Dyson Building

Senior school > Dyson Building

The Dyson Building opened at Gresham’s in September 2021. Sir James Dyson, a former pupil at the school, enabled the innovative new centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education.

Take a look inside

Space to explore, create, innovate and discover.

The building of a dedicated centre for STEAM subjects disrupts the established narrative that young people must choose between science and the arts at an early stage of their life. By teaching the subjects side by side, pupils can begin to see how the knowledge gained from one discipline can be used in a creative way in another.

Pupils have the time and space to engage in creative projects and, in the process, take different approaches to problem solving; learn to work collaboratively with others; start to understand how to turn an idea into reality, and develop their decision-making skills. There is no doubt these skills will be very important throughout their lives and future careers.

A state-of-the-art structure at the heart of the school campus, the Dyson Building spans 4000m² of space and creates a contemporary teaching facility incorporating classrooms, laboratories, workshops and flexible use, open plan common areas. The striking, open, light steel structure has been designed to blend sympathetically with the surrounding buildings. With exposed structure and services, a principle behind the design is for pupils to be able to see how the building functions rather than concealing its workings behind ceilings and linings.

STEAM activities

When the Dyson Building opened, it was exciting to see our pupils using and enjoying the facilities for the first time. We were thrilled to have been shortlisted for Outstanding New Initiative in the Independent Schools Awards 2022. We are seeing an increased uptake for our extra-curricular STEAM activities which are incredibly important and give pupils the opportunity to tinker and discover new ways of working. Currently, pupils are building robots from LEGO; using chemistry experiments to paint; designing, building and racing electric cars, and even using computing to code a character for a drama performance. For our recent production of The Little Shop of Horrors, Animatronic Audrey II was created through a collaboration between the Drama, Art and Computing departments. Pupils and staff fitted a web server to the plant pot which enabled them to control this unique character. Read more about this project here.

Prep School pupils have been attending sessions in the Makerspace on a Saturday afternoon to build and fly a power glider in groups. Pupils from our Nursery and Pre-Prep have been attending session in the Makerspace on a Friday morning. Activities have included making LED torches, making an art masterpiece with robots and dancing along to a robot song that reception pupils have learnt. STEAM Ambassadors from the Senior School have been supporting during these sessions.

Outreach programme

The building also provides greatly improved opportunities for the outreach programme which we run with local schools. Working closely with the James Dyson Foundation, we hope the building will become a hub for STEAM education in Norfolk. We recently welcomed children aged 2 to 18 to our use our Makerspace and showed them how STEAM is applied in the ‘real world’. Projects such as those which include electronics, 3D printing and robotics give pupils the opportunity to passively apply their STEAM learning.

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