Since 2015, Welsh Government funding has enabled the British Science Association (BSA) to vastly enrich secondary students’ science learning in Wales by offering CREST Awards for free. This year, the BSA is thrilled to announce that this funding will be renewed to support both secondary and primary school students, meaning that young people of all ages and abilities in Wales will be able to complete CREST Awards at no cost.

With no financial barrier standing in the way of the Awards, this funding will make a substantial difference to many schools across the nation, championing equal access to opportunities within science education. 

The benefits of CREST

The CREST Awards scheme, managed by the BSA, enables students aged 5-19 to complete project work on diverse themes across science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as part of curriculum learning, off the back of internships, as enrichment activities or simply for fun. Hands-on and student-led, CREST empowers young learners to conjure ideas and tackle problems independently, strengthening their scientific knowledge, transferrable skill set and positive experiences with STEM subjects. 

The extended provision of free CREST Awards in Wales marks a pivotal step in encouraging more young people to enjoy and interact with STEM subjects – including those at the earliest stages of their education journeys. One of the greatest strengths of the CREST scheme is its connection to both the primary and secondary UK science curricula, with CREST Award projects not being additional, ‘nice to haves’, but rather effective pedagogical activities that can be run within curriculum-based lessons. CREST, of particular note, directly aligns with the new Curriculum for Wales and can help schools across Wales to address the four purposes laid out in its guidance. 

The BSA’s freely downloadable primary and secondary curriculum mapping resources are indispensable tools for teachers looking to use practical CREST projects within the classroom, both in Wales and elsewhere in the UK.

CREST resources in Welsh

To both support and accommodate funding developments, the BSA is now extending its portfolio of Welsh language CREST resources, all of which will help Welsh speaking students and teachers to access, understand and make the most of the CREST experience.

These resources will include Welsh language versions of the CREST Star and SuperStar passports and certificates – the key, colourful documents that help budding young scientists to track and celebrate their CREST achievements. 

An extensive range of Welsh language CREST resource packs covering all Award levels are also under development, with many already available to download from the CREST resource library. Secondary Welsh students, for instance, can immerse themselves in the real-world Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges – ageing society, artificial intelligence, clean growth and the future of mobility – by taking on an investigative Bronze, Silver or Gold CREST project, or they can explore anything from recipes for bath bombs to the changing properties of pasta. Primary teachers, educators and parents in Wales can also run the full remit of CREST Star and SuperStar activities using the freely downloadable Welsh language resource packs.

The positive impact of this funding is already evident and set to increase even further from this year. Who knows how many Welsh scientists of the future may kick-start their STEM journey with a free CREST Award? 

For more information about the Welsh Government funding or the CREST Awards scheme, please get in touch with the CREST team at [email protected] or via Twitter or Facebook.