St Mark’s receives prestigious STEM grant

The Science Faculty is proud to announce that St Mark’s School have been selected to take part in the VEX Robotics and Girls into STEM programme, sponsored by the National Grid. The programme aims to encourage uptake of the challenging STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) amongst females.

Currently, women account for just 6% of the UK’s current engineering workforce and initiatives like this one, sponsored by the National Grid, are geared towards raising the profile of STEM subjects and encouraging their uptake amongst female students.

The St Mark’s team comprised six girls from Years 9 and 10, who worked together to deliver a presentation on the topic “What is Engineering?” Tia, Evie, Freddie, Rosie and Essi from Year 10 and Donna from Year 9 created their own film presentation. The film footage included a personal story of a student who had used modern technology in order to overcome her hearing impairment. The competition’s official judges were impressed by the girls’ hard work and creativity, putting them through to next stages of the competition in January 2016.

As a direct result of their achievement, the school received a robotics kit worth up to £1,000 that the team must now use to assemble and program a robotic claw. The claw must be able to pick up and throw a small ball into a basketball net and will be showcased alongside the other entries in Bristol next year.

The competition is just one example of the school’s continued dedication to providing fantastic opportunities and wider experiences for all its students. The girls have shown great potential and will continue to receive encouragement from the school as they enter the next stage of the competition and hope to secure a place at the National Finals at The Big Bang Fair in March 2016.

Mr Ash congratulated the team on their innovative competition entry: “Learning is about having fun whilst exploring new ideas. Our team of STEM students have captured the essence of how technology and science can help to overcome a personal challenge or disability. We are delighted that they have done so well and look forward to the next stage of the competition.”

Jonathan Richardson, Education and Skills Specialist at National Grid, commented: “As well as encouraging female students to consider careers in STEM areas, involvement with VEX Robotics equips participants with the key transferable skills that all industry is looking for – Communication, Team Work, Time Management, Project Management.”