A Gateshead primary school’s drive to create a community science and technology hub has been given a major boost through the donation of a dozen laptops.
Independent tech consultancy Opencast, headquartered in Newcastle, donated the MacBooks to help Bill Quay Primary School raise the profile of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and to help refurbish an outbuilding known as ‘The STEM Shed’.
The MacBooks donation, facilitated by Tyneside business technology specialist CMYK, will also help the school compete in this year’s VEX World Robotics Championships, which will take place in Texas in the spring.
VEX Robotics is an international robot-building programme that provides pupils with exciting, robotics challenges that enhance STEM skills through hands-on, student-centred learning. Last year, Bill Quay pupils took part in numerous VEX competitions throughout the north east which led to them competing in the national finals in Telford and then the international finals in Dallas, Texas.
Under the guidance of key stage 2 teacher and STEM lead Gina Dye, the school’s VEX robotics team is hoping to do the same again in 2024. The team has already qualified for the national championships.
Gina said: “We’re thrilled to receive 12 MacBooks from Opencast and CMYK. They will be well-utilised within school to enhance our provision in computing, technology, music technology and science learning, particularly in key stage 2 classes.
“As a school we are dedicated to developing and fostering our pupils’ enjoyment of the STEM subjects, and as part of our vision we plan to refurbish an out-building which was previously used as a dining centre.
“It is a lovely old building which is currently an under-utilised space which would make a perfect ‘community STEM hub.’ However, it does require a complete overhaul internally in order to make it a pleasant space for a class of children to learn in.
“Our aim is to provide a space where students, parents, teachers, and members of the community can come together, exchange knowledge, and participate in STEM-related projects. This shared learning environment will not only benefit our students but also make a positive impact on the community. The MacBooks will be used within this hub for coding, music technology and data-logging to name just a few uses for this fantastic resource.”