Raising aspirations through STEM

During the academic year 2013/14 we have supported leadership teams and teachers in a number of the Hull BSF schools with their priorities around STEM subjects, and in particular with a computing focus.  Here’s a quick update about what these schools have achieved.

Each project has been unique in it’s emphasis and intended impact on a particular group of learners, and so has embraced the ‘Opening Door‘ inclusive project to encourage computing opportunities for all students.

Many of the projects have been posted through the blog and have also included successful student events when students from a number of schools have joined together at one host school to collaborate, network and share ideas.

Jam ph  jam ph1

One such event was the Student Jam in March when over 50 learners and teachers worked in teams to solve hack day challenges at Andrew Marvell College. The day also included the opportunity for teachers to learn from ‘pedagogy in practice’ when their own students were involved in engaging activities and workshops with teaching observation opportunities.

The student Jam was significant for a number of schools who used it as a launch for their own development plans.   From that day an additional programme of teacher CPD was implemented and a wider range of student events to include some with a focus on computational thinking were put in the Hull diary.

Some schools also started or extended their range of enrichment activities with a computing focus, particularly using Raspberry Pi mini computers.  Student engagement was one priority but teachers also used the sessions and the activities to experiment, tweak and gain input through student voice into possible projects from September onwards.

The Jam was also an opportunity to build on the links through the STEM community, with HETA, and with specialist input from some of our regional STEM Ambassadors.

Throughout the year 125 students from our schools have submitted evidence of computing projects towards a CREST Award which recognises their achievement in STEM.  The gender split is 79 girls and 46 boys across KS3 & KS4.  Some of these students have evidenced over 20 hours of project time and will wait to find out about qualifying for the Silver Award.


Some of these students are from Kingswood Academy and they’ve led their Student Pi Club, planning a range of challenges and activities for peers. This group has worked on a cross-curricular project with their Science teacher to plan and deliver lessons to younger students in Year 7.

The Kingswood Academy students attended the Big Bang Science Fair in June and won the regional first prize for a Computing project in the KS4 category.   We wish them all the luck with their next steps as their project has been submitted for consideration at the national finals in Birmingham in March 2015.

big science 1 big science 2

A number of schools from Hull attended the Fair in Doncaster, but for those unable to take part here’s a video insight that captures the energy and engagement from the students during the day. Thanks to Niki Bardsley from HETA for sharing the video online: