University of Bristol: New website about infection and antibiotic resistance launched for schools

Researchers from the universities of Bristol and Cardiff have created a new bilingual website to educate and enthral children on how infection takes place and the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

The research team, together with primary and secondary school teachers from across Wales, worked together to create the resource to support the new curriculum.

“Superbugs”, which launched yesterday [18 October], provides interactive content in English and Welsh on the microbial world in, on and around us, with a particular focus on antibiotic resistance. The emergence of bacteria resistant to many crucial medicines is described by the World Health Organization as one of the biggest current threats to global health.

Professor Matthias Eberl, an expert in infection and immunity from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, who is leading the project with Dr Jonathan Tyrrell from the University of Bristol, said he hoped pupils would “come on a Superbugs Adventure with us”.

“We really hope the Superbugs website will be used in classrooms across Wales, supporting teachers to deliver in-person lessons – as well as remote learning,” he said.

Dr Jonathan Tyrrell, Lecturer in the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bristol, added: “At the very outset of this project, we highlighted that we wanted to create a resource that meets the needs of teachers across Wales and supports the flow of pupil learning from primary through to secondary school, which is a central focus of the new Curriculum for Wales. What we have co-created with the teachers, achieves this key aim of the project.”

Catherine Stone, a teacher at Llanedeyrn Primary School in Cardiff, said: “Working with professionals from varied disciplines enabled enriched discussions, sharing professional knowledge, ideas and expertise to create a resourceful website. The Superbugs website provides various sections to choose from, including for families learning together at home, or for teachers planning learning experiences for their pupils in school.

“The content of the Superbugs website, although naturally science-based, also offers a cross-curricular aspect to the teaching, by combining science with history, numeracy, story-writing and arts and crafts.”

The project came about following the takeover of an empty retail unit in Wales’s busiest shopping centre, Cardiff’s St David’s 2, to create a walk-in, fun and interactive science experience during the 2019 school holidays.

Since then, the team of scientists, teachers, public engagement specialists, graphic and web designers have worked together to produce the new resource – and will continue to expand and develop it further alongside teachers and pupils, as well as holding live Q&A sessions with scientists.

Sarah Hatch, public involvement and engagement manager at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “I have loved being a part of this project, working alongside teachers to create a resource that will positively impact teachers and pupils and allow our scientists the opportunity to engage with audiences on the latest scientific developments in this field.”

Superbugs is a joint initiative run by staff from the universities of Bristol and Cardiff and funded by the Wellcome Trust ISSF and Cardiff University Systems Immunity Research Institute.