Congratulations to STEM students in Sussex

Two events will take place this week that are very different but they have a nominal link and their shared theme is very significant for many people. The first event takes place on Wednesday in the House of Commons when a number of Parliamentary Committees are meeting. One of them is the Science and Technology Committee which sadly does not involve any Sussex MPs, so our local MPs will not be able to make a contribution or benefit from hearing the conversation. The subject for their meeting is “Diversity in STEM” so it will be very interesting to find out what they do focus on and what they will call for. There are clearly many elements in terms of STEM that need to be strengthened within the Government’s focus and actions so let us hope that the Committee raises some proposals. Two days later on Friday there is an event taking place in Harrogate which is the final competition from several events taking place across the UK and beyond. It will involve one school from Sussex which is very exciting. There were 10 Sussex schools that took part in our regional “FIRST LEGO League” a few months ago and two of them reached the Sussex final that was held at the end of January. The age of the people involved in this element is 9 to 16 but there are also other aspects within the scheme which provides activities for students from 4 years onwards. One of the judges for the Sussex event stated that

students are judged on an Innovation Project which they have to present, describing how it would impact them and those around them, as well as demonstrate the Lego robot that they have built to compete in the challenges at the end.

The competition is organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) which is a group that helps to organise the STEM Ambassadors across our Nation along with many other aspects that their Institution provides for industries such as ours. There are a number of people in Sussex involved in the IET, partly as a reflection of the strong focus from the Universities of Sussex and Brighton, both of which have promoted these elements certainly since I first arrived in Sussex over 40 years ago. There are also many people in Sussex who work or have worked in businesses that relate to STEM. The title of the Parliamentary Committee covers two of the themes of the STEM content, the other two are Engineering and Mathematics. Of course, STEM is part of every School and most Colleges and Universities across Sussex and the UK. The two Schools that reached the Sussex final were Harlands Community Primary School in Uckfield and Windlesham House School in Pulborough. The Windlesham team won the final and they will be representing us in the National final on Friday so let us hope they will win. It is very exciting that they have reached that position, and it is also very exciting that eight other Sussex Schools took part in the first stage of this event. Each school that took part will have added significant inspiration to their students and while the competition is only one small element of STEM it does help explain about Engineering and the other themes during the process. One of the judges in the process is Tim Carter who is a STEM Ambassador and along with his earlier comment he also stated:

I had an amazing time, seeing what all of the students had worked on. It never fails to amaze me what these young people come up with – they are so hugely skilled and creative!

It would be fantastic if all of our Sussex MPs would encourage their local schools to participate in this activity in the future. Sadly, there has not been many comments about STEM in Parliament from our local MPs in the last few months. The only two who raised it at all are Ministers and they were only responding to questions from other people. The most recent one came from Jeremy Quin at the beginning of the year working for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The question actually related to a Harrogate College that was an Army Foundation setting. Jeremy spoke about people in the MOD and stated

We have more than 1,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics—or STEM—representatives. We ensure that about 90% of all non-commissioned roles have the opportunity to take apprenticeships, which go right the way across new areas of skills, including STEM skills.

The other Sussex MP was Gillian Keegan who spoke about it when she was an education minister last Summer. Let us hope that some of our other Sussex MPs will take the time to speak up about STEM in the future.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Brighton & Hove, Education, Parliament and Democracy, STEM, Youth Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Congratulations to STEM students in Sussex

  1. Pingback: The Government is planning to promote STEM | ianchisnall

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