Chris Packham Presents Fifth of our Annual STEM Lectures!

Staff and students were delighted to welcome Chris Packham, TV presenter and passionate conservationist, to High Tunstall College of Science on Thursday 16th September 2021, for  the fifth of our Annual STEM Lectures.  Chris was originally due to attend the college in 2020 but due to COVID his visit had to be postponed.


Chris arrived at High Tunstall and was greeted by our senior students for a tour of our excellent new facilities. Chris was exceptionally impressed by the new building, he spoke of how his own school was ‘primitive’ in comparison, and enjoyed the resources we have on offer – our Virtual Reality headsets in particular. Chris used them to explore the Arctic! During the tour Chris engaged with students on all manner of subjects, ranging from issues of non-renewable energy resources, to the relationships in the book ‘An Inspector Calls’.

Chris took part in 2 small group interviews involving students with a passion for Science. These students had entered a competition to be part of the group.  He was impressed with the wide range of questions he was asked, from what inspired him to enter his career, to the impact of COVID on wildlife, and was eager to answer all questions.  Packham also judged our Year 6 Summer School Habitat competition; he said it was difficult to declare one winner but narrowed it down in the end – well done to Riley and Jack!

The main part of the day was the STEM lecture itself. Chris delivered 2 lectures, one to KS3 and one to KS4, that were attended in person by 330 enthusiastic students, and then live streamed to the rest of the college. Chris talked about his childhood, and explained how his love of wildlife started at an early age.

He was also open about his Asperger’s, and discussed how art, photography and music helped him at difficult times in his life when he was bullied.  He went into depth about his love for wildlife and photographing wildlife and how everything he did relating to it was for himself and no one else. He had a very strong theme throughout the lecture which was to find something you love, find something you’re good at and focus on them – do not let the things you’re not so good at get you down. This really helped students to think about the things in life that made them happy.

Chris also spoke about the ecological emergency and how the world was in a desperate position due to climate change and encouraged the students to use their voice to help make a change as it would have a profound impact on the students’ lives. Chris hoped students would change their mind and practices to support the crisis and said: ‘the ability to change your mind is a great strength’.

He offered students one final piece of advice which was:

“Whatever you’re trying to do or achieve – whether it be professional, sporting or educational – winning is not about crossing a line or getting a cup , winning is simply never giving up.  You will only ever stand a chance of winning if you never give up.”

It was a fantastic and inspirational day!