Monifieth High School
Pupils from across all year groups regularly congregate in their classrooms to work on a range of competitions, showcase events and outreach opportunities. These include S6 and S3 pupils leading a station at Mission Possible, a STEM initiative for P7 pupils across Angus, S2 pupils running the primary K’NEX Challenge at their cluster primaries, S5/6 pupils leading S3 pupils in the F1 In Schools Competition & S2 pupils leading Seaview Primary in VEX Robotics.
In addition, 2 S6 recipients of Arkwright Engineering Scholarships are now mentoring thirteen S4 pupils who are working on their submissions to this sponsorship opportunity.
Senior pupils appreciate the formal recognition the SCQF Level 6 Young STEM Leader Award offers as it acknowledges their personal contribution and is also a useful addition to their qualification portfolio.
Time management has been identified as an issue for pupils to improve on when planning events and activities, with all realising this often takes much longer than initially expected. Angela had anticipated this might well happen but chose to stand back and let the young people reorganise when they themselves realised their original timeline had been too tight.
The pupils recognise that they are on a learning curve and that being an effective Young STEM Leader is so much more than just having a strong interest in STEM. Team working has highlighted their different personalities and how these can sometimes present challenges especially when under pressure. They also increasingly appreciate the need for careful preparation and rehearsal, anticipation of potential glitches, and the benefits of pushing themselves to sometimes work outside their comfort zone.
A survey of S4 pupils revealed that some felt Health & Beauty and the Services Industry were both underrepresented in the school’s STEM offer.
This has since been addressed by the setting up of enterprise initiatives, for example a Nail Bar will be available at the Christmas Fayre and subsequently in school, being timetabled as an option for S4-6 pupils starting next session. With financial support provided by Prince’s Trust, those involved are undergoing training and developing a business plan that includes identifying a competitive charge for the service. Barista training is now also available and will allow pupils to receive a City and Guilds Level 2 Professional Barista Qualification. Pupils will run this café business in school and at local community events, starting in May 2020.
Current S1 pupils have been on the receiving end of activities whilst in P7, and have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn from those close to them in age as they ‘speak the same language’ and ‘get them’.
They themselves now aspire to share their own STEM knowledge with primary school pupils. This is very likely to happen next year when such opportunities are moving from a lunchtime club to a timetabled option. This integration into the teaching day is recognition of the considerable benefits the sharing of STEM interests has both to deliverer and recipient.
Angela was particularly keen to be involved in the pilot programme as she feels it formalises and recognises what is already happening in school but also extends and challenges the pupils.
She suggests that by requiring them to reflect and record their interactions they become more aware of both their strengths and development needs.
Word about the programme is spreading in the local authority and Angela has been asked to share her knowledge and experience in an introductory presentation with her colleagues at an upcoming Angus Council PT Technologies Inservice Day. This is followed by an optional Training Session on the same day, allowing staff to develop knowledge and understanding to go back and pitch the qualification to the timetabling teams within their own schools. Following on from this Angela, as a Tutor Assessor, will continue to offer support to teachers offering the programme in their school.