Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are disciplines at the core of our industrial world. 90% of future jobs will have an engineering and technology component.
At Alton we invest heavily in resources, people and programmes to bring the STEM agenda to life and support our pupils to grasp the opportunities these programmes afford. Our programmes are cross-curricular and target both Prep and Senior schools.
Children from Year 3 upwards are exposed to science and technology, with stereotypes dispelled before they have formed. Our pre-prep students were featured in the Women’s Engineering Society’s Journal as their youngest engineers – they were designing and building chairs for Goldilocks and the Three Bears! The older students also serve as powerful role models for the younger students, sharing their experiences with them, and supporting them in their own activities.
In Years 5 to 7, we have weekly hands-on challenging activities to encourage creativity and innovation through problem-solving. These are project-based for Year 7. Activities involve learning the skills of engineering – using computing, electronics, design, technology, science and maths – but are cross-curricular in nature and draw in all subject areas and different staff over time. We involve business partners where possible to help set genuine challenges and provide a real-world context. We also welcome support from parents with relevant expertise. Understanding how learning can be applied in the real world is motivational and inspires pupils looking at future careers.
Underpinning the STEM agenda, are the Mathematics, Science and ICT Departments. The Mathematics team instills self-confidence and a passion for mathematics in students through an individualised yet rigorous curriculum that is strongly predicated on real-world applications. Teaching takes place in divisions based on ability.
Biology, Chemistry and Physics are all brought to life with plenty of practical hands-on experiments. At GCSE we also offer a combined science course for those who are less scientific but who need to maintain a science GCSE in their subject profile.
Computer Science covers the basics of understanding e-safety and pc skills, through to coding, design, computational thinking, cyber security and programming projects.
We are a TeenTech Centre of Innovation and Creativity, with multiple award winning teams across age groups. This programme not only enables our pupils to invent, it introduces our students to international academic and commercial relationships. It also provides fantastic speaking and ambassadorial opportunities.
LtoR: Dr Gould, Lauren Shea and Dr Clayton. Lauren has recently been announced as the first ever International Ambassador for TeenTech in recognition for her amazing contribution as a mentor to a series of European teams.
TeenTech City of Tomorrow
The TeenTech City of Tomorrow initiative offers students in Key Stages 2 and 3 (8-14 year olds) the opportunity to apply their knowledge of science, technology and engineering to create their own vision of the city. The activity highlights career pathways in construction, engineering and technology and promotes good citizenship.
Cisco’s Little Big Awards
Designed to encourage problem-solving skills, pupils have to work as a team, with assistance from one or more Industry ambassadors, to solve a problem. They design and develop a prototype solution and then build a business plan around their idea.
The New York Academy of Sciences
Alton is a VIP Partner in NYAS’s Global STEM Alliance, 1000 girls, 1000 futures Programme. This was awarded in recognition of the calibre of students who attended sessions in New York.
QinetiQ-Women in Engineering
An annual event for pupils in which they work as a design and engineering team to create and build a solution to a real life problem and to compete against teams from other schools. It provides a unique opportunity for pupils to discover their own personality traits and how these can be effective in Engineering careers.
QinetiQ -Powerboat Design Challenge
An annual challenge to design, build and race our very own model powerboat. This is a five month project which immerses pupils into the world of boat design, electronics, DT, documentation and fine game playing motor skills.
Year 8 pupils Emma Snowdon, Mylene Harrison, Mary Hirst, Annabelle Boyson and Bella Yates at the 2017 competition.