CASE Clubs with Cadent Foundation: New Project To Inspire Young Engineers in Schools
Students at schools in London, Birmingham and Coventry are taking part in a new after-school project to help young people reach their full potential in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
Funded by a £100,000 grant from the Cadent Foundation, the CASE Clubs (Cadent Foundation After-School Science & Engineering) are being run by education and youth charity, City Year UK. By experimenting through engineering, the clubs are designed to bring STEM to life in a way that is accessible and exciting. Over the course of six weeks, students will engage in various hands-on activities such as building rockets and designing rollercoasters as a way of using problem-solving-based learning to explore key engineering themes.
As well as helping to improve academic performance, the clubs also help children develop essential life skills such as problem solving, self-confidence, positive decision-making, teamwork and communication. The sessions are run by near-peer City Year UK volunteer mentors (18-25 years) and employees from Cadent Gas will also support the mentors as STEM role models to help bring to life careers in engineering. Each student who takes part in the project will receive a British Science Association CREST Award, a nationally recognised scheme for student-led projects in STEM subjects.
Students at Tile Cross Academy took part in the pilot phase of the project earlier this year. The students clearly enjoyed the experience and had lots of positive comments about the projects. One Year 7 student said: “I enjoyed the STEM Club because it was fun. I liked making my own rocket. The sessions were funny and creative. I had a good time launching it and seeing how far it goes.”
Laura Meyrick, Director of Year 7 at Stoke Park School, said: “It has been such a phenomenal experience watching our young students grow during this STEM club. Our learners have grown in confidence, indulged in Science and have become leaders of their learning.” Meanwhile, a Year 7 pupil at the school said, “We asked if we could come to the club, friends had told us about it ….I don’t normally like science but this was good.” Stoke Park School also took part in the pilot phase of the CASE Clubs project, earlier in the year.
City Year UK Volunteer Mentor, Bart Stawera, said: “The STEM Club allowed me to practice my public speaking skills and gave me a platform to practice facilitating and delivering sessions to a group of students. It was brilliant seeing all the kids get stuck in and participate so well. The tasks were interesting, and engaging, the pupils were able to express themselves and at the same time gain interest in STEM activities.”
The CASE Clubs are being rolled out in 15 schools across the West Midlands and in London. Kevin Munday, Chief Executive at City Year UK said: “We’re extremely grateful to the Cadent Foundation for this funding which is helping us to tackle educational inequality and engage more children in creative STEM learning activities. Around 30% of children are growing up in poverty in the UK and too often, their prospects are linked to how much their family earns. By age 11, less than half of pupils entitled to free school meals reach the standards expected in reading, writing and maths. Children who participate in extracurricular activities perform better in school, build confidence and gain social skills, however children from deprived communities are three times less likely to participate in extracurricular activities compared to their wealthier peers.”
Julia Dwyer, Director of the Cadent Foundation, explains why it is important to invest in STEM education: “We are delighted to be able to support City Year with this exciting new project. As technologies continue to develop and create innovative job opportunities, we need to prepare to meet those needs. By investing in STEM education and exposing students to hands-on STEM experiences we will ensure that they have the skill sets needed to build the strong and sustainable communities of the future.
“Through the CASE Clubs young people will have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge, gain valuable insights into STEM careers and be better equipped to access opportunities to become the next generation of scientists, computer programmers, technicians and engineers.”
The Cadent Foundation is funded by local gas network Cadent, and has been established to support projects large and small that help people living in vulnerable situations and energy poor communities; protect and preserve the natural environment and support in creating a sustainable energy future for all. It was established in July 2019 with Cadent committing 1.25% of after-tax profits each year to the foundation. More information on the Cadent Foundation can be found at cadentfoundation.com.