Background

Sandwell College is the largest provider of 16-19 year old study programmes in the West Midlands. Their mission is to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to reach their full potential, achieving a successful career in their chosen field.

Aim of the project 

The aim of the project was to set up a 3D Immersive Learning Lab, introducing exciting, engaging and innovative STEM-related learning projects across the colleges curriculum, using emerging technologies such as virtual reality programming.

A series of workshops will be run to inspire students to become more engaged in STEM, promoting careers through virtual reality workplace tours, connecting with those who previously might not of seen STEM careers.

What impact has it made?

The project has begun with great success, giving students a fantastic insight into 3D modelling and virtual reality activities around STEM.

The college has partnered with Cadbury College in Kings Norton to use some of their facilities to host the equipment for students.

Through the use of iPads and VR, the students have taken part in a number of exciting activities to enhance their STEM learning. These include entering new worlds and visualising scientific concepts and diagrams, such as life-sized DNA structures.

They have also tested out Augmented Reality Cubes, which combined with a VR headset allows the students to hold the cube and they visualise holographic 3D models (such as engines, the human brain and CAD drawings) in the palm of their hands. As they rotate these around they can view them from all angles.

Moving forward the college are looking to attract more students to study STEM courses, using the equipment to engage them in a fun and effective way.

Background

Lyng Primary School’s vision is to provide a nurturing, happy, and safe environment. Surrounded by caring adults, pupils are provided with opportunities to become the best they can be. The school strive to ensure that every pupil leaves feeling confident, self-motivated, and independent so that they are ready for the next stage in their lives.

Aim of the project 

Lyng Primary School’s aim was to engage all pupils in STEM by encouraging them to become ‘Lyng Architects’. They were given a design brief asking them to design and build their perfect Lyng community. The brief included a strong enthesis on being eco-friendly, promoting rewilding, and sustainability. The pupils responded with innovative designs for the community.

The designs and creations were achieved by using CAD software. The work was then 3D-printed to display in the school foyer alongside handmade examples. The project was also supported by parents who came in to help their children build their designs.

The Millennium Point Trust Grant provided the grant that allowed the school to purchase 3D printers, laptops and resources to make the project happen.

What impact has it made?

Over 500 students benefited from the Millennium Point Trust Grant. It has provided staff with amazing opportunities to plan and deliver an exciting STEM project for their class. Over 95% of students never have had the opportunity to use 3D printers or CAD software before. The grant allowed them to learn about career options that may not have been accessible to them prior.

Parents who got involved in the project had high praises for the project, one parent said ‘kids get more fun by seeing their parents working with them inside school, sitting with them together’. Another said ‘it was nice to be invited into school and involved with my child’s afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you.’

Governors were also invited to the ‘Inspire’ afternoons, one comment received mentioned ‘I really enjoyed the afternoon, it’s always great to come in and get involved with what they are working on. I thought the project was brilliant and the children had so many great ideas, I think there might be some budding engineers amongst them and clearly some pupils are cut out to be supervisors! It was great to see them all working together and making their ideas come to life. Really great event, would love to see more of these.’

Background

Ahead Partnership is a purpose driven business that reinvests surpluses into its programmes. They believe that it takes the combined resources of business, public and community partners to build a successful and resilient society where everyone regardless of their background, can flourish.

What was the challenge?

Currently too few young people have any concrete understanding of the career potential in this area. Schools and careers leaders are also struggling to keep up with developments within the technology sector and to understand the digital transformation that is underway across all sectors. Making effective links with employers is difficult and the landscape fragmented. Through an exciting programme of face to face and virtual engagement activities delivered through a Digitech week-long festival involving a range of regional employers.

What impact has it made?

Throughout this exciting tech and digital careers experience day, girls from across the city had the opportunity to hear inspiring guest speeches from professionals including Jennifer Wait from Goldman Sacks and Amy Elliot, placement co-ordinator at SUMO Digital. The students also got involved in interactive workshops where they were able to ask questions to professionals already succeeding in roles like senior business analyst, placement programmer and chief people officer, and a large-scale challenge hosted by Avanti West Coast.

After learning about the different roles available to them and the skills required to succeed, 95% of the female students that attended said that they understood what skills they need to get into digital following the event. Meanwhile, the number of young women interested in digital careers following the event was an impressive 87%.

Stephanie Burras CBE, chief executive of Ahead Partnership –

Our #GirlTech events are extremely popular and effective, with volunteers from a diverse range of businesses and organisations keen to get involved, share their experiences, and promote the opportunities available within the digital and tech sector to young women beyond school.

Our recent West Midlands event at Millennium Point was a great success, the feedback that we have received shows that the students found it really informative, and the wide range of organisations involved demonstrates the real breadth of opportunity available to those hoping to thrive in a digital career. We targeted the event at young women in years eight and nine to help them apply their learning from the day when making their GCSE subject choices, and the students reported that #GirlTechWM has really helped to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to pursue their own paths in this thriving sector.

Why did they receive the grant?

Ahead Partnership have previously had a positive success rate in engaging with young people in education in skills and links to industry employers. The event gives inspiration in Tech careers and further tackles the diversity gap those industries. The grant will allow them to do a face-to-face event and series of virtual events and introducing students to a wide range of skill sets and job roles that may not have been originally known to them.

Wolves Play Café is a not-for-profit organisation to support young children and their parents and caregivers in Wolverhampton.

What was the Challenge?

Families in the Whitmore Reans, St Peter’s Ward in inner-city Wolverhampton area are affected by having few opportunities to explore local attractions or paid experiences. There is a lack of accessible science activities for 0-5 children in this area of the city outside of school and pre-school for parents and caregivers to interact with their children without price, time and location barriers. The area has the highest amount of reported crimes in the city therefore children have limited outdoor exposure due to safety concerns from parents.

The World Around Us’ will deliver ten 2 hour science play sessions in term-time from September 2019 to July 2020 for under 5s and their caregivers in Wolverhampton. This project aims to develop an early curiosity and knowledge base in the world around us, based on the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and working with a community space with the outdoor provision to deliver these sessions. The sessions will be fully funded, meaning barriers to those from low-income households will be removed to allow access for all.

What Impact has it Made?

The project impacted over 80 children and 50 parents/caregivers in Wolverhampton. Response to the project was overwhelmingly positive with sessions becoming fully booked very quickly with over 70% of those attending wanting to return for additional sessions. Attendees reported they had a heightened awareness of STEM and it’s applications in everyday life with parents reporting an increase in interest from children in STEM subjects following the sessions.

We are thrilled to receive our grant from Millennium Point Charitable Trust. This has enabled Wolves Play Café to access and engage with 100 under 5s across 10 and 75 caregivers across 10 ‘The World Around Us’ play sessions.

The project, with the help of this grant, has created opportunities for very young children to develop their STEM learning from an early age, by delivering ten sessions across 10 months but the resources and planning used to deliver them will be a long-term investment in STEM in the region as it provides the organisation with the opportunity to repeat the sessions and their proposed impacts following the initial programme.

Under 5s will have opportunities to develop curiosity in the world around us’, to develop basic problem-solving and experiment skills and develop a basic knowledge of natural science. Furthermore, parents and caregivers of under 5s will have an opportunity to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, increasing their wellbeing. By parents and caregivers also being part of the sessions, there will be an opportunity to build science capital in both children and adult audiences, again supporting the regional STEM provision in the West Midlands.

Why Did They Receive a Small Grant?

The project targeted the inner-city wards in Wolverhampton that are in the top percentile for deprivation with over 50% children in the area affected by poverty or situations of deprivation, 65% BAME and 30% ESL residents. Wolves Play presented an insightful project with a sound strategy to help children and parents in the local community engage in STEM in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. Similarly, the sessions provided the community with much-needed activity and the means to come together in a safe space.

Background

Trinity High School and Sixth Form Centre is a 13-18 co-educational academy school located in central Redditch.

Challenge

Students at Trinity High School have a keen interest in STEM Learning which is limited by the resources and funding available to the school. This project transforms a dilapidated Art & Design room into a state-of-the-art STEM room. The room will be equipped with computers and CAD/CAM & machinery to provide a platform for ICT, Science and Mathematics where students can work on a range of projects which develop core STEM skills and apply their learning to real world scenarios.

What impact has it made?

The project will enhance the teaching of the STEM curriculum, expand their after school STEM activities and use the room as a hub to provide opportunities for the teaching of STEM to students in other local middle and primary schools as well as the wider community – ultimately raising the profile and importance of STEM in the workplace and showcase a wide range of potential careers available to young people within the area.

Why did they receive a small grant?

Trinity High School demonstrated clearly the impact the funding would make not only on their school but other schools and communities within the wider area. Their proposal was carefully considered and highlighted the importance of STEM learning within their school, referencing previous projects and initiatives they have delivered to encourage students to consider the opportunities of pursuing STEM subjects and careers.

We are delighted to have received a grant from Millennium Point. This has ensured that students at Trinity will have the best possible opportunities to experience STEM in real-world scenarios and will support our drive to open up life chances to all students, regardless of their backgrounds. It has also allowed us to offer a more diverse and immersive STEM curriculum to not only our students but will help us inspire younger students from local schools to get involved with STEM, and consider at as a real option for future employment.

Lucy Green, Director of Sciences Faculty, Trinity High School and Sixth Form

Background

Great Bridge Primary School is a large KS1 & KS2 primary with 500 students located in Tipton.

Challenge

Great Bridge was seeking to enhance their computing curriculum within the school – upskilling the computer literacy of students and get more of them engaged in computing as a subject and possible career path. The school were limited by the resources they had available which included very old equipment and outdated and limited software programmes to teach with. The Millennium Point Trust Grant funded 17 Lego WeDo Sets and the children have learnt to build physical lego models including tilt and movement sensors and motors.

What impact has it made?

The project made a significant impact on the students at the school. Great Bridge Primary have been able to deliver an enhanced curriculum with the resources purchased via the grant becoming a staple of their education. Engagement in computer science has increased significantly with many students citing it as a favourite lesson. Students have been able to develop not only their core computer skills but problem-solving, team working and oracy skills. Similarly, the school has reported much stronger enthusiasm among students for STEM subjects as a direct result of the project.

Why did they receive a small grant?

The project had a clear focus and demonstrated a sound strategy for enhancing STEM learning at the school. The school laid out obtainable objectives and a carefully measured approach for what they wanted to deliver and how. Enhancing the computer science resources within the school has had a significant impact on students perception towards STEM learning and STEM as a career.

We are incredibly excited about the prospect of teaching Lego coding and control to our KS2 pupils and believe it will enhance our Computing and Science teaching in an extremely positive and long-term way. Without the small grant from Millenium Point, this project would have been impossible due to the current funding available to schools however with their support we can inspire our children and give them a fantastic learning opportunity that will help them develop lifelong skills and understanding in the area of STEM subjects.

Judith Bedford, Head Teacher, Great Bridge Primary School

Background

Ark Tindal is a KS1 & 2 primary schools for children aged 3 – 11 in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. They are part of the Ark Schools Network following their transition in 2012.

Challenge

The school is seeking to enhance their STEM curriculum by transforming a disused outdoor space into an outdoor science area. The area would support biology sessions, from identifying plants to studying bug habitats and pond dipping. Observing how seeds and bulbs grow into plants. Identify appliances that run on electricity, construction electrical circuits using, buzzers, lamps and motors. Planning different types of scientific methods and processes to answer questions, recognising and controlling variables. Similarly, the science area would have a renewable zone where the children can learn about power in the context of the environment.

What impact has it made?

The Science area enhances key learning in KS1 & 2 STEM subjects through a creative space outside where students can see the practical applications of what they are learning in the classroom environment. It also gives the school a vibrant outdoor green pace where children can learn about the importance of sustainability and the environment around them, some of whom will not have access to green spaces otherwise.

Why did they receive a small grant?

The project provides the school with resources and opportunities outside of the classroom for children to engage in STEM in a meaningful way. The school’s green agenda of teaching sustainability, renewable energy and demonstrating the practical impact through the outdoor area gives pupils an understanding of the importance of sustainable energy. This understanding has the potential to impact the immediate community of Balsall Heath, and the wider community of the West Midlands.

We are delighted to have been awarded the Millennium Point Charitable Trust grant, as it will enable us to enrich the lives of our pupils through our vision of a STEM is driven learning environment.  Over time, we envisage this benefitting the community as a whole and not just pupils attending our school.  Throughout our curriculum, which is tailored to our pupils and their life experiences both now and in the future, we want them to understand that renewable energy and energy conservation is becoming increasingly important in everyday life as fossil fuel reserves start to wane.  Through our science garden, we will entrench knowledge and appreciation of sustainable living in our pupils from an early age.

Ark Tindal Primary School

Background

Ahead Partnership is a leading social enterprise which works across the country to connect schools and children with employers to promote education and employability and raise awareness of STEM careers.

Challenge

The West Midlands is considered the largest hub for STEM and innovation outside of London. However, many schools in the region are in deprived areas and lack the resources to deliver anything more than the basic STEM curriculum. This results in a high percentage of students not being engaged in STEM education and a misrepresentation of STEM skills in the workforce. The project involves a week-long STEM festival (#STEMFestWM) involving employers and 250 young people drawn from secondary schools and FE colleges/sixth forms across the West Midlands. The festival aims to enthuse young people about STEM careers whilst they are still in education and build a stronger talent pipeline for the sector. The festival will showcase the career opportunities that exist and encourage young people to make subject and study choices that open up these opportunities.

What impact has it made?

The project impacted over 250 students and 16 secondary schools and 2 further education colleges across the week. For students, the events helped them gain an insight into the businesses and sectors available and how STEM subjects can set them up for a successful career. This can now influence the immediate choices that will be making about GCSE and post-16 study options.
Students have developed confidence through participating in the events and an understanding of how their learning links to specific roles and careers, alongside a suite of skills that will be valuable within the workplace such as listening and creative thinking skills.

The events facilitated connections between participating employers and between employers and schools and introduced a large number of new partners to Millennium Point.
Employers were able to learn from each other and develop new ideas around engagement with young people.

Why did they receive a small grant?

Ahead Partnership has an extensive portfolio of successes engaging with young people across the country in education and equipping them with skills and links to industry employers. STEMfestWM provided a much-needed platform for employers to link to schools and colleges in the region to enhance STEM learning and engage students in the prospect of STEM careers. Particularly, the project’s focus on building confidence with girls and young women to pursue STEM careers is a crucial step in tackling the diversity gap within STEM.

Working with Millenium Point Charitable Trust will help us increase the pool of younger entrants to STEM occupations and to support the growth potential of businesses by promoting and furthering understanding of STEM. Currently, too few young people have a concrete understanding of the opportunities that exist within the West Midlands region. Employers have a very valuable role to play in developing this understanding and bringing careers alive through direct interventions with young people. This project will bring together education and employers, to contribute to regeneration in Birmingham, resulting in a future workforce that has STEM, entrepreneurial and creative skills to build on the City’s heritage and legacy and benefit the public through new products, services, businesses, jobs and economic growth.

Stephanie Burras, Chief Executive, Ahead Partnership

Background

The Play House is a small theatre and education charity based inside Birmingham REP who specialise in engaging schools through educational and interactive performances.

Challenge

STEM education has a limited presence in the primary education curriculum. As a result children in the region are missing out on opportunities to engage in STEM learning in ways that ignite their passion and make them aware of the many careers and options available through STEM. Daughters of Invention is a drama and engineering education project originally created through a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious award.

After a successful first run in 2019, The Playhouse was seeking funds to bring the project to new schools in areas of deprivation and low aspiration in Birmingham and work with new female and BAME University of Birmingham engineers.  Their aim is to develop children’s interest with a particular emphasis on girls and children from marginalised backgrounds in engineering/STEM and increase their understanding of the part problem-solving, creative thinking and team-work plays in engineering.

What impact has it made?

The project was a significant success which benefited over 240 children in 8 KS2 classes across 5 schools. The project increased knowledge and understanding of engineering for primary school-aged pupils with a particular emphasis on providing role models for young girls to build their confidence and awareness of careers in engineering. Additionally, the project worked with the University of Birmingham and encouraged UoB students to build their confidence in taking part in STEAM public engagement – seeing it’s impact and value within education in the local area.

Why did they receive a small grant?

Educating STEM subjects in exciting ways is pivotal to early years education – when children are forming their personalities and interests that will define them for their future growth.  The Play House brought a wonderfully creative dimension to teaching engineering and breaking the misconceptions surrounding the fundamentals of the industry and the dominant stereotypes. The project itself was well constructed and targeted with an engaging strategy for raising awareness of engineering with primary years. Lastly, the focus on women in engineering will have a tremendous impact on closing the diversity gap in STEM subjects and will hopefully encourage a new wave of female engineers in the future.

Because of the grant from Millennium Point, The Play House is going to be inventing and creating with real-life engineers and KS2 children in Birmingham primary schools in 2020. Our STEM and drama project, Daughters of Invention, is coming back! Thanks to the Millennium Point Charitable Trust we are able to inspire a new cohort of children and their teachers.

We will be working a with our partners from the School of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Birmingham and a cohort of young engineers to develop children’s interest (particularly girls and children from BAME backgrounds) in engineering/STEM and increase their understanding of the part problem-solving, creative thinking and team-work play in engineering.

Juliet Fry, Creative Director, The Play House

Background

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are a 15-acre botanical garden situated in Edgbaston, and one of the most popular attractions for families in the region.

Challenge

Primary schools lack the resources and skills to provide laboratory style and specialist science learning experiences and research supports the importance of nurturing interest in science prior to secondary school and before known stereotypes fully develop. Sensational Science is a new, original interactive education workshop designed to enable school children to investigate plant DNA and undertake scientific experiments into the science behind plants in a laboratory-style session at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The aim is to inspire young people at this opportune time, generate an interest in science and scientific literacy and encourage the study of science/STEM subjects at school. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Birmingham & West Midlands, supported this collaboration to deliver Sensational Science, designed to engage children and the general public in science and to promote the chemical sciences and aims to benefit visitors of all ages to the Botanical Gardens.

What impact has it made?

The project provides practical experience of scientific investigation for KS1 and KS2 primary school pupils (aged 5-11 years) from inner-city schools in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Led by an award-winning education team, the project aims to deliver 35 sessions during 2019/20 to 1,000 pupils from primary schools in Birmingham and the West Midlands. The project demonstrates the practical application of STEM within a green space which elevates their knowledge in STEM in a fun and imaginative way.

Why did they receive a small grant?

The project works with inner-city schools, many of whom have a high population of students from deprived and marginalised backgrounds. The session-based workshops provide an exciting and innovative way to bring science to life for children in the vibrancy of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It also provides an opportunity for children to gain STEM knowledge in an outdoor setting, in a green space which many of them will not have access to otherwise.

We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded a small grant from Millennium Point Trust. As a direct result of this grant, we can deliver an exciting programme of bespoke workshops enabling school children to investigate plant DNA and undertake scientific experiments into the science behind plants in a laboratory-style workshop at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The funding will enable us to deliver a minimum of 35 workshops during the year 2019/20, and provide opportunities for up to 1,000 primary school children from Birmingham and West Midlands schools to ‘work scientifically’. We are especially delighted that this grant will help support the prohibitive costs of travel for up to 20 of our most deprived local schools, a cost we know to be a barrier to some of our closest inner-city schools. With your support, we are able to provide the additional benefit to schools of being able to access the Gardens in general -where they can stay for as long as they choose!

We would like to put on record our thanks to Millennium Point Trust for their support for our work and their hugely important commitment to developing the STEM agenda in this region.

Elizabeth Frostick, Development Director, Birmingham Botanical Gardens