Last year Boston Borough Council teamed up with Primary Engineer – a national not-for-profit organisation which is bridging the gap between industry and education – to inspire children to see themselves as problem-solvers of the future. And last week we held a Celebration Event at Boston College with Primary Engineer where practical testing and judging was made on the children’s creations.
The Primary Engineer programme develops engineering skills for teachers, bringing engineering into the school classroom and offering all UK schools the chance to participate in the “Leaders Award”, the largest engineering design competition for children of all ages in the country.
Initially school teachers from around the borough were invited to a structure, mechanism and basic electrics course which was introduced by Matt Warman, MP, and was broadcast live on BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s ‘Scott Dalton Show’.
Held at MetsaWood, it was a unique and inspiring space where teachers joined by local engineers from RAF, MOD, MetsaWood and Mastenbroeks were all partnered with the schools supporting in the classroom and training was delivered with varying levels of complexity relevant to children’s ages and aligned to requirements of the national curriculum.
Groups of children from nine different primary schools in the borough attended the celebration event bringing along their designs, portfolios and creations to put before the judges before putting their models through the practical testing. The Children were tasked with building from scratch vehicles, which would propel themselves.
At the end of the day, after the scoring had been done, runners-up and winners were announced and presented with certificates and medals by the Leader of the council, Cllr Michael Cooper, and Lydia Fairman from Network Rail.
Chris Rochester, from Primary Engineer, thanked everyone for taking part and getting involved with the project. He said: “I am pleased to see so many fantastic skills you’ve all developed, we have all been really, really impressed.”
Cllr Cooper said: “It is incredible what you have all done, keep it up kids because it’s really worth it. In engineering you can do so many things. It is a massive part of life and is just great to get into. Well done everyone.”
Assistant head teacher, Kirstyn Brennan from New Leake Primary School, told how the whole package had a massive impact on learning – applying skills, maths, teamwork and with a local company working together adding up to a massive achievement. Steve, from Mastenbroeks, visited a few times to help with ideas and problem solving and was even there when they had their latest Ofsted visit. In their “outstanding” Ofsted report, it stated, “Leaders and teachers are committed to providing pupils with a wealth of learning opportunities that they may not typically encounter. The curriculum is stimulating and helps to broaden pupils’ horizons.”
The whole of St George’s Preparatory School took part in this project. They had a mini competition at school where the winners were chosen to go to the Primary Engineer Celebration event while the runners-up had a small event at school at the same time.
Boston Pioneers Academy pupils from years 3, 4 and 5 took part in an after-school club to produce their models. School teacher, Mr James Woods, said: “First of all they had to be taught how to use the tools for this skill-based work, including mini saws, and hammers. They worked in groups of three and were amazed by their achievements.
The biggest wow factor was when they put the two pieces of metal together and it actually moved.”
Economic Development Manager at Boston Borough Council, Clive Gibbon, said: ““It’s hugely important that we invest in our young people and this type of exposure to valuable STEM skills will only increase the breadth of opportunities available to them locally and give our business community the confidence to commit to the borough long term. Delivering initiatives like Primary Engineer across all levels of our local education system will undoubtedly raise the profile as a place to invest. Boston Borough Council’s Cabinet see skills development integral to business development and investment and through their whole-hearted support of funding can projects like these come to fruition.”