Children from St. Wenn and Mylor Bridge primary schools launch Rocket Cars as part of the Bloodhound programme

 

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The Children from St. Wenn and Mylor Bridge primary schools with teachers and the course Rocketeers.

Following on from my ‘who doesn’t want to build a Rocket Car’ post, part of the second day of the course had was about running the classes and the racing with children involved. No better way of learning than having real children to teach what we had learned the previous day.

Two primary schools came, St. Wenn and Mylor Bridge. In total there were 20 children eager to design and launch their Rocket Car. It was amazing to see how engaged these children were to learn about aerodynamics, how rockets worked and how a better shape can make a car go faster. It was so much fun, I think they actually forgot they were learning something!

After they had designed, cut and shaped their Rocket Cars it was time to launch them. You could not help by smile where you heard squeals of delight as each Rocket Car shot off down the 50m track.

For me, it was an amazing couple of days. Best of all is I qualified and now can help run some of the race events planned in Cornwall which will result in one primary and one secondary going to the national finals.

Huge thanks to the Bloodhound Team trainers, who were brilliant. Thanks also go to Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre who were our hosts and were brilliant too. 

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Young people in Cornwall will get to be part of the Bloodhound experience

The Bloodhound Project is a British led endeavour to break the world land speed record of   1,000mph in South Africa. The project is not just about breaking a record, but to inspire the next generation to enjoy, explore and get involved in STEM subjects. You can find out more HERE.

Cornwall is very lucky in that the Bloodhound is coming here to do some major test before it embarks on its journey to South Africa. Not wanting to lose this fantastic opportunity, I am keen for young people in Cornwall to be part of that history. It will be the chance to see first-hand engineering at the highest level and a great opportunity to get students excited about STEM.

Therefore, we at Cornwall Council want our young people to be part of the model rocket car competition. This will enable young people to work as a team and get hands on experience of programming and aerodynamics in one of the most fun ways possible.

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Credit: Flock and Siemens

So far, 3,672 children from 94 schools, including children Elective Home Educated across Cornwall have registered to take part in a model rocket car competition being staged as part of the Bloodhound Project.

Children from schools across Cornwall will compete as part of 918 teams at approximately five race HUBs.  The goal is simple – the two fastest primary and secondary teams to compete in the model rocket care competition open days being held during February and March 2017 will be invited to the regional finals in March 2017.  The fastest primary and secondary team at each regional final will then go to the finals in June.

The winning team nationally will get an all-inclusive trip to South Africa to spend a week with the BLOODHOUND race team, plus a cash prize of £1,000.

This builds into one of the key priorities in Cornwall Council’s Education Strategy and its Raising Aspirations and Achievements Strategy (RAAS) is to secure high quality provision, widen local opportunities and promote equalities.  The Council has been working with local partners to bring this project to Cornwall to help meet this priority and to encourage more of our young people into STEM related subjects. I hope by the Bloodhound coming to Cornwall, it will inspire young people to be engineers of the future.

For me, I get to be one of the rocketeers and will be doing the Rocket Car Accredited Training over the next few days. I am very excited to be doing this!!

More information about the project is available from http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/education

 

Raising Aspiration and Achievement in Cornwall

Since I have been in my post as Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, one of the primary aims of the Directorate – and therefore the Council – is to raise the aspiration and achievement of our children and young people in Cornwall. I believe that all our children and young people are entitled to the best possible life chances. This can be achieved by enhancing their access to the highest quality educational opportunities, underpinned by challenging aspirations to not just their expect potential, but beyond.

The Raising Aspiration and Achievement Strategy (RAAS) will ensure that high aspiration for all children and young people are shared with families, and across all strands of education from Early Years to Primary and Secondary Schools and Further and Higher Education institutions. This includes high quality and impartial Information, Advice and Guidance. Which is very good in some areas, but not across the board. 

Put simply; raising aspiration and achievement is everybody’s business.

The strategy focuses on a small number of specific priority areas where we are underperforming and aims to drive up standards so that Cornwall’s performance is not merely average, or below average. I believe  it is not good enough to aspire to just being average.

These priorities (in brief) are:

  • High aspiration for all children and young people, particularly the most able
  • Attainment and progress of boys particularly in the secondary phase
  • closing the cap for vulnerable groups
  • school organisation and sustainability for schools

In some Key Stage areas, Cornwall is ‘on target’ in some of the key stages. For Key Stage 1 and 2 is at or just above the national average for 2013. In Key Stage 4 there is a trend of improvement from 2012 when 55.4% (national average 59.4%) of students achieved 5 + A-C including maths and English to 59.3% in 2013 (national average 58.6%).  This is an improvement of 4% and near 1% above the national average. But as I have said before, we should not aspire to be average. But this improvement should be welcomed.

The gender gap is a real area of concern. Whilst girls have achieved at or above the national average, boys performance is of greater concern as they advance through their educational life.

  • Key Stage 4 – 5+ A* – C  (including English and Maths): Girls – 64.9% –  Boys – 72%
  • Higher Educational Degree (2011/12): Girls – 57% – Boys – 43%

The gap for those young people on Job Seekers Allowance is stark (under 25 – As of Feb 2013): Girls – 940 – Boys 1930

This is why the RAAS is important to raising aspirations and achievement in our children and young people. However, this is just the start, as any strategy is just a document. it is what you do with that document that counts. For the RAAS to be successful  it will need everyone working together throughout the educational stages  if we want to give our children and young people the best possible start educationally. By doing this it enable our children and young people to fulfil their full potential.