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Children Challenging Industry

CIEC’s Children Challenging Industry Programme ignites the spark for science and engineering across Tees Valley primary schools

Children Challenging Industry is a unique programme offered to primary schools across Tees Valley, now celebrating its 25th year! The project is led by the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC) based at the University of York, in partnership with NEPIC and local industry. This exciting project provides a range of stimulating science activities set in industrial contexts designed to enhance both children’s and teachers’ understanding of science and industry.

Between April and December 2021, seven Tees Valley primary schools (with eight participating classes) have completed a total of forty hours of CPD and support by taking part in Children Challenging Industry, with funding from the Tees Valley Combined Authority as part of the Primary Careers Pilot. Participating schools so far include:

Grangetown Primary School (Middlesbrough), Linthorpe Primary School (Middlesbrough), St Patricks RC Voluntary Aided Primary School (Stockton on Tees), St George’s C of E Primary School (Darlington), Firthmoor Primary School (Darlington), Bishopton Redmarshall C of E Primary School (Stockton on Tees) and Preston Primary School (Stockton on Tees).

Comments from the children within these sessions included:

“It was fun, and I would like to do science experiments at home.”

“I told my parents that we learned how to make items that could be useful and learned how to find out how to improve the recipe or if it’s perfect the way it is.”

“I told my mam about how we made soap and all the ingredients, same with my dad.”

“It make you feel creative.”

“We learned new things and had fun.”

Upper key stage two classes in these schools have enjoyed two half-day classroom sessions, run by CIEC’s advisory teacher, plus one whole-staff science CPD session aimed at developing the ‘science capital’ of all children throughout the school.

The class teacher in each school has been supported to run a ‘middle’ session for which the advisory teacher provided plans and resources.  The learning experiences are linked to industrial storylines and encourage children to understand the uses and implications of science, including the variety of roles in science and engineering.

During the ongoing pandemic, whereby local companies have been unable to provide in-person site visits, online content in the form of ‘live interactions’ and video demonstrations has been provided from local scientists and engineers. This means that primary children and their teachers have been able to speak to local industrialists via virtual platforms such as Zoom or Teams, and ask them about their roles and career routes as well as share their own scientific discoveries from the practical activities they have been carrying out in the classroom.

Comments from the teachers within these sessions included:

“This was brilliant! The children loved the activities.”

“As a school, we really want to increase children’s Science capital and raise their career aspirations. It was brilliant that we were linked to a local company and the children could see how Science is used in industry in the real world.”

“We plan to link each Science lesson to a career/industry to show children the relevance of the science they do. We also plan to look for further CCI lessons and resources that link to the NC Science topics.”

“CCI is very effective… It shows the children the relevance of Science and raises their aspirations by highlighting industries and careers that they could become involved in.”

“I believe that I am able to teach science and STEM better after the sessions.”

The CCI project will continue to run with funding from TVCA for the remainder of this academic year, with a further 18 schools booked to participate during the spring and summer terms. For further information about Children Challenging Industry, please contact Nicky Waller at nicola.waller@york.ac.uk