Our budding Northgate News Team members Tallulah and Amilie, alongside Miss Theobald, recently interview Mrs Simms. A member of the Science Department, Mrs Simms has worked at Northgate since September 2017. A former Head of House and currently second in Science, here’s what she had to say in reply to the questions.

What is your favourite Science and why?

I really enjoy Chemistry as it is logical, it’s about learning patterns and building a bigger picture.

Who is your favourite scientist?

It would be Dr Sarah Gilbert – She is a Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford. She specialises in the development of vaccines against influenza and emerging viral pathogens.

She co-developed the Oxford AstraZeneca covid vaccine. As of January 2022, more than 2.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been released to more than 170 countries worldwide. In the 2021 Birthday Honours, she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to science and to public health in COVID-19 vaccine development.

Why did you want to become a Science teacher?

When I was young I enjoyed Science at school. I liked learning about why things happened – I always questioned why. I like working with children and wanted to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for Science with them.

With your knowledge of what the job of a teacher involves, would you choose it again?

Yes, I was the correct career choice for me.

Do you enjoy teaching at Northgate and can you describe Northgate in 3 words?

Yes! I would have to say lively, community and welcoming.

Have any practicals gone wrong in your lesson before?

Yes, i was doing some fractional distillation and the bench caught light. It was all ok though and quickly sorted.

What is your favourite topic to teach in Chemistry?

It would have to be a Year 11 topic – C5 on separation of substances and moles (not the animals!)

Do you have any hobbies outside of school?

I like to do zumba and dance and read when I get a chance. As a family, we like to watch Harry Potter films and Marvel films. I also like gardening.

Have you had any jobs other than being a teacher?

I started in financial services, administrating pensions and then worked with a financial advisor. Next I sold health insurance for Bupa before having a family and going to university. Then I decided to become a teacher.

If you weren’t a teacher, what job would you like?

That’s a difficult one, it changes a lot, but I’d like to be an astronaut or work for the space agency!

What would you say is the most significant scientific discovery?

That’s a really hard question as they all build on each other. Someone comes up with a theory and proves or disproves it, then someone else improves it and so on. More recently though I would say the development of different vaccines.

You run STEM club at Northgate with Mr Fox – why should people get involved?

STEM club means that we can look at fun and challenging topics and projects that are not covered in the Science curriculum. We also have a Science Fair in March which we would like as many people as possible to get involved in.

A big thank you to Mrs Simms for taking the time to be interviewed. We look forward to seeing who the Northgate News Team pick next!