2020 Reflections #ClosingTheGap

Six months since we made our commitment to helping to close the attainment gap, we have been reflecting on how the education landscape has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have experienced an unprecedented year, with huge challenges in all areas of their practice. From logistics to blended learning- it has been a year like no other. UNESCO modelling showed that at the height of school closures, more than 1.5 billion learners were affected- that’s over 90% of students across the world. The effects of this disruption to education will continue to be felt for a very long time to come.

As an organisation, we seek to use the context of elite sport to raise aspirations, develop critical thinking skills and resilience in order to grow self- belief in young people. This skills focus will become imperative to ensuring the young people of today are able to compete in a jobs market where employers are increasingly lamenting the gap between what our schools are delivering and what is actually required in the workplace.

As we continue to develop our online learning hub- STEM Crew, embedding key soft skills into our teaching resources will be of ultimate benefit to young people. STEM is an effective vehicle to teaching those skills. We give young people the tools to succeed in STEM subjects, which in turn, improves their critical thinking skills and resilience. By making connections to the real world, students are able to make sense of key concepts in STEM subjects. Through carrying out investigative work on STEM Crew, they are able to grow a range of character skills and by engaging in our investigative activities, students learn how to examine problems and then create a plan to solve them.

According to the Edge report on ‘the impact of COVID 19 on education’  92% of parents and 96% of teachers agreed that education should help develop a range of skills like critical thinking and communication. These opinions wholly resonate with our philosophy at STEM Crew and embedding the soft skills forms part of our ongoing strategy to give young people an experience which best equips them for a future steeped in technology.

‘The most striking thing that parents and teachers agree upon is that they want this pandemic to lead to a much broader and more rounded education, which helps children to develop a range of skills and positive values, and is grounded in real world examples and practical opportunities.’  Edge Report. At STEM Crew, we strive to be part of the solution with exciting real world contexts, using positive role models who showcase a range of skills and attributes, we aim to continue to inspire a generation of young people.

We remain committed to closing the attainment gap for young people. Since June, we:

  • Created new content, including video transcripts, for teachers to provide to young people not able to get online.
  • Signposted teachers to our new portal pupil, which allowed young people to access STEM Crew resources over the summer holidays.
  • Delivered a day of online lessons based on our new INEOS 1:59 Running Challenge for children of key workers in school and over 500 of their peers at home.
  • Launched a new ZERO Days programme, supported by INEOS, to help keep schools open by promoting positive Covid-related behaviour in schools.
  • Secured funding to run face-to-face roadshow experiences in the Spring and Summer Term 2021.

Read our closing the gap statement here.