King Solomon International Business School – Breaking the Barriers to STEM

Background

King Solomon International Business School is Birmingham’s first all-through (4-19) Christian free school with a student body of 1,200 students. Part of the Woodard Family of Christian Schools, it specialises in international business and entrepreneurship.

Challenge

King Solomon International Business School in an inner-city school which has a student body comprised 97% BME, with a high percentage of which from low-income backgrounds. Latest statistics show that only 6.2% of UK domiciled students enrolled in STEM-related subjects at UK universities are black (4.8% Black African, 1.2% Black Caribbean, 0.2% Black Other). Its ambition is to close the diversity gap through a fully realised STEM programme of extracurricular activities which encourage pupils to engage in STEM and pursue related careers.

What We Funded
  • Code Club – an after-school club designed to immerse students in the world of code – html, Java, CSS etc.
  • Eco-friendly sensory wildlife garden – designed to help students explore science in a practical way and explore learning about life cycles, growing, plants, climate, habitats, weather. The Code Club will create a QR code for the various plants and environments, which can be scanned to get the information about optimum climate for growth etc.
  • Equipment – for a variety of science and maths experiments. As an inner city school, one experiment will be to measure the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels in classrooms and outside areas. The funds will also help buy tablet devices to document pupils’ findings, record their data, and photograph their experiments.
  • Excursions – a range of STEM-related school trips, including Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust; Planetarium at Thinktank; Jaguar Land Rover Wolverhampton; Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
What impact has it made?

The range of projects aims to engage everyone at the school, from ages 4-19, a total of around 1,200 pupils.

Why did they receive a small grant?

The project reflected the passion of King Solomon and the Parent School Partnership has for engaging the student body in STEM education with a clear objective to increase diversity in the STEM workforce. Activities were well presented, creative and demonstrates a sound strategy for achieving their goals.

Technology and STEM is a basic skill we all have to understand – at the school, we now talk about ‘the three Rs plus T’, where T stands for technology. Through the funded projects, we want to increase STEM engagement opportunities across the whole school, both Primary and Secondary. We are an inner-city school in Birmingham – 98% BAME – and we want to make sure that this traditionally marginalised group is not missing out on opportunities for STEM learning and careers in STEM. We have identified gaps in the children’s exposure to STEM learning; we want to reach individuals from urban, challenged or hard to reach backgrounds by providing all of this free of charge to prevent barriers to their involvement.

Jane McLeod, Lead Chair, Parent School Partnership

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