At Magna Academy, we want to ensure students get the opportunity to experience the fascinating world of STEM within and outside regular academic study. Through a variety of enrichment and extracurricular activities, we endeavour to increase the uptake of STEM related subjects at A-level and progression into STEM related careers.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In education, it means the study of these subjects, either exclusively or in combination. In employment, STEM refers to a job requiring the application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills or a qualification in a relevant subject, or located in a particular industry or sector. There is no universally accepted definition in either setting.
Since the early 2000s there has been growing concern, including from the government, about how to achieve higher productivity and economic growth in an era of rapid technological change. Over time, this has generated the widely held belief that one of the UK’s key economic problems is a shortage of STEM skills in the workforce.
People can develop formal STEM skills and knowledge in different ways, either in an educational setting or in the workplace. This can be seen as a ‘pipeline’, through which learners move in order to acquire more advanced abilities. The key routes for developing STEM knowledge and skills are: schools and sixth-form colleges; further education colleges; apprenticeships, which mix work with formal off-the-job training; and higher education institutions.
STEM at Magna
Here at Magna Academy, we have engaged over the past five years in the annual Soroptimist STEM Challenge held at Bournemouth University.
This has been a very prestigious event to attend, with the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset handing out prizes and former PM Theresa May having written a personal letter of encouragement to the girls in competition. We have been so proud of our Science Department to have steered two Magna teams into the STEM finals.
Every year, the girls’ projects are excellent. Their confidence shines through as they share their smart thinking about STEM solutions in developing countries. As one of the speakers said at the ceremonial part of the evening in 2018, they balanced their passion for the science perfectly with well-articulated humanitarian concern for those people their projects would help.
Furthermore, the Soroptimist International group has done great work in advancing the cause of women in science when, in the UK, we are suffering a skills shortage. As a nation, we are beginning to recognise that gender pay gaps are holding us back from realising the full potential of our skills base. We live in interesting times, 100 years on from gaining the right to vote, in which the voices of women are asserting themselves as never before. The STEM Challenge is a perfect companion to these changing times.
When we talk with the girls competing for Magna, the consistent theme in their love of their STEM work was the high esteem they have for staff, for the many selfless hours and the passion they give to delivering these opportunities to them.
How we deliver STEM at Magna
- Subjects we offer
- School trips
- External visitors
- Careers Support
Ten STEM Key Facts
- £990m spent on, or committed to, key STEM-specific interventions between 2007 and autumn 2017
- 442,000 undergraduate enrolments in STEM subjects in 2015/16
- 24% of graduates in STEM subjects known to be working in a STEM occupation six months later
- 700,000 additional STEM technicians the Gatsby Charitable Foundation estimates will be needed to meet employer demand in the decade to 2024
- 112,000 STEM apprenticeship starts in 2016/17
- 8% of STEM apprenticeships started by women in 2016/17, despite women accounting for over 50% of all apprenticeship starts
- £80 million government investment in national colleges, including in high-speed rail; nuclear; onshore oil and gas; and digital
- 2.6% rise in the number of STEM A level examination entries in 2016/17 compared with the previous year
- 30.9% fall in the number of enrolments in part-time undergraduate STEM degrees between 2011/12 and 2015/16
- £200 million government capital investment in higher education STEM provision in 2015/16