S4TP Winter Regional Round-Up

As we leave 2019 behind and head into a new decade, here is a quick update from our regional Programme Coordinators to let you know what’s been happening in their regions:

North England update – Claire Fitton

The last three months have been busy with three Big Ideas Days at Bishop Young Academy, The Halifax Academy and Dixons Kings Academy.  Once again, the 380 students involved didn’t disappoint, and came up with some amazing Big Ideas, for example ‘Fire Sticks’ to measure the temperature of moorland to prevent moorland fires.

New and existing mentors from Mears, Tarmac and IGEM have thrown themselves into the Big Ideas Days and continue to support the students through their development sessions.

The new year will bring new mentors from Northern Gas Networks and new ideas from more students in both Yorkshire and the North East of England, and I cannot wait – bring on 2020!

Scotland update – Kate Kirkwood

The Big Ideas programme in Scotland has been off to a flying start this year, beginning with two training sessions in October for teachers and business mentors from Tarmac, SGN and new partners in this region, Mears. They brought their experiences and their ‘have a try’ attitudes, even when I asked them to stack cups using only rubber bands and string! [You’ll need to join us as a mentor to find out what I’m talking about!]

We have hosted two Big Ideas Days so far; with 80 S1 students at Castlebrae Community High School (Edinburgh), supported by three fantastic mentors from Tarmac, Mears and SGN; and 130 S2 students at Bannockburn High School (Stirling), supported by six mentors, with ideas ranging from tree planting machinery that used old plastic bottles as tree guards to a solar powered car that recycles rainwater!

December has been a month of development sessions and planning for the year ahead. I can’t wait to meet the students at Kirkintilloch High School (Glasgow) in the new year and find out what Big Ideas they will come up with!

Hope you all had a peaceful festive period and wishing you a happy new year when it comes!

South-East England update – Erel Onojobi

What a terrific couple of months we’ve had – multiple teacher and mentor training sessions, plus three Big Ideas Days in London, finishing up for the holiday season with an invigorating day at a new London school for us this year, Ark Evelyn Grace Academy.

We’ve also been working hard with our partners to recruit and train lots of mentors from Tarmac and SGN. They have supported us at Big Ideas Days at Plashet Girls School, Quwaat-Ul-Islam Girls’ School and some development sessions at those schools. The mentors have been really engaged, enthusiastic and added lots of value to the experience of the students.

After the holidays we’ll be springing into action with 7 more Big Ideas Days, in London and in Portsmouth. We can’t to see what the rest of the South East regional students have to offer!


West England update – Sarah Milburn

It’s been non-stop Big Ideas Days in the West Midlands!  We had a target of 7 schools, which we reached, and we’ve now done the Big Ideas Days at all of them, all of whom are previous school partners – John Henry Newman Catholic College, Alderbrook School, Arden Academy, Perton Middle School, Heath Park School, The Coleshill School and Hodge Hill College.

Development sessions have started at most of the schools, and students are being supported by mentors from Tarmac and IGEM.  We’ve worked with 642 students in the West Midlands so far!

It was a lovely surprise to be contacted by another previous partner school who wanted to join again this year, and so we’re looking forward to heading back to Colton Hills Community School in Wolverhampton in January, our 8th West Midlands school!

We’ve also trained up our first mentors in Bristol, from Tarmac, and welcomed our first Bristol school on board – Merchants’ Academy.  We hope to bring on a second Bristol school in the new year – exciting times ahead for the new decade!