There was a real buzz in the air as the day finally unfolded with 50 primary school students making their way to the Studio to register for their morning workshops in our new STEM Innovation Centre. Yes, this was the culmination of weeks of hard work from lots of students and staff across school – the formal opening of the ‘new build’.
Primary schools chattered excitedly as they were given their purple lanyards with their names on, different colours for the different groups they would be working in …. What would the morning hold?
Miss Belfield formally welcomed the primary school students and their teachers, and led by our House Captains, they made their way up to R11 and R12….
Arriving at the new laboratories brought gasps of wonder from both the younger students and the sixth formers, as the two Science labs had been transformed into something that looked so dynamic, so futuristic… so exciting! There were different workshops – forensics with invisible ink and making fingerprint keyrings; a light and electricity extravaganza; bridge building with K’Nex and Robotics with Lego Mindstorms run by the Bradford STEM Centre. Students had limited time at each workshop, there was a competitive element, and it was difficult to tell who was enjoying it more - the primary school students or the staff supporting the event! Time flew by and all too soon the morning workshops were over, and Mrs Plews presented the primary school students with a certificate each.
A lovely buffet lunch awaited both the primary school children and the guests for the afternoon events. Everyone tucked in and there wasn’t much left by the end. Miss Belfield said farewell to our primary school guests as they left to go back to afternoon lessons, and then the remaining guests made their way up to the hall as the rest of the school started Period 3 lessons. We were very pleased that we had students attending from all our local secondary schools, ready for our first ‘Children’s Conference’ alongside representatives from governors, Old Girls Association, our business partners and associates etc.
Amongst the guests arriving was Professor Danielle George, who was going to formally open the new build and deliver a Key Note speech to open our Conference. Danielle George is Professor of Radio frequency engineering in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at the University of Manchester. She delivered the Royal Institution’s Christmas Faraday lectures on the BBC last year – an inspirational speaker, and we were thrilled to welcome her to our school and to this event.
Following speeches by Mr Cutler and Mrs Plews, it was time for Professor George to formally unveil the plaque at the entrance to the STEM Innovation Centre and the ceremonial planting of a fruit tree. The plaque features a design inspired by the drawing of one of our A2 artists, Annabel Cass and bears the motto ‘From Dreams STEMs Reality’ – a statement that resonates strongly with our school vision – doing everything we can to enable our students to progress into a career that perhaps at first they could only dream about. With our long dreamt about new facilities now also a reality, all of the guests entered the new build and the afternoon conference began.
Professor George gave her Key Note speech, speaking of her research and speaking of fundamental engineering principles in a fun and engaging way that immediately drew the audience in. Whether talking about hacking modern day technology; how farmers can use the same devices as the space shuttle; or the learning from ‘fantastic failures’ such as blowing up a resistor, she disarmed the audience with examples of how to meet challenges and push boundaries.
Following Professor George’s speech, the audience had an opportunity to view the amazing showcase that had been set out in the rooms opposite. Every department was represented with a simply stunning portrayal of their subject. Student ambassadors spoke passionately and eloquently, and the guests thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see what it was that makes learning at SGHS so special. We also had stands from some of our Business partners, who had been invited to demonstrate the real effect that their industry has on both student learning and the future opportunities that exist within their company.
The conference re-commenced with a panel debate on key questions on the future of STEM Innovation. Ably chaired by Arkwright Scholar and Y12 Physics and Engineering student, Rachel Brown, the panel of experts drawn from both current and past SGHS students, as well as Chief Executives of some of the largest engineering companies considered both formal questions as well as those posed by the audience. Time flew by, and it wasn’t long before Miss Belfield started to draw proceedings to a close. A video of students’ thoughts on STEM - what it means to them, and their future dreams was shown before Mrs Plews formally closed the conference.
The day finished with afternoon tea for staff and guests in the Studio, enabling everyone to start to reflect on what had been a thoroughly successful day!
Miss E Belfield
Learning Director: STEAM Innovation
Curriculum Leader: Physics, Astronomy
Watch the video below to view a timelapse of the build process of our new STEM Centre.