Recently a group of our most able and talented Year 9 students visited Newcastle University Medicine and Dentistry Faculties. The aim of the visit was to give Tanfield School students the opportunity to experience life at one of the UK’s most prestigious medical and dentistry schools.

Students were given the opportunity to attend lectures in Medicine and Dentistry and meet with undergraduate and post-graduate students. They were involved in a number of ‘hands-on’ practical sessions in the dental hospital where they got to see the harmful effects of bacteria in the mouth. They were able to make their own composite models of teeth and listen to a lecture about the differing structures of teeth from various animals including those from an African elephant and a Nile crocodile. In their afternoon practical session they worked with trainee doctors monitoring one another’s blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. They performed CPR on resuscitation dummies and painted muscle structures on to one another’s faces. Finally, the students identified bones and anatomical features whilst working alongside a forensic palaeontologist before using a robotics system similar to that used by trainee surgeons.

Newcastle University staff commented on how well the Tanfield School students conducted themselves during the visit. My hope is that this visit inspires our students to go to university just as many former Tanfield students have done in the past. One of which is currently studying to be a dentist in his first year at Newcastle University Dental School.