BMAT STEM Academy prepare for summer research project

THE first cohort of teenagers set to join a new STEM sixth form are preparing to take on a research project this summer.

Year 12 students joining BMAT STEM Academy sixth form, in Harlow, in September are having their first taste of further education before classes start in the new school year.

The school, which caters for students in Year 10 upwards with a keen interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, will open the doors to its sixth form for the first time after the summer break.

With the Coronavirus crisis meaning schools having to cancel their traditional transition events, students are being set research projects based on the subject they will study.

Head of school Dustin Schuyler said: “We have caught up with our Year 12 students to discuss their courses and home learning tasks which will give them their first taste of their sixth form subjects. They have been set research projects which they can work on for the last couple of weeks of this term and over the summer break.

“We wanted students to work on something STEM-related before they join us, especially as half of the cohort are coming from outside of BMAT STEM. The idea is for them to start to familiarise themselves with some of the skills required in Year 12, to help with the transition from Year 11.

“Essentially, the summer research project replaces the transition day. It will give them a taster of some of the things they will experience at BMAT STEM, an insight into what their courses will include and prepare them with the knowledge and background they will be exposed to come September.

“We just want to keep as much contact with our students as possible. We have been phoning them to touch base, but this is a good chance for us to build greater links with them.”

Senior teachers will be available to students over the summer to provide guidance, video tutorials, Microsoft Teams sessions and support. Any materials needed to complete the projects will be provided.

Research projects are based on maths, biology, chemistry, physics, applied science, 3D design, engineering and computer science.

Dave Ramsey, assistant headteacher, is setting 3D design students a project based around the town’s sculpture trail.

He said: “Students will be asked to go out and investigate some of Harlow’s sculptures, take photos and then produce their own designs, thinking about materials and location.

“This is going to be a summer where things are a little different, so the projects will help to keep students on track and give them something to engage with and do from home.”

Subjects such as engineering and 3D design are offered at the sixth form, with expert teachers and state of the art equipment used by industry not generally seen in sixth forms or colleges.

The school works closely with professional sponsors, including Princess Alexandra Hospital, Gratnells, GlaxoSmithKline, Raytheon and Pearson Education, to give young people real-world experience in industry.

To apply for a Year 10 or 12 place for September, contact head of school Dustin Schuyler at [email protected]

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