Bloodhound SSC News

24th January 2017




Friday, 20 January, 2017

Working in a school can be a manic experience. Workload is high, events can be unpredictable and there is a never-ending to-do list. This is where STEM Ambassadors come in. Experts in their field, the Ambassadors have a unique role to play in the promotion of vital technical subjects at all school levels, as Richard Howard, Deputy Head at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Poole, explains.

The value of a good Ambassador to a school is immense. Not only can they have a profound impact on the promotion of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), they can also make a real difference to those children who have a thirst for knowledge in these areas.

Sean Noonan, a STEM Ambassador who works with a number of Dorset schools, can attest to this following a recent visit which he led to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Sean had spent the previous year working on range of BLOODHOUND Project inspired activities with children aged 6 to 11. Demand for sessions always outstripped supply and so, when it came to Goodwood, Sean was able to draw from a deeply knowledgeable and enthusiastic group of pupils.

Making the most of Goodwood

The BLOODHOUND show car at Goodwood provided the centrepiece for the children’s experience of the festival. Having already watched inspiring videos, discussed the mechanical breakthroughs and demonstrated an understanding of the forces they experience every day, the children came into the marquee well versed in the “Inspiring a generation” philosophy.

Sean had previously worked with the children on their own versions of BLOODHOUND using an excellent kit provided by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. This ensured that the children were exceptionally knowledgeable about the next stage in their BLOODHOUND journeys, which was to be racing their own vehicles adjacent to the main marquee.

In a day full of highlights, this experience was really the defining moment for the children. It was incredibly rewarding to see them so engaged with the task, given how much else there was to distract them nearby.

The legacy of their time at Goodwood, as well as the work that Sean has done since the start of the project, is that this year will see the school’s very first STEM club being run after school. As the STEM Ambassador, Sean has a vision for this club which will inspire not only the next group to visit Goodwood, but all those who want to step forward into a future shaped by their own ideas.

What’s in it for Ambassadors?

Working alongside qualified teaching staff, Ambassadors are able to make the most of their own areas of expertise, but can also discover and expand on other exciting areas of the curriculum.

Projects can be varied in size, working with a few able children to whole year groups or schools; a huge range of options are available and can be easily set by the preferences of the Ambassador for the size of the role they wish to take on.

As well as the obvious benefits to the Ambassador’s CV, there are many other factors that make this role so rewarding and worthwhile. Children, particularly primary age children, tend to view the world in a fascinating way and this can lead to new insights on familiar topics, as well as questions that can confound even the expert.