Claire Aspinall and Pam Ellison are both Geophysicists with a passion for sharing the wonders of the physical world with others. They met in 1995 whilst studying Geophysics at The University of Liverpool and have been friends ever since.
Claire Aspinall – After graduating from Liverpool University with an honours degree in Geophysics, Claire spent many years as a Field Geophysicist for Schlumberger and a Resources Management Consultant for Accenture. After this, Claire spent two years as a Senior Project Manager for United Utilities prior to completing a PGCE at Manchester University and commencing a career teaching Science and Physics in 2011. The experiences and skills that she gained from her fieldwork and consulting occupations, as well as those acquired from her numerous sporting endeavours, have proved invaluable both in and outside of the classroom.
After 4 years of teaching at the King’s School in Macclesfield, whilst running the Silver Duke of Edinburgh scheme at the school and leading a number of outdoor activity events, Claire’s thirst for a new challenge and passion for learning outdoors got the better of her. As a qualified Mountain Leader, Rock Climbing, Orienteering and Mountain Bike Instructor, Claire could see many links between what is taught in a classroom environment and how this could be delivered in more adventurous settings, both in and away from the school grounds. The result was the launch of Peak Discoverers, the aim of which is to deliver a set of courses and services which will benefit others who see the value in developing themselves and others in an outdoor environment. Since launching the company in 2015, Claire and her team have delivered numerous activities including Outdoor Physics lessons for Stockport Grammar School and Outdoor Maths lessons for St Richards Roman Catholic Primary School. Claire now manages the running of services for Peak Discoverers whilst delivering services for Thornbridge Outdoors and the Institute of Physics (IOP). Claire is a Project Officer for the IOP and has recently commenced a post to help improve gender balance in schools in the North West of the UK.
In addition to Claire’s numerous professional responsibilities, Claire is a Craghopper’s Ambassador and is a passionate fell runner and climber. She is currently Ladies Captain of the Pennine Fell Runner’s team, one of the best fell running clubs in the country.
Pam Ellison – After graduating from Liverpool University with a first class honours degree in Geophysics with Maths, Pam spent three years as a Geophysical Analyst before retraining as a Science (Physics) teacher at Bath University. Based in the South West, she gained eight years of invaluable teaching experience at Wellsway School, in Keynsham, and Ralph Allen School, in Bath, before deciding to challenge herself by relocating to New Zealand for five years. There she worked not only as a Physics teacher but also a teacher of Outdoor Pursuits at Christchurch Boys High School, which allowed her to further develop her own knowledge and experience in the country’s beautiful outdoors.
Throughout her teaching career, Pam has always held a strong belief in the benefits of practical work and everyday examples to further her students understanding of Science and Physics. The position of Head of Physics at Ralph Allen School gave her an excellent opportunity to implement courses that focused strongly on these aspects. Alongside her curriculum responsibilities, Pam also had the responsibility to jointly set up and then coordinate the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, a challenge that she relished greatly and tried to bring into the classroom where possible.
Whilst living in Christchurch, Pam lived through the unique, if scary, experience of the earthquakes that rocked the city in 2010 and 2011. She found that being able to understand and explain the significant devastation and change that the region went through using Science was a powerful tool for herself and her students to rebuild their lives. Pam also realised the importance of time spent in the outdoors to maintain both physical and mental wellbeing.
Outside of teaching, Pam is a qualified Mountain Leader and enthusiastic about sport, having competed for Great Britain in the World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Madeira, Hawaii and Switzerland. She is still an avid swimmer, runner, hiker, mountain biker, climber and skier, where possible combining these sports with her other passion for travelling. Pam now works part-time as a Physics teacher at Ralph Allen School as well as a Science and Maths Tutor with Bath Tutors.