Royal Navy sails into the Bay to boost STEM learning for local schools

As Albert Einstein once said, “education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think” and school children across Fareham and Gosport have been given a major boost thanks to a new initiative, supported by engineers from the Royal Navy.

A team of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ambassadors from across the Royal Navy came together in Bay House School Sports Centre to assist the Gosport and Fareham Multi Academy Trust (GFM) with their first “Engineering Future Visions Event” aimed at highlighting the importance of STEM subjects to young people.

The new GFM initiative saw its first visitors with over 2500 school children from across the area taking part in a programme of interactive activities designed to encourage them to think how their STEM learning can influence their future careers.

During the two day event, the children had the opportunity to take part in a number of activities such as the HMS Queen Elizabeth Table Top Sphero Challenge which uses I-Pads and a form of computer coding.

We want students to have their eyes opened to the opportunities presented by STEM, and find out how their learning is relevant to their future careers.

Georgina Mulhall

The activity gets them to navigate and control plastic orbs around a track which teaches them how to use computer coding in a useful and practical application.

Clarice Still, Year 9 from Brune Park Community School, said: “Today has been really good – we’ve been able to see everything here.

“It's fun to experience things like this and find out more about STEM. I’m seriously thinking about doing something for my GCSEs – probably engineering, I just find it really interesting.”

They also got the chance to design the most efficient gas turbine blade and test it on an interactive model, build and test their own pneumatic logic circuits to understand how valves work and also witness practical demonstrations and activities around 3D printers, a nuclear reactor lightbox and a Meccano style building kit which allowed the children to create practical components such as bridges or cars.

GFM’s head, Georgina Mulhall was keen to stress the importance around the event and said “We want students to have their eyes opened to the opportunities presented by STEM, and find out how their learning is relevant to their future careers.

“Gosport is an incredibly rich place for the STEM industry, so it’s important that our young people feel inspired by the place they live.”

Incorporating schools from across the two boroughs, the GFM encourages the children to work in groups to solve problems and brings together 11 associate schools who are all working towards increasing the uptake of STEM subjects which has declined in recent years.

The national shortage of young people entering the engineering profession has been identified as a national concern and the cross government, Year of Engineering campaign is looking to showcase that a career in engineering is exciting, rewarding and creative.

Coordinating the Royal Navy’s involvement in the event, Warrant Officer Second Class Ure from HMS Sultan said “Attending this event ahead of the STEM Centre launch later on this term is a massive honour and the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people”. A passionate STEM ambassador, he further added, “I’ve been involved in STEM in this area for three years now and the Royal Navy places a huge emphasis on STEM outreach as we look to inspire the next set of engineers for the future in this, the Year of Engineering.”