STEM Newsletter for Secondary Schools in Wales

June 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.


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

CREST Awards
At the end of April we received the fantastic news that the Welsh Government will continue funding the CREST Award programme in Wales for the year 2018-2019. All Discovery, Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards will be free of charge. This extends the period of opportunity for teachers and pupils in Secondary schools across Wales to get involved with the programme and experience for themselves the benefit and enjoyment of hands-on STEM project work.
Young people in the rest of the UK are charged for the Awards, with the Gold Award costing £20 per student. For more information, go to

If your school have never run CREST Awards before, there is an opportunity over the
next few months to have support from See Science to run a Discovery Day with a whole year group. These are ideal for collapsed timetable days and there is a choice of themes, all of which have cross-curricular elements.
To register your interest for a supported Discovery Day, contact Llinos at

The CREST Award programme is administered by the British Science Association – read their press release below:

 Welsh Government funds national science programme for young people
Monday 23 April 2018: The Welsh Government has today (23 April 2018) announced that it will continue its support of the British Science Association’s (BSA) flagship education programme, the CREST Awards. They will cover the cost of CREST for all secondary school students in Wales.

The CREST Awards is an education programme that allows children to get hands-on experience of behaving like a scientist, giving recognition and rewarding project work in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. It enables young people to develop key skills such as problem-solving and team work, as well as enhancing their STEM knowledge.
The funding provided by the Welsh Government for 2018-2019 will enable the BSA to continue to offer free CREST Awards to all secondary-aged Welsh students, targeting resources to reach more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from demographics underrepresented in STEM.
The BSA will be working with Welsh education partners to support teachers who are new to CREST to organise and deliver a Discovery Day in their school. This will allow teachers who don’t know about CREST to find out more and be part of the programme.

Jane Dowden, Education Innovations Manager of the British Science Association, said: “The CREST Awards is a great scheme for young people to engage in a fun and informative learning experience, where they can explore STEM subjects openly and freely. We’re extremely thankful of the Welsh Government for their continued support of the CREST Awards. Their funding means that more people will be able to take part in a scheme with a proven track record of improving grades and sparking an interest in science.”
Wales is curren
tly the only location in the UK in which schools and secondary-aged students can undertake CREST Awards completely free of charge. Since 2015, funding from the Welsh Government has supported 5,000 students to achieve a CREST Award in Wales.

Milk and More
Teachers and STEM Ambassadors from the Caerphilly area were recently treated to a tour and tasting session at Castle Dairies where welsh butter is churned and packaged. It was a great opportunity to gain an insight into the world of food manufacturing at this family owned company.
Marcus Beard, the New Product Development Manager, gave a short presentation giving us an overview of the company, its products and the manufacturing process before taking us on a tour of the facility. It was an eye-opener for some of us to realise how much preparation goes into ensuring that all food safety and hygiene requirements are met by any person who visit
s the dairy - we all looked great in our labcoats, white wellies and hairnets! 
Although the dairy isn’t large enough for groups of pupils to visit, the intention is for STEM Ambassadors based there to visit schools as well as to produce an informative video showing different aspects of the company and the manufacturing process that will be available for all teachers to use in their classrooms.
Attendees were also given resources to run a brand new workshop, Milk and More, which introduces biochemical science for KS2/3 audiences. It consists of 4 different hands-on milk based activities, as well as some ideas of other food-related experiments, all suitable for use within lesson time or as STEM Club activities. The resources will be available to download from the See Science website by September.


Soapbox Science Cardiff
The annual public engagement event took place on Saturday June 2nd. This is an opportunity for female STEM professionals to profile their work in the City Centre, using a ‘Soapbox stand’ to talk to passing shoppers about their work. The event was organised by STEM Ambassador Helen Reardon. Through the STEM Ambassador coordinator and her own network, 7 STEM Ambassadors took part.
It was also an opportunity for fellow STEM Ambassadors to meet and network at the event. Each talk of 30 minutes was well attended by p
assing public, the event is estimated to engage with 1000 family groups.
You’re never too young to support #womeninscience – while listening to the brilliant STEM Ambassador Emma Yhnell

STEM Ambassador Lisa Whittaker

International experience of STEM

French teacher, Ffion McCarthy  at Lewis School. Pengam requested STEM Ambassadors to help demonstrate the relevance, of studying French in conjunction with STEM subjects at GCSE, this month. 40 Year 8 boys were able to meet and question STEM Ambassadors in preparation for choosing their GCSE options.
Christopher Squire who speaks fluent French and has used his skills in a number of different roles across the world, volunteered to advise and support the pupils.
Chris skilfully answered the pupils questions and talked to them about the various countries he’d worked in, during his time at Tata Steel. The pupils also took part in a workshop, designed to help them think about situations where French would be a distinct advantage in the workplace.
Ffion McCarthy explained the importance of visitors coming into school to talk about their experiences; as well as the value of French when looking for future careers.  She went on to say about Chris’s visit:
“Thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions and for highlighting the possibilities available to pupils both locally and internationally”.


Teacher and pupil opportunities

Welsh Physics Teachers Conference Brecon


                             3 October 2018

The 17th Annual Welsh Physics Teachers Conference – A free day of presentations and workshops for teachers and technicians
A wonderful opportunity for teachers and technicians to take part in a wide variety of physics CPD activities. This free day of workshops is open to all teachers, technicians, newly qualified and trainee teachers.
Talks include:
  • Dr Paul Hardaker CEO Institute of Physics London
  • Ben Ryan - Founder and CEO Ambionic, Anglesey, North Wales – Bionic boy
  • Choice of 8 workshops including Curriculum workshop, Gender Balance, ,Maths for Physics, Flipped Learning, Games and Puzzles and Fun Physics
More information and booking here

Welsh Chemistry Teachers’ Conference

27 June. Swansea University

The Royal Society of Chemistry in partnership with Swansea University are offering a free day of presentations, discussions and workshops for teachers of chemistry. The conference is open to all teachers, technicians, newly qualified teachers and trainee teachers.

This year’s theme is Transition – from GCSE to A-level and from A-level to University.

Come along and discuss issues relevant to your own class teaching, discover the latest developments in chemical science research and learn more about the support and resources available to help you teach chemistry.

Teachers from UK state funded schools, academies and colleges are eligible for a £150 ENTHUSE Bursary thanks to STEM Learning Ltd.

Book here

Soap box Science Swansea June 23rd
Soapbox Science enters its 8th year in 2018, and promises to bring a summer of excitement, fun, and fantastic science. This year we are growing and expanding to be bigger and better than before, with events organised across the world. On top of this, Soapbox Science is exploring new avenues with six Art & Science events taking place in art festivals around the UK.
What is Soapbox Science?
Soapbox Science is grass-roots science outreach organisation that brings cutting edge research onto urban streets whilst also promoting the visibility of women in science. We place inspirational speakers on soapboxes and encourage them to engage in and start conversations with the public about their work. Swansea
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:

Martin Pike at Ysgol Santes Helen
Thanks very much for your session on light and sound. The children were enthused after your visit and could answer lots of questions about your presentation.
I gave the Governors a verbal report on the positive feedback from the children following your visit.
Thanks again
Eirian Roberts

STEM Ambassador Alun Armstrong
 Just to let you know that I spent a very enjoyable day yesterday [sporting my STEM badge :-) ]   as an assessor at the Primary Schools Jaguar challenge event.  The year 5 and 6 pupils were wonderfully enthusiastic.
Survival and Navigation at Crickhowell Primary
‘It has made me want to go and find out more about the Storm Petrel - I have so many questions following Renata and Rob’s excellent talk’. Mrs Witherstone Crickhowell Primary 

Competitions and resources

The Nancy Rothwell Award.                RSB logo

The Nancy Rothwell Award celebrates specimen drawing in schools and highlights the benefits of combining art and science.

There are three age categories (7-11, 12-14, and 15-18) and prizes are awarded

The overall winner in each category will be awarded a set of drawing pencils, a certificate and £25. The winners’ schools will also each receive £100.

imagesBoth highly commended entrants and winners will be invited to an experience day at the Royal Veterinary College.

Each entrant may submit one drawing. Please only submit a photograph or scan of your drawing, as any original artwork will not be returned. Entrants are encouraged to label their drawings.

The Award will close for entries on 10 September 2018. Teachers can download a poster for the competition here and a PowerPoint presentation here to use in their art/science lessons to inspire their students’ drawings.

If you have any queries please email Raghav Selvam

IET Photography Competition 2018
The IET has launched its annual photography competition for 2018 in a bid to dispel the traditional image of hard hats and dirty overalls and show the innovative, imaginative and cool world of engineering – and we want young people to enter
Participants can submit a maximum of five photos across any of the following five categories: Design & Production, Digital, Environment & Energy, Structures and Transport. 

A panel of judges will look at every entry and award prizes to five youth winners (16 and under) and five adult winners (17 and over). An overall winner across all categories and ages will then be selected for an extra cash prize. 

For more information and to enter please visit the website Please read the terms and conditions and email your entry form and photograph(s) to Please include your full name, date of birth and age, address, phone number and email address. Image captions are optional. 

The deadline for entries is Friday 28 September 2018

Plate tectonic stories – competition

The Geological Society is inviting all primary, secondary and 6th form college geography, geology, science, technology, art and even dance classes to get involved and tell us a plate tectonic story of your own by creating something that brings plate tectonics to life and demonstrates some of the processes involved!

Plate tectonics underpins all processes operating on Earth so students could angle their work at volcanoes, seismic waves, heat transfer, radioactive decay, Earth materials – whatever they find interesting and whatever suits their subject! Entries to the competition will receive a free educational classroom poster as well as the chance of winning £150 worth of Earth science related books for their school. More here.

Nominations open for CPD Awards 2018 

The Science Council’s CPD Awards are back for the fourth successive year.

The CPD awards are designed to celebrate the professional development efforts and achievements of registrants across the four Science Council registers: Registered Science Technician (RSciTech), Registered Scientist (RSci), Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach). Find out more about the 2017 award winners here.

Once again this year, nominations can be made by licensed professional bodies, by employers and also by individual. In particular, individuals can either self-nominate or nominate someone they know.

All nominations must be made using this online nomination form.

Nominations close on Friday 20 July 2018 at 12pm. Winners will be notified in early September and the awards ceremony held in October.

Other information
Grants to Promote Use of Tap Water (UK)
Grants of between £300 and £3,000 are available to Schools, Colleges and Universities for projects that significantly reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and plastic waste.

The Tap Water Awards aim to support projects that develop new solutions to replace pre-existing systems that rely on plastic and promote the use of tap water. Grants are available to support educational establishments install mains fed drinking water machines and using reusable bottles. The Awards will however not pay for activities or services that schools have a statutory responsibility to provide.

Applications can be submitted at any time.


Ernest Cook Trust Grants Programme (UK)

            ECT logo
Schools wishing to encourage young people’s interest in the countryside – and literacy, numeracy and science – can apply for funding to the Ernest Cook Trust (ECT).

  • The small grants programme (under £4,000) 
  • The large grants programme (grants between £4,000 and £12,000)
At the Autumn meeting, projects covering environment and countryside, and literacy and STEM subjects are considered. Applications for the Autumn meeting must be received by 31 July 2018. More here.
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