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Increasing science, technology, engineering and maths skills among young people

Yorkshire Forward is investing £9.5m in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills among children and young people in our region. Our goal is to bridge the skills gaps and to increase the number of young people choosing to study these subjects in college and university.

The Regional Economic Strategy states that, by 2016, Yorkshire & Humber should have:

  • Encouraged more young people to stay in education or training until the age of 19
  • Closed the attainment gap between our region and with national averages at GCSE level and beyond
  • Ensured that we have more graduates in the region
  • Inspired more people to take qualifications in subjects which will support future market demands (such as ICT and STEM).

Our STEM goals

Our STEM projects are aimed at increasing the level of student participation, achievement and progression into STEM-based subjects and careers. To this end, we’re providing continued professional development (CPD) opportunities for teachers, new learning resource development, and out-of-school events and activities for young people and families.

Who’s backing these projects?

The STEM projects have been commissioned through the regional STEM board, including Government Office Yorkshire & Humber, The Leaning and Skills Council, local authorities, the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics, further and higher education institutions, and other agencies. They will ensure that these investments deliver maximum benefits and contribute to a number of key regional targets and objectives, including the Regional Economic Strategy. The STEM programme includes external evaluation activities undertaken by EKOS. 

Live STEM projects include:

  • Space Circus: Space Circus centres on using space as a theme for delivering regional STEM education, with particular focus on out-of-school-hours (OOSH) activities. Using a competition framework linked to the staging of the Space Circus, the project develops parental and family engagement events, space-related enterprise activities, and space-related business start-up and incubation.
  • Cre8ate Maths: a project which enhances maths teaching and produces new learning resources based on ‘functional mathematics within a work context’. This project has also developed new resources and activity to support learners with special needs and 14-19 diplomas.
  • Green STEM: which uses environmental technologies and issues to increase STEM uptake in the Humber area, providing teachers with CPD through the development of a sustainable set of teaching materials relevant to STEM subjects in the National Curriculum. Established links between schools and companies will provide access to organisations involved in environmental problem solving.
  • A Holistic Approach to STEM in York and North Yorkshire: this focuses on a range of non-traditional development opportunities, particularly for vocational education courses, and encourages independent learning and family/adult lifelong learning to encourage a wider circle of mentors for learners.
  • RA3 - Raising Aspirations, Ambition and Attainment: this project is centred on 'raising aspirations, attitudes and achievement' across STEM subjects in South Yorkshire, and delivers a range of activities for family learning groups, encouraging parental involvement to improve the qualifications and employability of both children and adults.
  • Inspiring Maths Champions: this pilot in West Yorkshire identifies and supports lead maths champions and  teachers in primary schools and includes CPD for teachers and new learning materials. The pilot has has worked with two of the regions universities, the Teaching and Development Agency (TDA) and the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM).

Previous STEM projects that ended in 2007/08 or 2008/09

  • STEM Support Centre for Yorkshire & Humber: this is provided in the form of a web portal, and brings together information on STEM education schemes, activities, events, visits and opportunities. The portal aims to enhance and enrich the learning experiences of students, and offers STEM-relevant CPD and training for teachers across all key stages (for 5–19-year-old learners).
  • WOW: this delivers learning around the creative and digital technologies sector in Leeds and Bradford, improving and increasing the numbers of learners participating, achieving and progressing in STEM subjects—especially ICT and technology. Aimed at 14-19-year-olds, a variety of teaching is covered; visual reality, games technology, 3D stereoscopic technology, animation and motion capturing.
  • Space Connections: based in Bradford, the UK Space Education Office provides an inspiration to young learners to study STEM subjects in higher and further education, promoting career opportunities in space-related industry, and becoming—through collaboration with the British National Space Centre partnership—the first stop for space-related teaching, learning materials and experiences.
  • F1 in Primary: this is a small pilot activity in West Yorkshire to expand upon successful F1 teaching in secondary education, using primary-school feeder links and providing new learning opportunities for teachers and pupils, including practical and exciting engineering experience.


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