Science Technology Engineering & Maths (STEM) at Ditcham Park School
Ditcham Park has embarked on an exciting whole school STEM Programme. The recent ‘Stem Skills Gap Report’ published by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has found that 59% of businesses and 79% of universities surveyed believe that there aren’t enough skilled candidates leaving education to meet the science, technology, engineering and mathematics industry’s employment requirements. Headmaster, Graham Spawforth says ‘conscious that technology is changing the way we live and the way we work our STEM programme is designed to provide our pupils with the technological skills and awareness to prosper in this Digital Age. I am sure it is no coincidence that two of our Yr10 pupils have recently been offered work experience with McLaren.’
Our STEM Programme has involved pupils in Juniors (4-11) as well as in Seniors (11-16). All pupils in Juniors took part in a STEM week which involved working in small teams, problem solving, designing and making. Three of our pupils received a ‘Highly Commended’ award from the Primary Engineer Leadership project which resulted in their work being exhibited at the University of Southampton. Pupils in Years 7-9 in Seniors have received discrete STEM lessons which have included learning how to code using lego mindstorm robots, building a Siemens Greenpower Challenge Car and studying Science Fiction literature and film. Students have been on inspiring day trips to visit the Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) headquarters in Portsmouth and the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, the largest STEM exhibition in the UK. Furthermore, a STEM speaker programme has enabled parents and pupils to meet and listen to Futureologist, David Smith, Google Director, Craig Fenton and Computer Scientist and inventor of Sonic Pi, Dr Sam Aaron. At the end of term we are looking forward to welcoming Helen Sharman CMG, OBE, the first Briton in Space, as our guest of honour for Founder’s Day and Prize Giving.
On Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th July, the Senior school will be spending one day off-site on a STEM inspiration trip. Destinations of these trips include Winchester Science Centre, the Science Museum in London, and Thorpe Park. The second day consists of the students taking part in a project designed by the Royal Society of Chemistry back at school called Mission Starlight. Completion of this global experiment on UV Protection can be used to achieve a ‘Bronze CREST Award’ awarded by the British Science Association.
STEM Fair – Wednesday 11th July
We are delighted to announce that we will be holding our first ever STEM Fair on Wednesday 11th July. The event is open to all pupils from Ditcham Park School as well as local Primary School children. The day begins with entertainment and pure delight thanks to the STEM group Wonderstruck. Wonderstruck will be demonstrating the concept of pressure, the science of combustion and rates of reaction and how to make explosions without fire. We’re sure there will be a lot of excitement about the rocket and the fireball that both feature in the show! After the show, our hall will be transformed into our very own STEM exhibition and open for all students to visit. The exhibition will include interactive stalls from companies such as Google, Estee Lauder, Morgan Innovation, the Royal Navy, BOC, BAE Systems, Intequal, and many others. Students will also be able to find specimens of rocks provided by NASA.
But that’s not all! Over the course of the day, students will also take part in workshops run by external providers, such as Winchester Science Centre who are bringing along their mobile planetarium, Flux dance troop who specialise in a fusion of STEM and dance, Roaming Robots who work on the hugely successful Robot Wars as the makers of the battle robot ‘Matilda’, the Royal Naval Museum Outreach group, and Compassion in World Farming.
In the new Academic Year Ditcham Park School will be offering to provide exciting STEM projects for pupils in local Primary Schools as part of its aim to ‘connect with the community.’