The 2019/20 Big Ideas programme has begun, so here is a quick update from our regional Programme Coordinators to let you know what’s happening in their regions:
North England update – Claire Fitton
It is exciting to start this year’s programme in the North England region with both new business partners (Mears Group and Kongsberg Automotive) and a new area (North-East England). Mears and Kongsberg join our other partners Tarmac and IGEM. With seven schools already signed up in Yorkshire (Bishop Young Academy, The Halifax Academy, Dixons Kings Academy, St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College, Outwood Academy Freeston, Royds School) and two to confirm in the North East, things are moving quickly with schools preparing for their Big Ideas Days and mentors signing up.
Preparations are being made for teacher and mentor training in each area, the Regional Final is booked for 13th May at the University of Leeds and I cannot wait to see what Big Ideas the students come up with this year.
Scotland update – Kate Kirkwood
It’s been all go up here in Scotland now that the schools are back, and the October holidays are now on the horizon. I’m really excited to be working with three new schools in the region; Castlebrae Community High School (Edinburgh), Bannockburn High School (Stirling), and Kirkintilloch High School (Glasgow). We are continuing to work with partners Tarmac, IGEM and SGN, and are pleased to also be working with Mears, who have worked with S4TP schools in other regions in previous years.
Training sessions for teachers and mentors are scheduled for the last two weeks in October and then we are straight into Big Ideas Days in October, November and then a wee break over Christmas before our third Big Ideas Day in January.
It’s shaping up to be an excellent year and I can’t wait for the students to get started on their amazing Big Ideas!
South-East England update – Erel Onojobi
The South-East England region is going through a transition period as I get up and running as the new Programme Coordinator here. Nevertheless, we are looking to work with a number of previous partner schools, with the first Big Ideas Day of the academic year in less than 2 weeks! Castle View Academy (Portsmouth), Quwaat-Ul-Islam Girls’ School (London), Plashet School (London) and Oaks Park High School (Ilford) are all back on board. We also aim to secure a couple of schools south of the river in London as well as firm up our final Portsmouth spot.
West England update – Sarah Milburn
It’s been a busy start to the programme year, as always! This year we are looking to work with three schools in the Bristol area for the first time, so I’ve been busy approaching schools there. In the West Midlands, we’ve got our regular partner schools back on board, which is wonderful! Confirmed for this year so far are John Henry Newman Catholic College, Alderbrook School, Arden Academy, Perton Middle School, Heath Park School and Hodge Hill College.
We’ve already had our first Big Ideas Day of the season too! We had a fantastic time at John Henry Newman Catholic College last week, over 100 Year 8 students in the room, supported by three experienced mentors from our national partner Tarmac, and co-facilitated by our new regional Associate Jeremy Newman (long-time supporter of the programme!). I’m looking forward to seeing how their Big Ideas develop.
We have two Teacher and Mentor Training sessions booked in, both in October, to be held at Tarmac’s Head Office in Solihull. We should have a nice mix of previous and new mentors on board from Tarmac and IGEM, and I’m already looking forward to the next Big Ideas Day at Perton Middle School in 3 weeks’ time!