The countdown to NSEW 2014
The countdown to NSEW 2014
By Faisal Khan, Head of Science at The Market Bosworth School, Leicestershire, and National Science & Engineering Week 2013 Best Secondary School Event Award winner.
What did you do for NSEW last month?
Much of the last month has been spent finalising our programme and the line-up of guests. One has to be flexible, as STEM ambassadors often finance the visit out of their own expenses and, unless supported by their place of work, without pay. Thankfully, very few visitors have had to drop out completely and all have been for legitimate reasons (e.g. self-employed with work commitments).
We ran a one-day event on February 14th, #InLoveWithEngineering, to see if there were any logistical issues that would need to be solved before our four-day event. We collaborated with EngineeringUK, By Design and the team behind The Big Bang Fairs and organised a one-day 'The Big Bang @ The Market Bosworth School' event. Three rooms of visiting speakers and STEM ambassadors were set up and new ideas such as alternative systems of visitor movement around the building were tested out with tremendous success.
It also gave us an opportunity to evaluate the quality and readiness of STEM organisations with whom we had never worked with before. Our event also attracted additional media coverage for NSEW 2014 and support for NSEW 2015, offers which we were over the moon to receive!
What are you planning differently for NSEW 2014?
As our event is not eligible for an award this year, we have planned it as a celebration of the department's fantastic achievement winning the NSEW Best Secondary School Event last year. We have also put a greater emphasis on more cross-curricular links. For example, we have a local roller-skating derby team coming to the event, talking to pupils in PE about respiration and the physics of their competitive sport. We also have a Team GB archery champion, who will be showcasing her event and explaining why precision and accuracy are so important to her. And finally, we have not one but two dancing robots who will be helping us link STEM with the Performing Arts!
Where are you currently in terms of your planning?
We are just waiting for confirmation from one of our 10 primary schools, but everything else is set and we are just about to release the provisional programme for the event this weekend. Much of the material was produced last year so it's just a simple case of adding to it and updating it.
At this point in the lead up to NSEW 2014, what tips do you have for novice event organisers?
Delegate. I'm not particularly good at it, but colleagues will step in if they know the sheer scale of anything ambitious you're planning to roll out in the school so remember to use it and use it wisely. Use the resources available in your school, your pupils, to help with the things that would just eat away into your time.
Be mindful of events like Parents' Evenings, they have a tendency to sneak up. It is also a careful balance that one must strike between STEM education and the everyday classroom stuff, so don't feel done in if you haven't been able to complete things the way that you wish them to be. The fact that you're doing something about it shows you care, which is what is appreciated by your audiences.
Receiving feedback each day about how vibrant the department is and how forward-thinking we are with STEM education just makes all of the lost sleep, anguish and paperwork so much worth it!
Keep your eye out for additional blog posts by Faisal as we approach NSEW 2014, and follow him on Twitter at @TMBSScience