Who Stole Mr Brady’s Chair?

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Excitement built all last week in the Glens of Antrim as P6 students descended on St Killian’s College’s from 17 partner primary schools attempting to identify who stole the Principal’s chair.

All of the schools were involved in a CSI style project which received funding from the Primary Science Teaching Trust. In 2013/14 a pilot version of the project was run which was so successful that this year the project was opened up to all 17 partner primary schools


Mr. Brady was in school early one morning and was about to tuck into his morning sausage roll when he discovered he had no tomato sauce. He went to get some, but on his return he discovered that someone had taken his chair and created an awful mess.  This mess was sent to the 17 partner primary schools to be analysed and separated so that the culprit could be identified at the celebration days at St Killian’s.  The students used a range of scientific skills such as, observation, magnetism, sieving, filtering and evaporation to extract a sample which could be compared to samples gathered from the soles of the suspects shoes.

Flame Test


Last week all of the P6 students involved visited St Killian’s College for a final series of forensic science experiments to finally identify the guilty party.  At St Killian’s the students carried out flame tests and chromatography to identify the culprit as English teacher Mr Martin Ferguson.  When confronted Mr. Ferguson admitted his crime and cited his reason as a rivalry between Mr Brady and himself over supporting different football teams.


Last Thursday’s celebration day was visited by a representatives from the Education and Training Inspectorate who were highly impressed with the ability the project had to provide seamless transition from 4-18. The project exemplified best practice in encouraging greater co-operation between primary and post primary as well as understanding to a much greater extent the skills and attributes that pupils have when they move between primary and post primary.   It was also highlighted that the project was an outstanding example of inspirational and meaningful collaboration.

Mr Brady & Mrs Haughey

Mrs Mary Haughey ,Principal of St John’s Primary School , Carnlough is a fellow of Primary Science Teaching Trust . The Trust supports projects promoting Science in Primary schools. Having previously worked with St Killian’s College Mrs. Haughey made a bid for funding that would enable Primary Teachers to be trained and work with a Science expert from St Killian’s Science Department to deliver a programme that would equip all school children with a set of Science skills. Mrs. Haughey expressed her gratitude to everyone involved with making the project such a success saying “this was a wonderful opportunity for the pupils to develop not only their Science but many other areas of the curriculum in a fun and exciting way. Evidence clearly shows that children’s interest in Science is shaped before they leave primary school so it is critical that we work together to nurture the enthusiasm to find out about the world around us and the science connected with it. The teacher evaluations demonstrated the positive impact of the project with one teacher stating “it has renewed my enthusiasm for teaching Science”. Pupils also completed evaluations stating, “..it got me really interested in Science.” or “it was a great experience to be in a Science lab with a Science expert.”

Mrs Haughey is looking forward to continuing the project next year and indeed the Science Department at St Killian’s will be devising a P7 resource for all of the participating Primary schools.

Kathy Schofield College Director from PSTT said of the Science Project

One of the many things that the Transition Project allowed to happen was the involvement of St Killian’s students with P6 students from a range of Primary schools from across the Borough of Mid and East Antrim. I am thrilled with the way the teachers have embraced this project and fulfilled the vision of the Trust to have all Primary school children experiencing practical Primary Science. This project is developing a love of science that is critical at a young age and then demonstrating that the fun and excitement does not end when you go to post primary school. I felt privileged to have been asked to present the children with their trophies for identifying the culprit and be part of a truly memorable and collaborative approach to learning. Science taught in primary schools and then followed up in post primary school is of vital importance to individuals and the nation’s well-being. The Trust puts teachers at the heart of all they do and this project reinforced this approach by providing support and encouragement for them to have a go for the development of the children’s learning.

Linn Primary School

Mr Brady would like to thank the Science Department at St Killian’s and all of the primary school students and their teachers who helped to discover who stole his chair.  He is now sitting much more comfortably after its return!

 Thanks to Paddy McIlwaine for the photographs

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