Budding engineers go green in race to learn about STEM

Photo: Beverley McCallion and Katy Malia (blue jumper) with Rowlands Gill pupils (from left to right) Charlotte Malton Earl, Joseph (Jo) Guariento, Taylor Cramb and Harriet Spark


Creative pupils at a Tyneside school harnessed the power of green energy as part of a learning programme to ignite their interest in science and technology.

Year 4 and year 6 pupils at Rowlands Gill Primary School have been working with Gateshead College on various activities designed to raise awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related challenges.  

One task saw the pupils design and build their own racing car powered by clean energy, which got them thinking about alternative fuel sources and ways of reducing their carbon footprint.

Beverley McCallion, acting head teacher at Rowlands Gill, said: “It’s vital that schools work with businesses and other education providers to get children thinking about real-world challenges from an early age. The need to find ways of reducing climate change will become even more pressing once these children are of working age, so it’s important to get them interested in these subjects well before they make their GCSE choices.”

The STEM programme is the latest educational venture between Gateshead College and Rowlands Gill. Last year the two organisations joined forces to lay on a range of fun-filled IT-related activities for year 5 and 6 pupils as part of Computer Science Education Week. The college also works with several other North East schools to organise events aimed at generating children’s interest in STEM.   

Katy Malia, automotive teacher and STEM ambassador at Gateshead College, said: “While STEM industries are the driving force of our economy, many companies in these sectors have reported skills shortages that need to be addressed now. By stimulating interest in STEM from an early age, Gateshead College and local schools are encouraging more young people to study these subjects at school and college. In doing this, we can help employers develop a skilled workforce for the future and become more competitive.”

Gateshead College has been involved in several initiatives to stimulate interest in STEM subjects and careers. In September 2017, the organisation teamed up with top academics and industry professionals from across Europe to share ideas on how to combat the low number of females studying STEM subjects at school, college and university.

Gateshead College also runs a career college initiative which offers 14-16 year-olds the opportunity to complete a new construction and built environment programme in tandem with their GCSEs which they study at school.