On 22 June, the day before International Women Day in Engineering, Evendons Primary School contributed to challenge stereotypes by hosting a STEM Fair (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) together with other 19 primary and secondary local schools.
Research shows that children from as young as five have ingrained stereotypical views about the jobs people do based on their gender, ethnicity and social background (Starting Early, Chris Percy and Alice Amegah). Evendons Primary School believes that “career-related learning can help children broaden their horizons, overcome stereotypes, and become more motivated in class” (cit. Starting Early), and an event such as the fair gives pupils a wealth of inspiring experiences linked to science, technology, engineering and maths.
500 children took part, some of the older students involving younger ones in science experiments like volcanic explosions or microscopic observation, whilst a host of companies and volunteers shared their knowledge and interest in astronomy, geology, biology, physics, architecture, chemistry and medical science.Children went around the exhibits in small groups, and tried activities such as extracting DNA from strawberries, virtual reality headsets, experiencing static electricity, blending smoothies on a bicycle by way of force transmission, driving a Formula 1 car simulator brought in by Splunk (who work with McLaren), building a real-size functioning go-cart headed to Goodwood Gathering of Goblins, and many more activities. To top it all off, the school’s mascot Techo made an appearance, meeting colleague AL the coding robot, brought in by Get With Program.
School STEM Lead Catherine Reeves, who organised the fair, said: “The children have relished the opportunity to talk to and engage with professionals, teachers and enthusiasts from the world of STEM, and to get their hands on exciting equipment. The STEM fair is a wonderful way to introduce children to whole host of inspiring and diverse role models, to widen their understanding of the world of work, and to raise their aspirations.”
Karina in Year 5 said: “I loved the STEM fair because the really fun activities taught me about the different jobs I could do in science when I am older.”
Headteacher Stacey Read says: “I’m so grateful to Catherine for all her work on this, it was a huge fair and a lot of work has gone into organising such an interesting day. A big thank you also goes to all the companies and the volunteers who took part, their enthusiasm in meeting and teaching the children about their area of expertise has been invaluable.”
Evendons is an Outstanding primary school founded in 2014. Since then, the school has gone from strength to strength, has become the school of choice within the community and is now oversubscribed. Major expansion works have recently started to widen the Reception and Year 1 classrooms in order to welcome 60 children every year (for a total of 420 pupils across all year-groups), an 11% increase on the current admission numbers.