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 2013?
We ran a four-day event where we invited eight local primary schools to come and experience science demonstrations conducted by our Year 7, 8 and 9 students under the guidance and supervision of STEM ambassadors. At the same time we also ran a "speed-dating" event with local companies, charities and careers' advisors from local universities to give advice on STEM-related careers.
What event are you planning for this year?
We intend to run the same style event, but in addition we will be running hourly workshops for our pupils involving guest speakers, for example Leicestershire Fire Service and Bloodhound SSC.
Why are you involved with NSEW?
2013 was my first-ever involvement with NSEW. Although I had heard of the event, activities in the schools where I taught at the time were coordinated by other teachers and limited to Year 7s having practical-only lessons on a specific day. Experiments would be simple ones such as the chromatography of Smarties; although it was enjoyed by pupils, I saw enormous potential in NSEW but had to wait until I was in the right place before I could make what I had in mind happen.
What changes are you making in your planning for this year based on previous experiences?
A number of changes were necessary with guests not being able to make it in this time, however it has given us extra opportunities to be ambitious with who we invite this year! I want to ensure cross-curricular links are more obvious so the guest list and workshops are organised in such a way so as to reflect that. We are also asking our face-painter to come not just for two but four days!
Where are you currently in terms of your planning?
Most guests have confirmed, but I need to ensure primary schools are reminded of the event in the New Year. I also need to finalise the programme and timings before sending that information out.
At this point in the lead up to NSEW 2014, what tips do you have for novice event organisers?
If you are in a school, think ahead about the equipment you'll need for activities. As there'll inevitably be things that need to be done in the weeks before NSEW, get items into stored trays well in advance. It's an event that brings benefit to everyone in the school, so ask SMT members for help in the rooms as you'll inevitably be busy ensuring activities are running smoothly. Get technicians on side and explain to the other members of the team how the department will benefit. Find out if they have favourite demos, and maybe look ahead and order some of the specialist items now so that you can ensure everything works on the day. Why not also get a few keen pupils to help?
Keep your eye out for additional blog posts by Faisal as we approach NSEW 2014, and follow him on Twitter at @TMBSScience