University Summer School Supports Young People with Transition to Secondary School

STEAM Summer School - paper planes - web
Schoolchildren trying out the paper planes they made

The STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) Summer School, run by the School of Education, was aimed at supporting young people in their transition to secondary school in September, giving them the opportunity to meet young people from other primary schools. It was also designed to enthuse and engage them in the STEAM subjects by providing practical and interesting activities over the week, as well as giving them experience of being in a university.

Around 30 Year 6 and Year 5 pupils took part in the week of activities. Sessions were led by the University’s PCGE Secondary and Primary tutors and trainee teachers, as a way to enhance their professional development before they start in the classroom in September.

Stephanie Bescoby, who has secured a job at Bishops of Hereford Bluecoat School from September after completing a PGCE in Art and Design, said: “I really enjoyed working as a STEAM ambassador. It was fun to work with children in a more relaxed environment and show them how fun learning can be. Both sessions I taught included teamwork and group discussions which I hope will improve their confidence in sharing their ideas when in the classroom.”

Fellow former PGCE Secondary Art and Design student, Matt Birch, who is starting a job at Ridgewood High School in Stourbridge next month, said: “Teaching Design and Technology at the STEAM Summer School was such a rewarding experience, and an excellent way to build interest and enthusiasm for the subject in a fun and engaging environment.”

The Summer School project started last summer to help recoup some of the education pupils lost in limited schooling during the pandemic lockdowns.

Head of the School of Education, Catriona Robinson, said: “At the University of Worcester we are always keen to provide educational opportunities for all, including young people in the community. The STEAM Summer School proved such a successful and popular scheme last summer that we were eager to offer more children opportunities to enhance the education they receive in term-time.

“Through the sessions, we aimed to inspire the children with a love of STEAM subjects through some interactive and fun activities, while also giving our former students valuable professional experience as they transition into the next generation of teachers. We believe it is important to reinforce young people’s skills in these key areas as they move into secondary school and will certainly be looking at continuing the Summer School next summer.”

In the Art sessions, the children made pots and bowls that they then decorated and also had a go at some self-portrait work, while in the Design and Technology - Food session, pupils were introduced to the Eat Well guide and how to work with knives in the kitchen safely.

Former PGCE students leading the Design and Technology - Resistant Materials session talked about aerodynamics, how aeroplane design is inspired by birds, and how to create paper aeroplanes, which all the young people had a go at making and then tested out. In Science, the young people explored the wildlife areas around campus and conducted an experiment. There were also Computing and Mathematics sessions.