EDUCATION and youth charity, City Year UK, has been awarded a £100,000 grant from the Cadent Foundation to help disadvantaged young people reach their full potential in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) through a programme of fun, hands-on after-school activities.
The funding will be used to deliver CASE Clubs (Cadent Foundation After-School Science & Engineering) in schools across North London, West Midlands and the North West. By experimenting through engineering, the CASE Clubs will bring STEM to life in a way that is accessible and exciting. Activities will be largely pupil-led and use problem-solving-based learning to explore themes such as sustainability, carbon neutrality and climate change.
Over the course of a year, CASE Clubs will provide vulnerable children with the support and learning to help them achieve curriculum attainment levels in those critical transitional years between primary and secondary school. As well as improving academic performance, the clubs will help children develop essential life skills such as problem-solving, self-confidence, positive decision-making, teamwork and communication.
The sessions are run by near-peer volunteer mentors (18-25 years), and employees from Cadent Gas will also support the mentors as STEM role models to help bring to life careers in engineering. At the end, each student will gain a British Science Association CREST Award, a nationally recognised scheme for student-led projects in STEM subjects.
Kevin Munday, Chief Executive at City Year UK, said:
“We’re extremely grateful to the Cadent Foundation for this funding which is going to help us tackle educational inequality and engage more children in creative STEM learning activities. Around 30% of children are growing up in poverty in the UK, and too often, their prospects are linked to how much their family earns. By age 11, less than half of pupils entitled to free school meals reach the standards expected in reading, writing and maths. Children who participate in extracurricular activities perform better in school, build confidence and gain social skills, however, children from deprived communities are three times less likely to participate in extracurricular activities compared to their wealthier peers.
“Our year-long programme enables inspirational young people to volunteer full-time in schools in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Our mentors not only acquire real-world experience working in schools as well as valuable personal and professional skills through provided training but they coach and inspire pupils and give much needed extra help to those who need it the most. We see that by helping pupils realise their potential, our volunteer mentors also unlock their own.”
Julia Dwyer, Director of the Cadent Foundation, explains why it is important to invest in STEM education:
“We are delighted to be able to support City Year with this exciting new project. As technologies continue to develop and create innovative job opportunities, we need to prepare to meet those needs. By investing in STEM education and exposing students to hands-on STEM experiences, we will ensure that they have the skill sets needed to build the strong and sustainable communities of the future.
“Through the CASE Clubs, young people will have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge, gain valuable insights into STEM careers and be better equipped to access opportunities to become the next generation of scientists, computer programmers, technicians and engineers.”
For more information about City Year UK, including how you can apply to become a volunteer mentor or if you want to know more about how your school can get involved, please visit: www.cityyear.org.uk.
More information on the Cadent Foundation can be found at: www.cadentfoundation.com.