Every year, the Millennium Point Charitable Trust gives out grants of up to £20,000 to support science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education projects in the West Midlands. Applications are now open for 2021. Meadows Primary School and Resource Base received a grant in 2020 to transform dilapidated school grounds into an engaging outdoor science area. This is their story.
Who’s running the project?
The Meadows Primary School and Resource Base is a three-form entry primary school in Northfield, Birmingham. The children are aged between four and 11 years with 45% of the pupils being disadvantaged children who receive free school meals and grow up in challenging circumstances. Additionally, 24% of children have Special Educational Needs (SEN) requiring specialist supported learning.
What’s it all about?
The existing woodland area around the school has become run down and unusable due to limited school funding. Apart from a small playground, there are no outdoor areas, such as playing fields, other than this dilapidated area. The grant from Millennium Point Charitable Trust will fund the development of a pond and wildlife area within the school grounds. The objective is to enable the children to immerse themselves in the local environment while learning about biological and life sciences outside of the traditional classroom environment. This will prove especially important for those children with learning difficulties, enabling the school to provide more dynamic lessons using the external spaces to better suit their learning needs. The funds will also help pay for den building kits, wellington boots and all-in-ones for the children – an outlay that many families simply can’t afford.
Who will benefit?
This project will benefit the whole school, including the children in the resource base (which is integrated within the mainstream school), who have speech and language disorders. They sometimes have additional needs such as dyslexia, autism, ADHD, physical difficulties, sensory impairments or social and emotional development.
What they said:
Alex Morris, the school’s science coordinator: “Science is a major part of what we do in every single curriculum and year group, and this project will have a huge impact on the children in our care. Due to the parents’ financial constraints, the children have very limited experiences of habitats beyond their own street. They don’t experience what a lot of children do, like walks in the countryside.
“The grant will enable the children to develop their vocabulary of plants and animals beyond the classroom walls. Developing this project would benefit every year group and vastly impact the children’s progress and attainment.
“Due to home circumstances, many children within the school have mental health problems, so they need a great deal of emotional support, and providing an area for calm reflection when they feel overwhelmed would vastly benefit the children in our care.
“We also hope this project will inspire and encourage the traditionally marginalised groups, such as the children in our resource base, to pursue STEM careers in the future; opening up a range of possibilities and develop the children’s confidence to pursue these careers in the future.”
When’s it all happening?
It is hoped that the wildlife area will be ready in Spring 2021; the pool will be created by the Summer, pandemic restrictions pending.
Can grant funding unlock your STEM project?
There’s still time to apply for funding from the Millennium Point Charitable trust this year. Applications must be submitted by 5 pm on 30th November 2020. To apply for the Millennium Point Charitable Trust Small Grants programme 2021, visit: www.millenniumpoint.org.uk/grants/apply
Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with @MillenniumPoint. Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning events venue in the Eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from our commercial activity are invested by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands.