Big Bang Near Me driving the STEM agenda in the North East

The Big Bang Near Me is a truly inclusive programme, reaching from Berwick in the north of the region to the southern tip of Tees Valley, drawing on the enthusiasm, excitement and STEM commitment in the North East region in order drive the STEM agenda forward whilst pulling together the exciting but often disparate elements of STEM provision.

Carol Harrison, Big Bang Near Me North East programme manager, talks about the aim and the impact the programme has had on populating STEM education in the region in the next few lines.


Tell us about the Big Bang Near Me programme in the time it takes to make the perfect slice of toast?

The Big Bang near me programme brings the excitement of the national Big Bang down to a local level, giving schools the opportunity to showcase their own STEM projects at a regional Big Bang near me Fair.  The programme also supports schools and colleges to hold their own Big Bang @ school events in order to excite, inspire and inform students about the opportunities available to them if they choose to study STEM subjects at higher levels.  Students get to meet and interact with STEM role models from local industry giving them a far better understanding of the possible career opportunities available to them both on a regional and national level.  


What is RTC North’s involvement with the Big Bang programme?

Throughout its 30-year history RTC has always understood the importance of working with North East schools to inspire the next generation and improve the talent pipeline both on a regional and national level.  We do this with a number of programmes such as the STEM Ambassador programme, the Mentoring programme and over the past three years with “Bring it On” and the Big Bang.  We work collaboratively with all our industry partners to raise the profile of STEM sectors in the region and allow young people to understand the real opportunities available to them should they choose to study STEM subjects at higher levels.


Why is the programme worth considering by North East schools and why should they get involved?

Running a Big Bang at school event can enhance the STEM curriculum by showing students how their studies in Science, Technology, Maths and Design Technology subjects apply to the real world of work, it can add context to their learning.  There is also an opportunity for schools to build relationships with local industry by inviting them in to take part in events.  The Big Bang competition is an opportunity for students to showcase their projects on a regional and national level as well as helping them develop real project management skills.  There is also a full suit of tools and resources available for schools considering running a Big Bang event and best of all there are no costs involved.


How are the Big Bang Near Me events contributing populating the STEM agenda in the North East?

A Big Bang near me event is exciting and fun and has the potential to influence young people in terms of showing them what a career in STEM could really look like. Children get to meet people who work in STEM industries and see the products they make, which can have a real impact in terms of changing perceptions and inspiring them to want to be part of it.  We have many young people in the North East who have no idea what they want to do when they leave education so attending a Big Bang near me event can give them direction and encourage them to study STEM subjects at higher levels.  STEM skills are vital for organisations in the North East to grow, innovate and to compete in a global market. Our young people are our future and it is so important we give them all the information they need to make informed decisions about their future, a big Bang near me event can help us do this.


What impact has the programme had on the region so far?

When running any event RTC takes evaluation and impact very seriously so we have robust systems in place to measure impact.  At the last Big Bang near me event which was held at the Beacon of light in October, we had 2500 children attend and we carried out evaluations both before and after the event to give an indication of the impact the event had on them.  Combined results from the pre-event questionnaire, assessing the students’ baseline knowledge about what people working in Science, Technology & Engineering do, reflect negatively against the EBM 2017 national data set, indicating low levels of understanding about what people working in all three areas do. In comparison to the pre-event data, the post-event questionnaire results indicate the event had a very positive impact on increasing students’ knowledge and perceptions about what people working in Science, Technology, and Engineering do. Respondents’ more informed post-event results show:

  • 80% increase in their knowledge and understanding about what people working in Science do.
  • 125% increase in their knowledge and understanding about what people working in Technology do.
  • 154% increase in their knowledge and understanding about what people working in Engineering do. 
  • The full impact report is available on the Bring it On website at


For more information visit or call 0191 516 4400.

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