Summer School Sessions Designed to Inspire Young Learners

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Children in a Food Technology session with former PGCE Secondary in Food students

The University’s School of Education ran a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) Summer School, which aimed to raise the aspirations of young people in those subjects. This is the School of Education’s first ever summer school, but its successful reception has prompted plans to develop it further in the future.

Head of Secondary and Post Compulsory Education in the University’s School of Education, Alison Winson, said: “We are delighted to have been able to offer this opportunity for children from three local primary schools. We are passionate about raising the aspirations of children in the STEAM subjects. Throughout the week the children have enthusiastically taken part in fun and exciting activities and have experienced working in a university environment. In addition, it has been a great opportunity for some of our recently qualified teachers to gain experience of teaching on a summer school.”

University of Worcester tutors and recently qualified Secondary and Primary PGCE trainee teachers ran the sessions, along with some supervised trainee teachers.

Children had a carousel of activities in a number of subject areas over the week: Science, Maths, Food Technology, Computer Science, and Art & Design. The activities included coding in computing, cooking a variety of food including heathy wraps, fruit salad, pizza muffins and sweet potato fries, scientific experiments, catching bugs, making ‘elephant toothpaste’, building the strongest bridge, drawing favourite cartoon characters, using different drawing materials and drawing people. The University was keen to offer local children an opportunity for further learning after the disruption of the last 18 months.

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Catriona Robinson, Head of the School of Education, said: “Following the success of the STEAM Summer School pilot, it is our intention to develop this offer in the future. The disruption of the pandemic has impacted significantly on young people's education. The Summer School initiative led by University staff and student teachers facilitated a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience for the pupils, who were able to interact with their peers from other schools in new and exciting surroundings.”

Bethany Lewis, who has finished a PGCE Secondary in Food at the University and has a role lined up at a secondary school for September, jointly ran some of the sessions. She said: “It was really good to spend time working with younger children and to plan some work for primary children instead of secondary children. The children were really well behaved and enjoyed the sessions and learning about the topics we covered, which included health and safety, such as proper handwashing, and reducing food waste, such as using leftovers to make other meals.”

Matt Birch, who is soon to start on the University’s new Art and Design PGCE Secondary course and led some of the art sessions, said: “Volunteering at the summer school event was great fun and a very enjoyable experience! Helping the children to create beautiful art works was so rewarding, and I was very impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of this talented group of young artists.”