Academy hub aims to nurture science talent

A new STEM hub has been launched in Berwick to support and combat talent retention in the region.

Monday, 15th April 2019, 09:18 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 14:24 pm
The Berwick STEM team.

Berwick Academy was supported by the STEM Ambassador Hub North East, part of RTC North, to launch the state-of-the-art hub.

Education relationship manager Jen Lee worked with Linda Crouch, head of science at Berwick Academy, to drive forward the new hub.

Linda explains: “The STEM Ambassador Hub North East and Jen Lee in particular have been pivotal in helping to establish the Berwick STEM hub.

“Jen has attended our meetings, and her enthusiasm and knowledge of science have been a real driver for establishing the Berwick hub.

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“Jen was very helpful, making lots of suggestions about what could be included, such as free online resources and the work on science capital to understand what helps learners choose a STEM career.

“The STEM team at RTC North are so helpful – they are really supportive, always positive and give good advice freely, which we tapped into.”

Berwick Academy is also taking part in the Regional Mentoring Programme, which is run by RTC North and funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company and in collaboration with the North East and Tees Valley LEPs.

Funds from The Careers and Enterprise Company will link pupils with former students in work or higher education who can act as inspirational role models. They will provide employability workshops, networking opportunities and advise on the skills needed to succeed in work.

Linda added: “We currently have 10 students enrolled onto the programme.

“The mentors are really helping our students to think about their future, and what skills they have for the workplace.

“RTC North were involved in identifying the STEM ambassadors who were willing to work with us, doing the DBS checks to ensure that the mentors are suitable adults to work with children.”

Jencommented: “It has been a real pleasure working with Linda and all the staff from the schools in the Berwick STEM hub.

“They have all embraced and welcomed the ideas we have shared with them and taken them back to their schools.

“The hub are using continuing professional development (CPD) to raise the science capital of the teachers to inspire and enthuse them, and they are then passing this on to their students, which is amazing and exactly what we are striving for.

“Schools in the area are also making of our STEM Ambassador network effectively, bringing STEM professionals in to inspire the younger generation.”

The Academy is currently working with Berwick Museum and Art Gallery to popularise the newly-established STEM hub.

The team at the hub have recently received financial injections including a £2,500 funding from the Polar Explorer project which they will use to put on training for Thinking Scientifically with local first school teachers. They have also been awarded funding by the Cringle Trust to purchase dataloggers to support activities.

Last month, Ofsted inspectors delivered an encouraging report which praised the steps taken by the senior leadership team to make improvements.