worth of debt if I can’t get a job afterwards,’ he reasons. Students who have talents and interests beyond the

'For several years, our school has taken part in the Greenpower Electric Car Challenge. This requires students, guided by their teachers and an engineering mentor, to design, build and race an electric car. As any racing team will tell you, success takes

dedication, time, resources – and cash! Prize money is a welcome source of income, but students regularly fundraise through cake sales or non-uniform days. The team has also been supported by local and national organisations, through sponsorship and donations of materials and expertise. For example, Palmer Sport provided the initial set of batteries and made their race track at Bedford Autodrome available for testing; the local Tesco gave £300 to get us started; the Rotary Club gives us funding each season; a metal fabrication business provides aluminium and welding; a boat-building company supplies fibre glass mouldings; Bedford Bodyshop helps with spray painting; 3M gives tapes; Smart Hosting UK hosts the team’s website. As well as financial planning and fundraising,

scientic are turning their back on the arts. But our economy requires innovation and this requires people who think creatively. To quote an article from The Washington Post (2012), ‘A STEM, without its bloom, quickly withers in the forest of everday life.’ And it appears that some withering has begun. The number of STEM graduates is increasing, but rather

than welcoming these highly-qualied applicants with open arms, industry is raising its collective eyebrows. According to the 2014 Cultural Learning Alliance report,

41 of employers were dissatised with school leavers’ problem-solving skills, and, contrary to predictions, their new workforce is not ‘rounded, grounded and ready to work’. Having said they wanted a STEM-educated workforce, it now appears that industry didn’t mean to the exclusion of all else, including the arts, humanities and languages. In response, the House of Commons Culture, Media

partnerships Turn to p45 to read


other ways in which Mark Rutherford

students experience a range of cross-curricular STEAM activities. Naturally, Design Technology and resistant materials support the core part of the project, where electronics, mechanics, aerodynamics, design plans, project leadership skills, use of equipment and materials and health and safety considerations are vital. But other members of the team contribute creative skills: graphic design students deal with the aesthetics of the cars; IT students manage the team’s website; students from food technology are involved in catering for events; media studies students get involved in scripting a 15-minute race commentary. Factors that are key to sustaining a successful

project are: a leadership team that promotes the value of extra-curricular activities; Heads of Department willing to share ownership of the project; a mentor who commits on a weekly basis to providing expertise; staff responsible for engaging with local businesses to secure support; students who understand the value of the skills they are learning. And, of course, success breeds success – getting better and winning tournaments is what drives the passion of everyone involved and keeps us participating year after year.' Sam Baker, Head of Business Studies, Mark Rutherford School, Bedford (1,236 pupils)

Greenpower is all about inspiring children to consider a career in engineering. Schools can enter a team into one of two categories: IET Formula Goblin (9-11 years) or IET Formula 24 (11-16 years). Visit

18 SPRING 2016 FundEd

School benefits from working with local companies.

and Sports Committee has recently recommended that the arts should be awarded the same importance as any other subjects. Moreover, they have proposed that schools should not be considered excellent unless their pupils receive

a thorough grounding in the arts. And, handily for the acronym-generating department,

wherever it may be, the ‘A from arts has been welcomed into the fold, and STEM has been amended to STEAM. With STEAM, an opportunity is presenting itself to

reduce the articial divide between sciences and the arts and humanities, and end the polarisation that has made children choose a route which limits their career options. By allowing them to combine art with engineering,

design with production, or sculpture with mathematics, the hope is that, not only can we interest our children in qualications in the subjects often seen as ‘too hard’, but we can produce a more creative, skilled and innovative workforce.

Lighting the spark The STEAM movement is gaining momentum. It has particularly taken off in the US where three middle schools have been set up, named iSTEAM3D, to focus on creativity, innovation and design through project-based activities. In the UK, events such as the STEAM Hack – where 40

leading artists, teachers and scientists were locked in the Science Museum for 24 hours and asked to Hack our school curriculum for radical, practical ways to introduce STEAM in schools – are drawing attention. Events such as this are a valuable way of exploring the

subject, however, the classrooms of the UK are where the innovation is really needed. But schools nd it hard to wedge more creativity into their days. ‘Everybody says we need to engage children in primary, but primary schools are


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