St Leonard’s Catholic School, Durham, a participant in the ENTHUSE Partnership within Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, has become a beacon of innovation under the guidance of Mr. Rob Swinney, Science Hub Learning Partnership Lead.
Part of Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust – which includes five secondary schools, one middle school, one first school and forty-one primary schools in the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese – St Leonard’s Catholic School was Invited to join the ENTHUSE partnership and has wholeheartedly embraced the initiative, making significant strides in STEM education.
The ENTHUSE Partnership improves young people’s attainment and engagement in STEM subjects and develops awareness and understanding of STEM careers, contributing to the Gatsby Careers Benchmarks. A collaborative effort among 8-10 schools / colleges, this initiative has proven to be a transformative experience, providing St Leonard’s with a unique two-year action plan supported by £25,000 worth of resources.
Engaging in teacher CPD, interacting with STEM Ambassadors, establishing STEM Clubs, and hosting insightful meetings have been integral components of St Leonard’s active participation in this initiative.
The pinnacle of this journey was the recent Space Camp 2023 at Sunderland University Campus. Sponsored by Lockheed Martin and Viasat, the camp offered an immersive experience in the dynamic world of space activity. Four Year 12 Physics enthusiasts from St Leonard’s were not only educated but inspired to think big, thanks to high-profile guest speakers and hands-on exploration of cutting-edge technologies.
Reflecting on the experience, students were keen to share their experiences. Mr. Zachary Bremner said, “Space Camp was really interesting and insightful. I intend to contact Lockheed Martin and Viasat with a view to work experience. My career aspirations to enter the space industry were consolidated by this camp.”
While student Miss Katy Hill shared a similar level of enthusiasm, saying, “I loved this! It helped me learn more about the space sector and what jobs are available to me. I’m happy that I made some good friends who share my interests and are doing the same A-Levels as me.”
This initiative aligns with St Leonard’s commitment to enhancing students’ “cultural capital”.
Recognising the STEM skills workforce gap in the North East, the school actively seeks opportunities to expose students to the vast potential within their grasp.
Head of Science at St Leonard’s, Miss Stewart, said: “Special thanks to Josh Minto from North East STEM Hub for keeping us abreast of local opportunities and heartfelt appreciation to the National Space Academy, Lockheed Martin, and Viasat for sponsoring the event, enabling our pupils to reach for the stars and follow their dreams. St Leonard’s continues to be a shining example of educational excellence and innovation.”