The University of Worcester has been chosen to become the STEM Club Champion for the West Midlands and support schools across Birmingham, Coventry, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, and Solihull.
A team of staff from within the STEM Ambassador Hub based at the University will form part of a 22-strong network responsible for helping teaching professionals inspire more pupils in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) subjects through out-of-timetable clubs.
The network has been set up by STEM Learning, the largest provider of STEM education and careers in the UK, following a grant from the Gatsby Foundation, and builds on the organisation’s popular STEM Club programme. As STEM Club Champion, the University of Worcester team will provide face-to-face support for teachers across the region through regular workshops to help them start or develop existing STEM subject clubs.
The staff delivering the STEM Club Champions contract will work with secondary schools, as well as Sixth Form and FE Colleges across the West Midlands to deliver a programme of STEM club CPD (Continuing Professional Development) workshops and networking events. This will enable teachers and club leaders to share ideas and best practice, and also meet local STEM Ambassadors who can support their clubs. Teachers will gain access to a range of resources to help maximise the impact of their clubs. Collectively, STEM Club Champions will target nearly 3,000 schools during the course of the programme.
Enrichment STEM clubs, which often run out-of-timetable, offer an enjoyable way to engage students with related subjects in an informal setting. The clubs are an important outlet to ignite new, or further students’, interest in STEM subjects through more imaginative and inventive teaching methods. They allow students space to experiment, ask questions and tackle challenges of interest to them unconfined by the structures of the curriculum.
The workshops will cover themes such as how to start a STEM club and making an existing club thrive. Another important focus is enhancing careers knowledge and club leaders will be signposted to the support available from STEM Learning’s network of over 30,000 STEM Ambassadors, who together represent more than 2,500 employers.
Four workshops are currently scheduled to take place in March, two in Birmingham and two in Worcester.
The University of Worcester was chosen due to its strong connections with the local school community and experience of supporting and engaging with teachers.