Bath MP Wera Hobhouse visited the after-school STEM club at Roundhill Primary, and was full of praise for the pupils and the school.
“I was so impressed at the enthusiasm of the children, as they explained to me what they were doing. Their future success in life will be built on these key skills of collaboration, creativity, analytical thinking and problem solving.”
Richard Scaiff from the STEM Factory, who runs the club, said: “As a former teacher, I understand how important STEM education is, and this is where the STEM Factory can help schools like Roundhill Primary. We aim to deliver outstanding STEM activities to inspire and ignite the STEM spark in students.”
On display were robotics and video game programming. In one area, pupils explained the assembly of robotic modules to build a multi-function robot, whilst in another area, pupils showed Wera how they were programming a video game level.
Wera said: “I recently attended a business breakfast hosted by the tech companies in Bath. We always think of Bath’s main employers being Tourism and Education, but we have a thriving Tech sector, and they need our support as well. We need to be producing young people with key skills in coding and programming, and with an innate understanding of robotics and artificial intelligence, to support these modern businesses. Especially as the starting salaries in some of these jobs can be very rewarding offering great career prospects.”
Richard Godfrey from Bath based firm Rocketmakers said: "As the CEO of a software design firm, I'm very aware that the teaching of programming in schools needs to be taken more seriously. Industry leaders need to get involved, as too many schools have gone decades without teaching programming, whilst countries like India and the US are investing heavily in these areas. The skills are simply not there among teachers after so long. We need to find ways to support the curriculum as it is being taught."
Wera added: “Seeing these Roundhill students today, aged between 7 and 10, and the work they are doing with the STEM Factory has given me great confidence in the future. I hope more Primary Schools follow suit. I also hope that our local tech businesses get involved as well, for instance by sponsoring places for more pupils to access this opportunity.”