The iSTEM+ approach

`iSTEM+’ (read “i-STEM Plus”) stands for `integrated STEM education including more subjects, skills and people’. It is an organisational tool to support a whole-school approach to embedding joined-up STEM education & skills in the curriculum for all learners 5-19. Such schools are called `Skilful Schools’ and they work with other partners including nearby schools, parents and employers in `iSTEM+ local clusters’ providing cross-curricular opportunities for the development of both STEM and employability skills.  An online presentation of the aproach by Dr. Tony Houghton is hereThe accompanying pdf file `The iSTEM+ approach' gives a full description of the approach.  The purpose of this iSTEM+ online community is to support each other in using the approach to ensure all learners 5-19 have access to a world-class technological education to equip them with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to play a full part in an increasingly technological world.  Please contribute to the community by telling others what you are doing, sharing information and raising questions.  For a great example of a Skilful School in practice see what Gomer Junior school in Gosport is doing every Wednesday morning with all classes.  Their gSTEM curriculum was visited by DfE Minister, Caroline Dinenage, at the end of last year.  There is a YouTube video made by Year 9 media studies students at nearby Bay House School.  These are both founder partners in the Gosport iSTEM+ cluster.  An update on iSTEM+ progress is also posted here.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) is now promoting the approach in schools via its network of Schools' Liaison Officers.  Their invitation is in the accompanying pdf file.   Discussions are now underway on developing a coordinated approach with the IET, the Careers & Enterprise Company's Enterprise Coordinators, the Tomorrow's Engineers' network of Employer Support Managers and the STEM Learning contract holders.  A supporting paper is at `Regenerating UK technological education'.  A proposal to involve local employers and Local Enterprise Partnerships in developing school-based centres to support local iSTEM+ initiatives is in the paper `iSTEM+ Innovation Hubs June 2016'.  The `Skilful School A4' file is designed to colour printed on card, which can be used to create a 3D model representing the components of a Skilful School.  Written evidence submitted to the House of Commons Science & Technology Select Committee is online here, and our letter to its Chair, Nicola Blackwood, is in the accompanying pdf file.  A presentation about the iSTEM+ approach used at the Tokamak Energy seminar at Harwell in April 2016 is in the `Tokamak Energy Slides April 2016' file.    

The key thing in the iSTEM+ approach is that completely open-source and any school, organisation or even Government can adopt it and make it work.  Post Brexit it is even more important that the education community responds to the skills needs of our industries.





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Edward at Hocke...

From Edward Vine 

iSTEM + at Hockerill Anglo European College:

A great deal of work has been happening at the College and I attach more details should anyone like to know more of what characterises iSTEM+ at Hockerill.


The first academic year (2015 -2016), of possibly the first UK pilot of the iSTEM plus approach at KS3 in year 7 was completed at Hockerill Anglo European College in July.

It was highly successful. Development continues next year to include use of the BBC micro bit.

The course is embedded within the normal school day, as timetabled lessons.

The year course focused on three main themes:

  1. Hands on Projects: Building Gliders, Rockets and Gliders
  2. Social implications and impacts of:  
    1. Journeying into Space
    2. Development of the Aviation Industry
    3. Civil engineering and research: particularly on the spread of disease, the sewage treatment, the provision of clean drinking water and  removal of pollutants from the aquatic environment.
  3. Associated Science, Maths, Tec theory, experimentation, measurement and analysis.

The pilot was built upon several bases:

·         2 years of work in DT classes using online CAD to test, race and build Dragsters.

·         4 years of interdisciplinary teaching and project based learning structured around the     NASA Mission X "Train Like an Astronaut" (supported by UKSA and ESA) and the NASA Youth Arts Project.

·         Highly successful Integrated STEM courses that have been developed in the USA over the last 15 years and are currently running in 1500 schools across America

·         Input from the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme adding both a "Social Impact" dimension and a pedagogy based around the IB Learner Profile.

·         iSTEM and Mission X Enrichment Days

·         Active measures to include parents.

  •  Use of Google Classrooms and other online software that allows:
  •  Teachers to monitor and guide learning
  • Students access to a learning platforms that provide “24 x 7” advice, the ability to work individually or in teams on virtually every aspect of their projects. 



I believe there have been some issues with people unable to get access to this group.

This is a test posting to see whether or not I can gain access.


I can see your comment. :)


Thank you for referencing Gomer Junior as a Skilful School Adrian. We have certainly embraced an iSTEM+ approach. Learning and teaching has exceeded what we had originally anticipated e.g. Y3 (aged 7-8) children designing floating gardens as a sustainable form of agriculture in response to natural disaster in Nepal linked to Global Warming.  The teaching team certainly understand Quality First teaching and ensure that the children take a full lead in projects. Our children, aged between 7-11 are thinking and learning in very sophisticated ways in their gSTEM Learning. This is having a positive impact across the curriculum, ensuring genuine breadth and transferable skills. Exciting times!