Secondary Schools  Wales Newsletter April 2017

STEM Newsletter for secondary schools in Wales                                              April 2017

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.

 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.

Latest STEM news

Big Bang events North and South Wales

These prestigious annual events took place this year on 28 March at The Venue Llandudno and 3 April in Liberty Stadium Swansea.  Year 12 pupils presented research projects, problem solving challenges set by an employer. Pupils work on the projects for over 3 months under the mentorship of an industry / academic partner. For pupils this is a high quality experience and this year the standards of projects all achieved Gold CREST Awards in addition to Big Bang accreditation

24 pupil teams presented at Llandudno and 77 teams at the Swansea event. STEM Ambassadors play a significant role in this event, both as team mentors and judges for CREST and Big Bang Cymru awards.
STEM Ambassadors Alistair Hughes and Paul Johnson joined Keith Jones as Gold Crest Judges in North Wales, Rhian Ashton and David Hargreaves attended in South Wales. “the standard of projects and pupil dialogue was impressive, it was such a valuable experience for pupils, and a privilege to meet such accomplished teams” Rhian Ashton

Ysgol Caergybi students were nominated for three out of seven awards in the Big Bang Competition, winning “Project with the Most Commercial Potential” sponsored by the Welsh Government. The students also took home the trophy as overall winners on the day, putting them forward to the finals of the Big Bang competition at the NEC in 2018.
June Strydhorst, STEM Ambassador commented on the students’ achievement; “The students have done a fantastic job in coming up with a real, worthwhile solution, projects like this are great opportunities to showcase what STEM is all about and the variety of careers open to young people.”
STEM Ambassador Mark Lewney presented his show Rock Guitar in 11 dimensions, many STEM Ambassadors attended on behalf of their employer at the event.
STEM Ambassador Mentors included:
  • Natasha Kahrbanda Mott Macdonald: Coleg Llandrillo & Bassaleg School
  • Dr Dave Perkins & Cameron Gray Bangor University: Eirias High School and Ysgol Glan Clwyd
  • Helen Lloyd – Kerfoot Airbus: Coleg Cambria & Alun School
  • Dylan Herbert Scottish Power: Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen
  • June Strydhorst, Steve Evans  BAE Systems : Ysgol Caergybi
  • Jessica Jones Sony: Cynffig Comprehensive
  • David Emm ARUP:  Cardiff and Vale College
  • Emilie Bilbie PDR: Howells School
  • Laura Harvey, Rafid Marzan, Alex Mesny GE Aviation: Llanishen High & Whitchurch High
  • Paul Lindsay Aerospace Wales: Ysgol Plasmawr
  • Simon Biggs Renishaw: Haberdashers School & Monmouth School
  • Delwyn Morgan General Dynamics: Monmouth Comprehensive
  • Dr Ian Mabbett Swansea University: Gowerton School
Congratulations to Ysgol Caerybi, Alun School, Monmouth School, Haberdashers, Cardiff and Vale, Cynffig School who all won in their categories.
STEM Ambassadors interested in supporting a school for the 2018 event, please make enquires at
BioWales – Biotech Conference

BioWales is the flagship event for the life sciences sector in Wales, returned to the Wales Millennium Centre on 7-8 March 2017.
The theme of this year’s event was Health and Wealth, where the unique opportunities in Cell Therapy, Regenerative Medicine and Medical Technology are empowering patients and professionals through better services and information on a global scale. 

Attendees  included global companies (Sony, GE Healthcare, Phillips, Siemens Diagnostics, Renishaw), innovative SMEs, VCs, NHS health boards, universities, international networks and business support organisations.
This year the event piloted a student – STEM Ambassador networking session. 80 Year 11 pupils from Llanishen High and Ysgol Garth Olwg met STEM Ambassadors Jon Bloom, Steve Capper, Emma Dalton, Penny Owen and Mihil Patel.
STEM Ambassadors rotated around the groups discussing their varied career paths in Life Sciences with the pupils.  Feedback from pupils was very positive ‘Meeting these role models has been really beneficial, seeing how chemistry and biology fits together and how it advances is useful, I want a career in science and I enjoyed it’ pupil Llanishen High School

Encouraging women and
girls into STEM


On Monday, 13 March, leaders from business, academia and the Welsh Government, joined  forces at the Senedd, Cardiff to tackle head on the lack of women in STEM in Wales, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal and Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science.

The WISE Celebration of Talented Women brought together ministers, academics, businesses and schools who are backing the Welsh Government commissioned report to address STEM skills shortages by getting more women and girls into science, technology and engineering.

The report highlights challenges in education – which range from few primary school teachers having STEM backgrounds to the poor take-up of girls studying physics and computer science A-Levels – and in the workplace, leading to women working in less than one in six STEM jobs.

Helen Wollaston, chief executive of the WISE campaign which organised the event and which campaigns for gender balance in STEM, said: “Wales has an impressive number of female scientists in top positions, including the Chief Scientific Adviser and the newly appointed deputy vice chancellor at Cardiff University. They are living proof that choosing science opens doors. Today’s event is an opportunity for us all to work with the Welsh Government, education and industry to get a positive message out to the next generation of girls in Wales and their families, inspiring them to choose science, technology and engineering for a brighter future.”

At the event Royal patron of WISE, HRH The Princess Royal  met 50 girls from eight Welsh schools taking part in People Like Me sessions. These allow girls to define themselves by adjectives – such as organised, creative or friendly. They then relate their personality types to careers in STEM and discuss these with young women working in STEM jobs.

Panel discussions included Trudy Norris-Grey, chair of WISE and MD, worldwide business development at Microsoft, Helen Samuels, director of engineering at Network Rail, La-Chun Lindsay, MD at GE Aviation Wales, Sharon James, Senior Vice President R&D, RB (Reckitt Benckiser), Chris Jones, chief executive of Welsh Water and Helen Wollaston.

Encouraging women into STEM makes economic sense, says Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science: “The under-representation of women in the STEM workforce is a critical issue for Wales. The recommendations in the ‘Talented Women for a Successful Wales’ report go some way to try and address this need and everyone has a role to play to encouraging more women and girls to pursue STEM opportunities and careers.”

HRH The Princess Royal  met students from St Julian’s School, Newport; Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni - Heol Gelli Haf, Blackwood; Blackwood Comprehensive School, Lliswerry High School, Newport; Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr, Cardiff; Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg, Barry; Rhymney Comprehensive, Tredegar; Ebbw Fawr Learning Community, Ebbw Vale and Cynffig Comprehensive, Bridgend

Teacher and pupil opportunites

The Science of Dragons Roadshow

Science2Life has been awarded, in partnership with See Science, funding from the Welsh Government to deliver the Science of Dragons Show in primary and secondary schools across Wales until March 2018.
The next tour will be in North Wales 3-8th July 2017 and South Wales  4th -13th October 2017

Viking history, legend and dragon lore inspired Cressida’s How to Train Your Dragon series and just like Cressida’s stories, Scientific Sue aims to transport her audiences back in time to a fictional world where Vikings ruled and dragons roamed.

This innovative and interactive show explores how dragons can be captured using a crossbow, trained and then used to defeat the enemy tribe; The Meatheads!

Scientific Sue needs lots of volunteers to help her investigate and explore the science of how dragons fly and then, using some of the science behind the different dragon fire types (steam, icy fog, explosive gases, flammable liquids and of course big flames).

Available FREE to all secondary (Year 7) schools in Wales in 2016 – 2018 thanks to funding from Welsh Government National Science Academy. Contact See Science if you would like the show to visit your school during the Summer Term 2017. To book email

“The teachers enjoyed the show as much as the children …. brilliantly put together and thoroughly engaging.” Ysgol Deganwy

“Just wanted to thank you again for an amazing show this morning. Having spoken to the pupils last lesson the feedback is very positive, they loved it!” Ysgol Gyfun Gartholwg

Living and Learning
with Water                                                      

4 May, 4.30-6.00pm. Cog Moors Water Treatement Works, Cardiff Road, Dinas Powys, Cardiff CF64 4TR

Join Wenna Gregory at Cog Moors Discovery Centre to see look at Biodiversity activites at Primary and KS3 level. There will be an opportunity to find out how to:

  • Use the outdoor environment to encourage healthy, confident individuals
  • Stimulate activities for ambitious capable learner
  • Encourage decision making, problem solving and group-work
  • Links to the Literacy and Numeracy Framework
  • Increase environmental awareness for global citizenship
  • Gain an understanding of Welsh Water and how it fits into life and work.

This FREE workshop aims to show what outdoor, fun and exciting learning activities that Welsh Water can offer your classes. Book here.

ASE Techmeet Swansea          

11 May, 2-4pm. Gowerton School, Cecil RoadGowerton, Swansea SA4 3DL

What is a TechMeet? A TechMeet is an informal gathering of technicians who are keen to share ideas. Everyone is invited to share ideas from their preprooms. There will hands on experiments and an opportunity to ask questions, or simply to soak up all the ideas and atmosphere. The main point of a TechMeet is to listen to ideas from technicians.

Timstar will also be presenting and interactive workshop at the Techmeet. For more information please contact

A teacher conference for all who teach physics in North Wales
The 10th IOP Conference at Bangor University 
Tuesday 4th July
Lecture: Bionic Boy
When Ben’s son had his arm amputated at 10 days old, he found the design and waiting time for a prosthetic arm unacceptable.  Beginning work in his shed he developed a better model, using an Xbox scanner and 3D printer. His aim through his company Ambionics is to help children everywhere adopt and continue to use prosthetics through into adulthood.
Ben Ryan Founder and CEO Ambionic, Anglesey, North Wales
Choose 3 workshops from:
Make and Take: Joule Thief (Dr Iestyn Pierce Head of Electronic Engineering Dept Bangor University)
Make and take: Build a solar spectroscope (David Grace IOP)
Virtual Reality tour of Diamond light source (Gary Williams IOP)
WJEC update (Helen Francis WJEC)
Astronomy Workshop (Prof Andy Newsam NSO Liverpool John Moores University)
Meteorites- A Thinking Skills in Science Mini-Project (Anthony Clowser Ysgol John Bright/IOP)
For a place e-mail Andrea Fesmer at


Welsh Chemistry Teachers' Conference

Wed 7 June, 9am – 4pm. Cardiff University Chemistry Department, Park place, Cardiff CF10 3AT

This is the first Welsh Chemistry Teachers conference, where we hope you will join us for subject specific talks, training, lab sessions and goodies.

Keynote speaker Professor Sir John Holman is experienced as a secondary school teacher, headteacher and as a government adviser, and founded the National Science Learning Centre. He is a Trustee of the Natural History Museum and Chair of the Salters Institute.

More details here or contact

ASE Visit to the Royal Mint  

13 June, 4.30pm.

A tour of The Royal Mint to discover the people and events behind the coins in your pocket, and hear some surprising stories from our history. Go behind the scenes at the world's leading export mint to follow the journey of a coin, from a blank to a bank Experience the sights, sounds and smells of thousands of glistening coins, hot off the press to the precision striking of more than 700 coins per minute. Learn about Sir Isaac Newton's innovations while Master of The Royal Mint and technological advances invested in the new 12-sided £1 coin.

Book here .                                                      

Competitions and resources

Youth  Grand Challenges                                
Help tackle global health issues with innovative solutions that could change the world! Get students to undertake CREST project work on a topic relating to the theme of infectious diseases.

We are looking for projects that:

  • Demonstrate good communication skills
  • Show innovation and creativity
  • Address a real-world problem

The winning projects will be awarded a money-can't-buy prize, ranging from an Adventure Science Show from Anturus for your whole school, a trip to an MRC research institution of your choice, to a fully funded place at the London International Youth Science Forum, and a top prize of a travel scholarship worth up to £5,000.

Closing date 26 September 2017.

Catch the Robots Bug!

Schools are invited to enter a new competition from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851:


It is a fun and simple competition to generate enthusiasm for robotics, engineering and STEM more widely. Aimed at upper primary/lower secondary schools, little or no equipment is required to enter, or prior knowledge about robots - it is all about conveying how exciting robots are through a simple presentation activity. 


The competition pack and prizes have been developed with the kind support of the Science Museum’s Robots exhibition. 


The first 100 schools to register  their interest will receive competition posters designed by the graphic artist Nick Hayes as well as a competition pack to help them with ideas; the first 50 entries will receive a copy of the Science Museum’s Super Intelligent, High-Tech Robot Book by Jon Milton; the competition winners will be able to meet one of three leading roboticists via Skype, and the overall winner will win a visit from the Science Museum’s outreach team.


This is a great way to boost interest in STEM subjects in schools and we hope as many schools and pupils as possible will consider entering. The deadline for entries is 26 May 2017. Details at #RobotsBug

Nancy Rothwell Award specimen drawing competition

The Nancy Rothwell Award specimen drawing competition for 7-18 year olds is now open. Student prizes include an experience day at the Royal Veterinary College and £25 plus their school can also win £250.

Please submit your entries electronically in either jpg, png or tiff format with a completed application form Closing date is  11th September 2017


Uncover Copper

This science competition is for students aged 11–16, with prizes of £100 for winners and £500 for their schools.

Jointly run by Copper Development Association and the Association for Science Education, the competition calls on students to explore copper in physics, biology and chemistry, creating a poster on one of three topics that each focus on a different aspect of copper in our modern lives. Full details here.

Choose one of the three categories and design an A3 poster that answers the questions, exploring the red metal’s applications and the chemical, physical and mechanical properties behind its use.

Post your entry to: Uncover Copper Competition, Copper Development Association, 5 Grovelands Business Centre, Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 7TE. Or email your entry as a PDF to
The deadline is 31 May 2017.

Sustainable solutions is a CREST Discovery activity that challenges students to work as a team to create a start-up business tackling the issues of climate change in their community, through the creation of an app, an invention or a communications campaign.

The resources below provides teachers with a step-by-step guide to running a Discovery Day and is suitable to run with one class, a science club, or with a whole year group.

You can download all the teacher and student documents. Resources are bilingual and available in both English and Welsh.

Sustainable solutions is a CREST Discovery activity that challenges students to work as a team to create a start-up business tackling the issues of climate change in their community, through the creation of an app, an invention or a communications campaign.

The resources below provides teachers with a step-by-step guide to running a Discovery Day and is suitable to run with one class, a science club, or with a whole year group.

You can download all the teacher and student documents. Resources are bilingual and available in both English and Welsh.

PAWB  Laser  Photonics  Summer  School  -  2017
School of Electronic Engineering,  Bangor University,  Dean Street,  Bangor,  Gwynedd,  LL57  1UT

Opportunities  for  the  acquisition  of  Photonics  Project  Experience  in  Observation ~ Investigation ~ Design ~ Construction
 The Annual PAWB Laser Photonics Design Summer School provides opportunities for Sixth Form Students to acquire personal experience and skills which are involved with the Design and Construction of highly innovative novel Applications of Low Power Laser Concepts
PASS 2017 is a free-to-attend Photonics Involvement, delivered by the Photonics Academy of Wales @ Bangor, and all that is requested in that each PASS 2017 Student is prepared to utilize their own Imagination and Ingenuity in the development of some original Photonics enterprise in the creation of a new Photonics Invention in 2017.
The PAWB Laser Photonics Summer School 2017 (PASS 2017) will commence on Monday 17th July 2017, and will finish FOUR weeks later, on Friday 11th August.  PASS 2017 Students taking part for the full FOUR weeks of PASS 2017 are recommended to apply, through their own School or College, for a Nuffield Student Bursary (to assist with any Travel Expenses), as well as applying for a post-project CREST (CREativity in Science and Technology) Gold Award.   All the necessary details about applying for both of these Awards are easily available on the two respective Web sites for Nuffield Bursary Awards and Crest Gold Awards.  PASS 2017 Students need to make their own individual applications for both of these Awards.
All Sixth Form Students who are interested in taking part in PASS 2017 should contact Ray Davis for an application form :e-mail to

Funding opportunities

Public Engagement Innovation Grant Scheme

The Royal College of Pathologists is looking for new projects that engage audiences such as school students, undergraduates, health professionals or local communities with pathology.

If you have an innovative idea which could help pathologists communicate the role they play in healthcare the RCP wants to hear from you. There is funding of £1,000 available.

Deadline for submissions is Monday 5 June 2017. More information here.


British Ecological Society outreach grants

This grant scheme will reopen in January 2017. Individuals and organisations including schools can apply for grants to promote ecological science to a wide audience (projects need to have significant outreach beyond schools).

The maximum award is £2,000. Read more…


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See Science / Gweld Gwyddoniaeth

8 St Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff CF10 3DD

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