Dyson building


Sir James Dyson talks to Malcolm Robertson from ITV News Anglia.

Sir James Dyson joined Gresham’s aged 9, attending from 1956 to 1965. He has consistently acknowledged his gratitude to the school and its then Headmaster, Logie Bruce-Lockhart, for giving him the financial support to continue his education following the untimely death of his father, Alec.

Sir James Dyson said, “Both my parents taught at Gresham’s, and my father was head of the Classics department. When he was ill, he carried on teaching but died when I was nine. The generosity of the school, particularly Logie, meant I could continue there after his death.”

“Everything that was on offer I did. I was in the orchestra, I acted in every house play and school play, I did sailing, I did running and all the sports, I did quartets and quintets… I did everything I could. I think it was that combination of being able to do all those things in a creative and relaxed atmosphere that set me on the road to want to create things and do things”.

Sir James Dyson OSH hockey team 1965 – front row, 3rd from left

The Dyson Building

In 2002 the James Dyson Foundation, Dyson’s charitable arm, was established to inspire the next generation of engineers. Sir James said “You need about five times the amount of engineers to develop a product now than you did 20 years ago. We’ll be 2 million engineers short in four years’ time. Engineering and science are the most fulfilling of careers, they are also vitally important to our society and economy”.

Now, Sir James has enabled the new centre for STEAM education at Gresham’s. This is by far the largest donation we have ever received and the new spaces will have an immense impact on the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics education that our pupils receive, now and for decades to come.

Engineering and Science Education

James Dyson has long argued for an increased focus on the teaching of Engineering & Technology in schools. In 2002 the James Dyson Foundation, Dyson’s charitable arm, was established to inspire the next generation of engineers. A recent six-year-long project, with schools across Bath, aimed to prove a new teaching model for Design and Technology (D&T) in schools, with a curriculum based on iterative design, problem-led learning, and the installation of modern industry-grade equipment. All the activities – developed by Dyson engineers – map against the new GCSE subject content, making things easy for teachers. The project brought real-life design engineering into the D&T classroom.

The results showed a 37% increase in the number of students who chose to study D&T at GCSE, and improved correlation between gender and engineering. After the study, students were two and a half times more interested in engineering careers. Notably, teachers felt more confident and reported greater enjoyment of the subject amongst their students.