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Posted on: 22/05/2018


Loreto Grammar School's ground breaking STEM team have won the North of England and Scotland's Enthuse Award for the quality of their continuing professional development in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths teaching.

The teachers and technicians from the leading Altrincham Catholic Grammar School now go to the grand finals as part of a winning quartet of northern schools competing for the national title.

The secret to the success of applying their CPD in their classrooms said Victoria Sims, Loreto's Head of Maths and Computing, “is to catch the girls early, engage them as soon as they come into the school and give them a passion for the range and challenge of all the subjects.”

Victoria continued: “In Year 7 we do a nine-week rotation of Design Technology, Engineering and Computing to engage their young minds and then in Years 8 and 9 we teach STEM as a curriculum subject.”

Victoria added: “Thankfully we feel it is now finally accepted that girls are just as good as boys at STEM subjects and to suggest anything else is absolute nonsense.”

Among their party will be Churchill Fellow and Loreto Grammar School's STEM coordinator, Elaine Manton, who won the North of England and Scotland's individual award for STEM teachers.

Elaine said: “It's very much about placing academic theory into a real life context and getting leaders from industry to talk to the girls and how their work in class is applied in today's economy'

She added: “It is also about looking to the future. We are preparing the girls for jobs that don't even exist yet, so we have to teach critical thinking, collaborative team-working and an imaginative approach to invention.”

She concluded: “We have had a huge number of staff attending STEM Learning Centre CPD in York and locally and they provide high quality, subject-specific CPD for STEM teachers and technicians across the UK. This has had a proven impact on us as teachers and our students. There is research to say that those who participate in CPD stay in teaching longer, leading to better trained and more experienced STEM teachers. At a time when two thirds of school leaders believe teacher recruitment crisis will deepen over next two years, particularly in STEM subjects, having access to such excellent professional development has never been so important to keep us up to date in current thinking and best practice in the UK.”

Abbey Horn, Senior Subject Leader for Design Technology added: “We want to encourage creativity which means creating live briefs so the girls can see a positive end result, encouraging experimentation and using a whole range of different materials to excite and enthuse.”

Design Technology and Art Technician Kate Stoddard said there had been a sea change in girls' thinking. “I came to the subject primarily from the Art perspective, and I remain devoted to that subject as well, but as Design Technology has used an ever wider range of new technologies and materials, it has caught my imagination just as much as it has the girls.”

Elaine Manton said: “The ENTHUSE Celebration Awards are a celebration of the impact of CPD across all STEM subjects. To be celebrating wins as both a school and individually for the North of England and Scotland is an honour against such strong competition.”

Stem Teachers   May 2018 x1

Pictured from left to right sitting are Elaine Manton and Victoria Sims and standing Kate Stoddard and Abbey Horn.

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