West Suffolk College hosted the ‘Big Girls Crumble’ event last week for 103 Suffolk girls from 7 different Suffolk schools all as part of an initiative to encourage young females to start thinking about the possibilities of a career in STEM.
The popular day was in partnership with BT and saw the year 5 pupils descend upon the college to take part in a pioneering session which involved programming mini robots and then racing the robots in the afternoon.
The day allowed the female students to not only have fun but to also collaborate and persevere in order to follow the coding instructions to make their robots succeed.
The seven different primary schools that attended were Sexton’s Manor, Occold, Woolpit, Walsham le Willows, Moulton, Exning and St Mary’s Mildenhall.
Angela Hunter, Head teacher at Walsham le Willows primary school said: “It was a brilliant day – the children thoroughly enjoyed it and it really enhanced their knowledge of programming. It’s such a great idea to have a day for girls – it sends out a positive message about all STEM activities and hopefully it will encourage more young girls to do it. We are looking forward to another day hopefully soon!”
Victoria Fiebelkorn, Industrial Chemist and the Schools Science Coordinator at the College said: “Everyone is aware that there is a lack of women in science, I have been in science all my life and it is a very male dominated profession. I am passionate about changing this and this event has provided a fantastic platform to enable young girls to really start thinking that they can excel in the STEM subjects just as the boys can.”
The Big Girls Crumble event formed part of a wider college initiative to promote the STEM subjects - educationalists and industrialists alike are realising that a passion for these subjects needs to be instilled and nurtured in children from an early age, so while the “business” of West Suffolk College is further and higher education we are also focussing on escalating the teaching and learning of STEM subjects from primary age upwards.
Angela Berry, Executive Director for Learner Partnerships said: “We feel that STEM subjects are vitally important for our post 16 offer but what we want to do is to put our efforts in to primary and secondary support and give opportunities for these pupils to come and experience the exciting STEM opportunities here at the college.”
The event also provided an invaluable work experience opportunity for some of the college students who may be thinking about a career working with children. BT trained the college students prior to the event so they then had the knowledge and capabilities to be able to assist the children on the day.