It might have been a wet, blustery winter’s day but for the Oxford Trust the sun was shining on Tuesday as Kenneth Hale from Beard Oxford handed the keys to their Stansfeld Park development to John Boyle, Chair of the Trust, and CEO Steve Burgess. The Trust took the leasehold on the 18-acre woodland site, a former outdoor education centre, back in 2016. It commissioned local architects, ADP to do the design and Beard Oxford to take on the build. After just over a year of construction, the Oxford Trust now has the keys to their gleaming new science education centre and innovation centre. The next job will be to kit out Stansfeld Park ready for the opening of the innovation centre at the end of April and the science education centre in September 2019.
The event was attended by Trust staff, their patrons – Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood, trustees, staff from Beard Oxford, ADP, Ridge and Cllr Susan Brown, Head of Oxford City Council. Luckily, the sun came out at the crucial moment and they were able to go outside for the actual handover and to cut the ribbon on the iconic Ohm sculpture that’s been newly installed outside the entrance, see here for more information.
This unique development in Headington will welcome primary-aged children from across the region. They will be able to experience a wide range of STEM-inspired activities in the Science Oxford Centre’s exhibition zone, workshop and woodland. Adjoining this, the stunning Wood Centre for Innovation – named after their patrons – will become home to some of the region’s most exciting new high-tech businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Science Oxford Centre will be the UK’s first integrated indoor-outdoor science education centre for primary and early years children. The centre will be run by the experienced Science Oxford team and will deliver exciting curiosity-based activities that combine both natural and physical sciences. At the core of the centre will be the Exploration Zone, a hands-on science exhibition that challenges children to explore, experiment, observe and share their discoveries through scientific play. The exhibits encourage higher-order thinking skills – essential for any future scientist, medic, engineer or coder. The surrounding 15-acre woodland area, complete with ponds, walkways and grassland, will offer young people a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy outdoor, as well as indoor, STEM activities.
On the eastern edge of Oxford, the Centre will be accessible to primary schools across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Pre-opening visits will begin from May and the centre will be fully open for the start of the autumn term 2019.
The Wood Centre for Innovation (WCFI) will provide 25,000 sq ft of purpose-built office space and support for start-up and grow-on science and tech companies. The new centre is located close to the city’s growing health and data sciences quarter around the Old Road Campus, clinical research facilities at local hospitals and Oxford Brookes University. This advantageous location perfectly positions the centre’s high-tech business residents at the core of transformational research and discovery, enabling easy access to this fast-paced and growing community.
WCFI has meeting rooms for up to 20 people, video and conferencing facilities, an on-site café and an outdoor eating area. Twinned with the Trust’s central innovation centre, OCFI, the new centre will be managed by Oxford Innovation – building on their existing partnership. They are taking reservations now, ahead of the opening. If you are interested in looking round, call 01865 261400 or email
Stansfeld Park opens a new chapter for The Oxford Trust and will enable us to inspire more young people about science and add capacity to Oxfordshire’s dynamic innovation ecosystem.
This article first appeared on the website of the Oxford Trust on 15th March 2019.