Nurturing partnerships between schools to inspire STEM teaching
Learning best practice and building relationships was central to our ENTHUSE Partnership Celebration Day held at our National STEM Learning Centre in York.
Over 70 teachers attended the annual celebration bringing together active partnerships at different points in the programme to share and celebrate their experiences and look at ways in which they have met the challenges along the way.
ENTHUSE Partnerships enable groups of around four to eight schools and colleges to work together to improve teaching and learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Often the partnerships grow into even larger groups. They are open to state-funded schools or colleges in the UK from all phases that want to work together to address low attainment and underachievement in STEM subjects, with funding from industry and bursaries also available.
STEM Learning’s Chief Executive Yvonne Baker, said:
“Given the STEM skills shortage, ENTHUSE Partnerships are a fantastic way for educational establishments to come together and increase their links with industry to bridge the STEM skills gap. This was a brilliant day in which we saw both new and existing partnerships come together to share ideas and best practice. Sustaining these relationships is one element we particularly nurture throughout the programme so that those involved can continue to reap the benefits once the funding has ceased, continuing their hard work inspiring progression into STEM related careers.”
To bring about inspired STEM teaching, partnerships develop two-year action plans including access to CPD at STEM Learning, free resources, immersion in industry or university through a STEM Insight teacher placement, STEM Ambassadors and enrichment activities.
Also on the day were representatives from new partnerships formed to improve the teaching of computing or design and technology through engineering.
Partnership Lead Daniel Beech at Noctua Teaching Schools Alliance, said, as the only Computing Specialist Leader in Education in his Teaching School Alliance, he wanted to be involved in an ENTHUSE Partnership to access some additional CPD from STEM Learning to share with his primary school and the wider partnership. Computing subject leader from Park Spring Primary, Victoria Benson, said she found the induction day very useful as they had completed the action plan as a starting point to take back and agree with their partnerships.
Longer term partnerships were also at the event to inspire and encourage those new to the programme.
Lorraine Coghill from the Durham ENTHUSE Partnership said:
“It has been building the relationships from early years to university level that has seen us reap real benefits from this partnership. We have improved teaching in science, raised aspirations and got families involved. Even though we are officially at the end of the funded partnership everyone has agreed that they still want to give up their time to continue it. 100 per cent of our students have told us that science is their favourite subject which has been fabulous to hear.”
Maths Teacher Philip Eadie from The Thomas Hardey School in Dorset, which now has 17 schools in its partnership said:
“It is the relationships that are key. ENTHUSE Partnerships are a platform that helped me to get into other schools, and start the conversation about working together. No-one said no. It just meant that I could get into start building relationships and convince everyone that we are on the same side and through doing so we have achieved some fantastic results.”
Of the programme, nearly 450 schools have engaged so far. Of those, 84 per cent of teachers engaged in the programme agree the partnership positively impacted on the young people’s attainment in STEM subjects and 90 per cent of teachers reported that young people’s engagement and interest in STEM subjects increased.
Project ENTHUSE is a funding partnership that was launched in 2008 with £27 million from the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Education, AstraZeneca, AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust (renamed Primary Science Teaching Trust in 2013), BAE Systems, BP, General Electric Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls-Royce, Vodafone and Vodafone Group Foundation.
In 2013/14 Project ENTHUSE received further funding of over £22 million from the Department for Education, the Wellcome Trust, BAE Systems, Biochemical Society, BP, Institution of Engineering and Technology, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Rolls-Royce, Royal Commission for the 1851 Exhibition, IBM, Institution of Structural Engineers and the Royal Society of Chemistry.