Innovative students celebrated in county STEM Challenges programme

Worcestershire schools have been getting involved in STEM challenge workshops to help inspire their pupils.

After being postponed in 2020, the Worcestershire Primary School STEM Challenge made a return in 2021 alongside the new Middle School STEM Challenge which was launched as a one-year special programme this year.

The programmes are designed to inspire the county’s next generation of engineers by helping to improve science, technology, engineering and maths engagement in schools.

The challenges this year were around designing an eco-friendly house and to identify a problem that may be affecting the food manufacturing industry and create a solution to that problem.

Many congratulations to the winners for the Primary STEM challenge, Anya and William from Holy Redeemer Primary School and the Middle School STEM challenge, Millie and Steph from Westacre Middle School.

A number of finalist schools were also highly commended for their solutions and these were St Nicholas C of E School, St Bede’s Middle School and St Egwins Middle School.

The programmes, run by STEMworks – a not-for-profit company, is run in partnership with Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Worcestershire County Council and District Councils across the county.

In 2019 the Primary STEM Challenge final was held at Sixways Stadium and saw students from 38 schools attend to create their solutions. The Primary School STEM Challenge was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I would like to send my congratulations to the winning teams from Holy Redeemer Primary School and Westacre Middle School, but also to all of our finalist schools in both programmes. I have attended previous finals of the STEM challenge programme and thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of the creative minds in our county in action.

“It is important that we inspire students across the county to take a passion in STEM subjects and skills to help create Worcestershire’s future workforce.”

Phil Cotton, Westacre Middle School, said: “Competitions such as these can really inspire our children. Though it was a tricky concept this year, our pupils really liked the opportunity to think outside the box and love the idea of real-life problem solving. What Millie and Steph managed to achieve was really amazing and it is a real credit to their own creativity and invention.”

Looking forward, the 2022 Primary School STEM challenge has already started to receive interest from local schools with 46 bookings from 33 different schools.

Sarah Lalor, Activities coordinator at STEMworks, said:” This is a great opportunity for children to get involved in an engaging and challenging program. The challenge develops key problem solving skills and opens the pathway to a future career in the STEM sector.

“We are overwhelmed with the amazing response in registrations for next academic year, demonstrating this is a valued experience for schools.”

“The competition has given the children a real insight into business and opened their eyes to future career opportunities. When pupils began to see clear goals and the direction they want to go in terms of future careers, they can achieve wonderful things. We look forward to next year’s challenge and hope that we can match our success from this year.”

For more information on the STEM challenge programmes and the other workshops delivered by STEMworks, visit the STEMworks website on the link here. –