Parents Break the Barriers to STEM with Millennium Point funding

Published 08/12/2020
3 minutes Read

Every year, the Millennium Point Charitable Trust Small Grants programme 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.

Here is one of the many projects that the programme has funded in 2020:

‘BREAKING THE BARRIERS TO STEM’

Who’s running the project?
The project is managed by a parent’s voluntary organisation in partnership with King Solomon International Business School – Birmingham’s first all-through (4-19) Christian free school, which specialises in international business and entrepreneurship. The Parent School Partnership (PSP) was established in 2015 by parents of pupils who attend the school. To this end, PSP activities have been by donation of time, gifts and resources from willing parents and community partners – and now Millennium Point.

What’s it all about?
An inner-city school in Birmingham with a high proportion of BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minorities) pupils, its ambition is to ‘break barriers’ and increase STEM engagement across the entire pupil population, whatever their gender or ethnicity, through a series of onsite activities, workshops, clubs, as well as STEM-related off-site trips. For a lot of children at the school, this will be their only chance to experience this kind of specialist learning in addition to the national curriculum and the aim is for them to be immersed into the world of STEM; give them opportunities that they otherwise would not have to boost STEM participation and be excited about the possibilities of careers in STEM.

The PSP and school has identified gaps in the children’s exposure to STEM learning and wants 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.

The project will include the following:

  • 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 learn 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 the optimum climate for growth etc.
  • Equipment – for a variety of science and maths experiments, including one which will measure the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels in classrooms and outside areas.
  • Excursions – a range of STEM-related school trips, including Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust; Planetarium at Thinktank; Jaguar Land Rover Wolverhampton; Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Who does it benefit?
The aim is everyone at the school, from ages 4-19, a total of around 1,200 pupils.

What they said: Jean McLeod, lead chair of the Parent School Partnership, said: “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 these activities without the barrier of cost.”

When’s it all happening?
Work on the QR codes and sensory garden began in September. Other projects will be delivered and completed across the school year.

About grant funding from Millennium Point
Applications for 2021 grant funding have now closed. For information on the Millennium Point Charitable Trust Grants programme 2022, please visit: millenniumpoint.org.uk/grants

(Images in order: Featured Image – Faith Smith and Dylan Binns, King Solomon International Business School,  Pupils testing our the QR codes in their Sensory Garden, Abbie Vlahakis, Millennium Point CEO with Jean McLeod, Head of PSP, standing by the Sensory Garden.)


Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on FacebookTwitterInstagram 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. 

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