Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shaping the Future of STEM; ADVERTISING FEATURE as One of the Oldest Schools in the City, Dame Allan's Looks to Build on the North East's Strong History of Science, Engineering and Developing Technology with Today's 3-18 Year Olds

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shaping the Future of STEM; ADVERTISING FEATURE as One of the Oldest Schools in the City, Dame Allan's Looks to Build on the North East's Strong History of Science, Engineering and Developing Technology with Today's 3-18 Year Olds

Article excerpt

Founded in 1705 by Dame Eleanor Allan, we are proud to have had one of the first physics laboratories in Newcastle and maintain this innovative outlook today, continuing to invest in the future of our students and in our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facilities.

This innovation is supported by our Diamond Structure of education, which offers the benefits of single-sex education combined with the social and cultural merits of a co-educational environment to allow students to perform at their very best.

At the base of the diamond is the co-educational Junior School and Nursery, where boys and girls learn together. Children in the Junior School and Nursery benefit from a practical curriculum which brings learning to life.

This includes the exciting Skogsmulle programme, a Swedish educational initiative, which teaches children to have a greater understanding of the science in our environment. For example, on woodland walks, the children are encouraged to talk about the finer details of the trees such as the changing colours of leaves and how some trees have needles and leaves.

Later on in their Junior School career, children take part in the Institution of Engineering and Technology's 'Greenpower Formula Goblin' project, which aims to spark an interest in engineering in a fun and innovative way. The project sees children build their own functioning and drivable electric car from a flat-packed kit before testing the results at the Nissan Test Track in Sunderland. The project is a fun and educational way for children to learn about friction, electricity, materials, maths and design technology.

By exciting and informing pupils about STEM subjects from an early age, we inspire them to capitalise on the investment made in our provision in the Senior Schools. Our Design Technology Centre is kitted out with exciting, state of the art equipment including 3D printers and sophisticated software, thanks to the generous support of the Reece Foundation. This allows us to deliver projects involving design and realisation of products to students at all levels within our Schools.

Teaching boys and girls separately between the ages of 11 and 16 ensures we can tailor our teaching to the different needs of boys and girls whilst also avoiding the kind of gender stereotypes that have held back girls' education in STEM subjects in the past.

Our commitment to STEM, and the successful way in which we approach it, was highlighted in our recent inspection by the Independent Schools' Inspectorate (ISI), the independent sector equivalent of Ofsted.

Rating Dame Allan's School as 'excellent', the report reflected the positive impact of the Schools' diamond structure, citing specific examples of this in design and technology classes: "Boys gain a clear understanding of their task through additional demonstrations, while girls become more confident in their use of machinery through the active encouragement of their teachers. …

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