamed that they did. He went on to say, “The One Direction film was made by my youngest son Ben. In fact, Harry Styles has joined our family for dinner a few times.” Just like that, Professor Winston became their hero!

Steve Howard, Principal of Nene Park Academy said: “We are very privileged to welcome Professor Lord Robert Winston to open our new Academy building. Our official opening represents a significant milestone for the Academy. We’re now firmly settled into our new home and feel extremely positive about what the future has to offer.”

 Mikey Clarke

Photos: Chris Brudenell for ESP magazine

Video: Lorenzo Monteforte for ESP magazine [youtube id=”Ko10WfN4YLE” width=”600″ height=”350″] [youtube id=”up685Yu2iA8″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

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