STEM Newsletter for Primary Schools in Wales

April 2018

The newsletter that's an essential source of information and inspiration for teachers – and anyone with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) engagement – across Wales.


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In this newsletter:

Ask a STEM Ambassador to visit your school

A STEM Ambassador's involvement can engage and enthuse both students and teachers. If you are interested in asking a STEM Ambassador to visit your school you can make your request here or contact See Science directly at

Give us your Ambassador feedback

If an Ambassador has visited your school, or if you have met an Ambassador at an enrichment activity, we would be very grateful if you could fill in our teacher feedback form. Please encourage colleagues to respond.

Going for Green – Goblin Power at Edwardsville Primary

STEM Ambassador Bob Love is an exemplary mentor and coach for the Edwardsville Green Goblin Racing team. Pupils at the school have been working on the Kit Car build since December; the call for support was made by teacher Catherine Price, Bob was a perfect match as a STEM Ambassador for his expertise and evident enthusiasm.

Since January Bob has visited the school each week, taking the pupils through a Wednesday Masterclass on project build, technical specifications of the car and gradually assembling the vehicle.
I was delighted to visit one session at the school. Hugely impressive work has been undertaken with the pupils learning practical handling of tools, sustainable building, electronics and physics of forces and motion. Bob starts the session with a talk on the maths, engineering and physics before they begin a morning of work on the car.

A classroom has been set aside for the build and that morning they assembled the brakes and tested braking power.

Staffs have been immensely grateful for Bob’s support:

“Without his input and skill this would never have happened, he is like a member of the teaching staff now and has identified areas of weakness that we can work on to improve pupils learning, such as measurement and maths application – a real team asset!”
Catherine Price

“The best project ever!! I learned how to use a spanner and all about Ohms” Maisie

“Reading the wiring diagram was the most interesting thing, the acceleration was the best part of the build” Jack

“I learned how to use a screwdriver and spanner, I really enjoy this project” Millie

Drivers, engineers and leaders will be selected for the finals and the team will be on show at Renishaw Green Goblin Race Saturday June 9th

Wishing them the best of success! They are hoping to raise funds for some smart team outfits.

G2G Communities CIC LEGO WEDO2.0 Competition North Wales

Many thanks to G2G Communities and Dr Bill Lockitt for the following report on the successful completion of the Lego Wedo Competition. The competition was sponsored by the Welsh Government National Science Academy and G2G Communities CIC would like to thank them for supporting the ‘All SySTEMs Go’ programme.

Schools took part in the WEDO 2.0 competition on Tuesday 20 March 2018 at Rhyl Town Hall. The standard set by participants was extremely high. Photographs of the day here

LEGO WEDO 2.0 Robotics Kit: Schools that took part in the competition will be able to keep their existing WEDO2.0 kit (Current value £120).
Each School received a plaque to say they took part in the competition. Team pupils and attending teachers also received a certificate. The final was very tight and STEM Ambassador Judges had a hard role judging.

First prize and Overall Winners: Ysgol Llewelyn 
Second prize: Ysgol Gwynedd
Third prize: Ysgol Cornist
Best Design: Ysgol Christchurch CP
Best video: Ysgol Tudno
Determination and effort: Ysgol Bodnant: Ysgol Brynteg and Ysgol St  Marys

The programme aims to inspire schools throughout North Wales to develop more hands-on STEAM related activities and highlight opportunities for the future.


Fochriw Head named Primary Teacher of the Year

A Head teacher in the Caerphilly county borough has become one of only two in Wales to be awarded the Primary Science Teacher of the Year Award.

Sharon Pascoe, Head at Fochriw Primary School, was presented the award in recognition of her efforts to inspire a love of science amongst pupils through hands on projects, including helping them grow and release their own salmon.  Other projects pupils have completed have included researching the lives of local animals and taking part in a Polar expedition project launched by Techniquest.

The awards were established in 2003 and are open to all current practising Primary Teachers (full or part-time) who are innovative and creative in teaching science; inspire colleagues and contribute to developing science in their school and beyond; and engage pupils in the excitement and fascination of science.

The award follows on from the school’s success last year when they received the Primary Science Gold Quality Mark; the first school in Wales to be receive this.

As a result of the award, Mrs Pascoe has now been inducted into the Primary Science Teacher College as a College Fellow.  Both the school and Mrs Pascoe also received a financial contribution for being successful in the award.  She was nominated for the award by Carian Angharad, a member of the Association of Science Education (ASE Cymru).

Mrs Pascoe said “It’s an absolute privilege to receive the award; I feel really quite humbled by it.  It was quite a shock to even be nominated, but it’s been really nice for the children.”

Cllr Phillipa Marsden, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Achievement, added “I’d like to congratulate Mrs Pascoe on winning this prestigious award.  Fochriw Primary School is delivering excellent standards of learning in science and technology, clearly demonstrated by both Mrs Pascoe’s award and the school’s Gold Quality Mark.  I look forward to hearing about more of the school’s exciting science projects!"

Teacher and pupil opportunites

FREE RAF100 one-day workshop programmes 

The Institute of Physics is working with the Royal Air Force to contribute to its centenary project, called RAF100. As part of this, we are able to offer some free help to schools in the form of workshops for pupils at STEM days, Science Days, recruitment events and the like. Members of the IOP Education team would come into school and run one of the eight STEM activities available online at The activity would be chosen in consultation with the school, and can also be adjusted to match the prior physics knowledge of pupils from primary to sixth form, and fits nicely
into a 55 or 60 minute session.

So, if your school would like a day's worth of free STEM workshops, please contact  Richard Bonella: There would be no charge for this and our staff have all undergone DBS checks.  Richard Bonella: 

Science at the Zoo
June 12th   4pm  - 6pm
An evening at Anglesey Sea Zoo showcasing all of our excellent educational packages and how the aquarium can meet your requirements and those of the national curriculum. Beginning with a meet and greet with our aquarium staff, take a tour around the aquarium before sitting down and discussing the packages and facilities currently available. Have your say to help develop our educational department for all future bookings. Refreshments available. To book go to

Royal Society of Chemistry – Science and the Assembly 2018

Tuesday 22 May, 12.45-7.30pm. Senedd and the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay 

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s fourteenth annual Science and the Assembly event is designed to foster close relations with policy makers and key stakeholders, Science and the Assembly is organised on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the Welsh science and engineering community.

This event is co-sponsored by representatives of the main political parties in the Assembly. Registration (from April) and more information here.

Feedback and Impact

Feedback and Impact  are of great value – the provide us with evidence for engaging with the wider audience!  Please add your own feedback on any activity here:

Poppy Hodkinson STEM - Archaeology workshop at St Peters Primary
"Fabulous workshop - covered a cross curricular theme and the pupils were very engaged" Mr Fitzgerald   "Please come back after May exams - just the type of workshop for Yr 6" 
"It was such fun, I liked finding out about Isotopes and how they know what people did and where they came from by experiments on their teeth and bones" Yr 6 pupil
"Working as a team was great, I could see why Poppy became an Archaeologist"

STEM Ambassador Lynda Patchin -  Usk Astronomy at Newport High School
Sarah Hancock of Newport High School asked us would we come along to help celebrate their science week. We set up the planetarium and spent a delightful 5 hours with 100 very well behaved pupils. They had projects of their own choosing, relating to space, on display. 
I met a really enthusiastic pupil who I would expect to do very well in his chosen subject. 

 School Governor Liz Neale: STEM Ambassador Mark Smith at Ysgol Y Ffin
"Mark - I just wanted to add my thanks to those from Louise Farrant for your session yesterday. I have heard fantastic things from a number of sources about the level of engagement and enthusiasm your session created. One parent mentioned to me that her daughter is now a budding astro-physicist. 
I understand the children just wanted to keep asking questions and didn't want to go home! That must be a first (for us at least, perhaps all your sessions are as successful). So, huge, huge thanks from us. I'm impressed by the breadth of the questions the children have sent you and hope they won't take too long to respond to. I am extremely disappointed that I couldn't be there but I hope you'd be willing to return in a future year to repeat the session and I'll make sure I'm free."

Competitions and resources

Draw an Engineer Competition 2018

INWED logoThe INWED Draw an Engineer Competition returns for another year to help celebrate International Women in Engineering Day.

Aimed at children 5-11 in key stages 1 and 2, this can be a great way to get your school involved if you are not already planning something. The pictures chosen by our panel as the winners receive a prize and will be featured on the INWED website.

To enter, simply draw, crayon or paint an engineer on A4 paper and send a high resolution scan of your submission with the subject line INWED COMPETITION ENTRY to

Please include your name, age, Key Stage 1 or 2 & School (if applicable). The closing date for this year’s entries is Monday 25 June 2018.

You can download a poster shown to display in your school here. For more ideas of what to do on the day or during the week leading up to INWED please remember to download our Resource Pack.

The Great Bug Hunt 2018

The Great Bug Hunt is a great opportunity for pupils to get outside to learn more about living things and their habitats and to use the outdoor classroom.

Simply identify a local habitat, get the pupils to explore and discover the minibeasts (bugs) that live there, draw them and record their findings – it’s that easy!

This exciting competition, now in its sixth year, fits into the curriculum. Specifically in Wales, Foundation Phase - Understanding of the World: Myself and Other Living Things and KS2 Interdependence of Organisms.

There are three age categories for entries: 5-7 years/KS1, 7-9 years/LKS2 and 9-11 years/UKS2. The closing date for entries is Friday 15 June 2018.

You can download a pdf poster here

The Great Bug Hunt is supported by the Association for Science Education in Partnership with the Royal Entomological Society.

DVLA Code Challenge 2018.

The 2018 competition is now launched across Wales! Fabulous prizes on offer for schools.
 Please spread the news to any school contacts (Primary and Secondary). You may be parent or have links with local schools. The website address is the same as last year:
 It holds all the information schools need to register for the competition, how to enter and the themes, there is also a downloadable A5 Flyer!  This year both Primary and Secondary schools are eligible: there will be two competitions running side by side – one for the 7-11 year olds and the other for the 11-14 year old.
 All themes are open to all age groups, the only difference is, that the 7-11 year olds can only use SCRATCH (same as last year), but the 11-14 year olds may choose any language they wish.
 Closing date for entries is midnight on 12 October 2018

Funding opportunities

Applications for Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving community funding scheme 2018 open on 1 May. This year a total fund of £82,500 is available to help small groups and organisations make a difference in their neighbourhood.

Applications can be made online here from 1 May and will close on 31 July. Groups can prepare their application by reading through the FAQs on this website and checking the entry criteria.

Last year 164 groups received funding pots of £500 to help them build a brighter future in their local communities. In 2017, hundreds of community groups, clubs and organisations from across the UK applied to Grassroots Giving and a record 40,000 votes were cast online and in Skipton’s branches by the publi

IoP logo             IOP School Grant Scheme 

The IoP small grants scheme provides schools with grants of up to £600 for projects or events linked to the teaching or promotion of physics or engineering. The scheme is open to all UK educational institutions (schools and colleges) catering for pupils/students in the age range 5-19.

Run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (formerly PPARC and CCLRC), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institute of Physics.

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