RTC North chosen to propel STEM Club provision in County Durham 

RTC North has been chosen to be the STEM Club Champion for the County Durham and Tees Valley areas.

The Sunderland head-quartered business support organisation, which runs the STEM Ambassador Hub North East (covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley) forms part of a new, 22-strong, network responsible for helping teaching professionals inspire more pupils in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) subjects through out-of-timetable clubs.

The network has been set up by STEM Learning, the largest provider of STEM education and careers in the UK, following a grant from the Gatsby Foundation, and builds on the organisation’s popular STEM Club programme. As STEM Club Champion, RTC North will provide face-to-face support for teachers across County Durham & Tees Valley through regular workshops, that will help them start or develop existing, STEM subject clubs.

RTC North will work with secondary schools, as well as Sixth Form and FE Colleges, throughout the area, to deliver a programme of STEM club CPD (Continuing Professional Development) workshops and networking events. These will enable teachers and club leaders to share ideas and best practice, and also meet local STEM Ambassadors who can support their clubs. Teachers will gain access to a range of resources to help maximise the impact of their clubs.  Collectively, STEM Club Champions will target nearly 3,000 schools during the course of the programme.

Enrichment STEM clubs, which often run out-of-timetable, offer an enjoyable way to engage students with related subjects in an informal setting. The clubs are an important outlet to ignite new, or further students’, interest in STEM subjects through more imaginative and inventive teaching methods.  They allow students space to experiment, ask questions and tackle challenges of interest to them unconfined by the structures of the curriculum.

The workshops will cover themes such as how to start a STEM club and making an existing club thrive. Another important focus is enhancing careers knowledge and club leaders will be signposted to the support available from STEM Learning’s network of over 30,000 STEM Ambassadors, who together represent more than 2,500 employers.

RTC North plan to run several sessions over the coming months for schools who either currently run a science club at their school and need some new ideas or for schools who are interested in starting a STEM Club and don’t know where to start. The first session is planned for June in County Durham and will be repeated in the Tees Valley area later on in the year.

RTC North was chosen due to its strong connections with the local school community and experience of supporting and engaging with teachers.

Claire Willis, Education Relationship Manager, RTC North said; “We are delighted to have been chosen as a STEM Club Champion by STEM Learning. We fully understand how STEM Clubs can be an excellent way to engage pupils in a range of activities that schools do not have time to deliver within the school day. We will be working with all secondary schools in the County Durham and Tees Valley area, providing advice and guidance from the basics of setting up a STEM Club to advising on the types of activities that can be delivered. We will guide schools towards organisations that can help and offer hints and tips on engaging with local STEM industries through our STEM Ambassador programme.”

The significant expansion of the STEM Clubs programme comes as evidence from STEM Learning’s regular consultations with teachers identified widespread demand for local face-to-face support.  Over the next four years, STEM Learning intends to expand the STEM Club Champion network to offer support to both primary and secondary schools, across the UK.

Dr Alex Brown, STEM Support Programme Manager at STEM Learning said: “STEM clubs are individual to each school, and there is of course, no set formula. However, evidence from our teacher surveys and consultations, including those with no STEM Club experience, highlights a strong desire for face-to-face support at a local level to help them start, sustain and grow their clubs.

“Our STEM Club Champions will act as a hub in their patch and over the next four years deliver hundreds of workshops to drive growth and develop the STEM Club ‘ecosystem’ in their local area.  Our ambition is for every young person in the UK to get the chance to engage with a thriving STEM club and we thank Gatsby Foundation for its continued support.”

Ginny Page, Programmes Director at Gatsby Foundation said: “If we want to inspire the next generation of technicians, scientists and engineers we need to give young people experiences of STEM that are creative, practical and relevant to their interests. STEM Clubs are a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain these experiences, and it’s great that STEM Learning is helping teachers and technicians across the country establish thriving STEM Clubs in their schools”.

To fine out more visit www.stem.org.uk/stem-clubs/workshops, or sign-up to a workshop email (stemclubchampion@rtcnorth.co.uk)

For more information, please contact:

Victoria Dickson or Timmy Amoo at Third City on stemlearning@thirdcity.co.uk or on 07878 815308/ 07719 953 473

About STEM Learning

STEM Learning is a non-profit dedicated to raising young people’s engagement and achievement in STEM, increasing the numbers progressing in STEM studies and STEM-related careers. We are the largest provider of STEM education and careers support to schools, colleges and community groups working with young people across the UK, engaging with every secondary school in the UK. www.stem.org.uk 

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