Our exciting programme of activities in STEM was one of four UK finalists for “Most Dynamic STEM Programme” in Muddy Stilettos Best School Awards 2023.
There are many areas of STEM that stretch beyond the curriculum and, at St Joseph’s, you can explore them in a variety of formats. From regular clubs to national competitions and year group challenges, there is something for everyone right from Reception Class to Sixth Form.
Year 10 to 13 gather weekly for a lunchtime seminar where guest speakers, pupils and staff present and discuss a current topic in academic research or industry. STEM invited recent speakers from The National Physical Laboratory, Vodafone, the RAF, Shell, and Microsoft, who have inspired pupils and sparked vocations.
Talks by Sixth Form pupils on Cybersecurity, Quantum computers, and Neural Networks show the breadth and depth of our pupils’ knowledge and the impressive confidence they have developed throughout their studies.These discussions are also an excellent preparation for university interviews.
STEM Leadership Qualification
We are always at the forefront of national initiatives. In 2023, St Joseph’s was part of the pioneering cohorts for the STEM Leadership qualification. Pupils in Year 9 to 12 can now take this Ofqual-regulated award at Level 2. They develop their leadership skills but also their technical ability and project management skills through a combination of taught theory and practical experience when planning and running activities for their peers in one of our numerous clubs or create their own.
During Enrichment and Science week, Infants and Juniors in the Prep School get to spend time where STEM takes over their timetable with a series of practical challenges, design puzzles, mind-blowing demonstrations, and fabulous virtual reality workshops.
Our recent themes of Polar Exploration, Civil Engineering, and Secret Codes have been very successful. Watch out for our next one on Medicine!
In the Spring term, our Year 7 pupils design, build and race their foam rocket cars on our very own racetrack.
Year 8 take on the Engineer Your Future challenge where teams work out the best way to make a model car’s charge last, and learn about capacitors and sustainable development in the process.
Our Year 9 are lucky enough to spend a whole day working on chocolate! From melting points to ethical production, and blind testing, all STEM subjects – plus a few tasty treats – are covered.
F1 in Schools
Engineering in Motion hosts an annual international competition where teams have to raise funds, set up a brand, design a car using CAD software, get it manufactured, and race it. Our pupils impress judges every year with their creativity but also their resilience. St Joseph’s has been a London South-East Champion twice in two categories and our whole-female team won a series of awards and the third place on the National Podium in 2019. We qualified 3 teams to National Finals in 2023 and several of our teams have received Research and Development, and Verbal Presentation, Awards. Anyone in Year 5 and above can join in. It is an excellent way to develop engineering, but also marketing and teamwork, skills.
National Security and Ethical Hacking are at the forefront of the STEM industry and so are our pupils. St Joseph’s has very successfully entered the CyberCenturion challenge, an international competition run by the Air Force Association that challenges teams to complete real-life cyber security tasks. Our Senior team qualified for the National Final in 2020 and finished 6th out of over 400 teams. This challenge runs annually and is open to all in Year 8 and above.
We are an Affiliated Arkwright School which allows us to enter Year 11 pupils through to the prestigious Arkwright Engineering Scholarship scheme every year.
CREST Awards are a nationally recognised certification from the British Science Association. Each year, Infants, Juniors, and Lower Seniors complete CREST Superstars and Discovery awards and Year 8 a Bronze Award. Year 9 can take their Chocolate Day challenge forward to complete a CREST Silver award in Year 10. All F1 in Schools participants can validate a Bronze, Silver or Gold award depending on their category of entry. Gold Awards carry UCAS points.
Pupils in Year 7 to 13 enter the UK Mathematical Trust challenges and the British Physics, Chemistry, and Informatics Olympiads, with many gaining Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards. Maths pupils qualify for the prestigious Kangaroo stage every year.
St Joseph’s holds Bronze and Silver awards for the Wildlife challenge of the Royal Society for Bird Protection with activities completed in the Prep School; we take part every year in the Big Garden Birdwatch.
Trips and Conferences
There are many trips and events organised throughout the year in STEM. Science and Maths pupils attend Science Live and Maths Alive events throughout their studies of GCSE and A Level. A trip to CERN in Geneva and a Scuba diving induction run for pupils in the Sixth Form. STEM classes attend a series of highly exciting days out, from extracting their DNA at high-tech Bayerlab to exploring Space with Catapult Satellites Applications and visiting the headquarters of British national sailing team INEOS.
As part of our active STEM programme, we seek out partnerships to enhance our pupils STEM learning and experience. Currently, we are in partnership with Brazilian Schools on STEM Learning and Climate Change, the Royal Berkshire Hospital on Pain Management,The British Society for Lifestyle Medicine on Health & Movement and the University of York as a Pioneer School in the air monitoring SAMHE – Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education project.