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News: Aston Academy and Herringthorpe Infants win Rotherham Ready STEM Challenge

Posted on: November 26th, 2014

Parkgate Shopping and nearby Aston Academy are celebrating their achievements in winning the Secondary and FE category of the most recent STEM Challenge set by Rotherham’s children’s and young people’s enterprise project Rotherham Ready.

Against strong competition from other schools in the town to design, produce and market a suitable product around the theme Safe Living – Protecting People and Places the ingenious and enterprising 12 year-olds, encouraged by Parkgate’s Nigel Keenlyside and the school’s STEM co-ordinator, Kevin Maskrey, wowed judges with their range of cycle lamps.

The Year 7 group divided themselves into all the roles that they believed would make a successful business, and went about their task with determination and flair. Above all they used their STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) knowledge to master all the materials, technology and statistics required to develop their product.

STEM mentor Nigel Keenlyside commented: “The whole process has given Aston and all the other participants a unique insight into the importance of STEM to so many walks of life. They now recognise that to progress in many careers they need to master a knowledge and understanding of its diverse possibilities.”

Congratulations also go to Herringthorpe Infants and their mentor Kara Chapman of the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop for winning the Infants and Primary category with their bee house and creative use of flowers to attract the bees. They created a video diary to show the judges how they had worked in teams, carried out market research and contacted the tradesman to make their prototype.


Winning either category was not easy with stiff competition from Kiveton Park Meadows Juniors and Winterhill School who also demonstrated innovation, creativity and excellent presentation skills. The judges, Andrew Kemp Managing Director of Isopharm, Dave Wilde, Environmental Consultant, Jack Barton, Creative Director of The Screening Project and Rachel Nicholls, Deputy Principal at RCAT were all impressed with the high standard demonstrated by the schools.

Other STEM mentors supporting the schools were Infintiy Digital and Visualisedit ,both successful businesses in the digital industries and supported by Rotherham Youth Enterprise young entrepreneurs scheme. Rotherham College of Art and Design who hosted the event also inspired the children with a tour of their excellent industry standard performance and media studios, fantastic for anyone interested in music, media, performance, art and design and animation.

Well done and thank you to all the pupils, teachers, judges and STEM mentors for taking such an enterprising approach to STEM. We look forward to working you all again in the future.