EATS: Engineering And Technology in Schools.
EATS is CCITE's current signature campaign to help schools embed Engineering & Technology into their ethos and broader curriculum. It builds on the well-established CCITE tripod of the Skilful School, the iSTEM+ approach and the 20-20 cross-curricular STEM projects.
There have been a variety of strategies, programmes and campaigns over the past 15 years which have so far done little to help schools address the digital, STEM and 21stC skills which current learners in schools, their future employers and the UK economy urgently need. Schools need to see a reason to introduce change and to be given help and support in doing do.
In September 2019 Ofsted introduced a new framework for school inspections in which they have to demonstrate a rationale for the total curriculum they offer including its intention, implementation and impact. So this is both a stick and carrot. Schools have to review their curriculum, but they have an opportunity to receive acknowledgement if they do it well. They will continue to teach Science, DT, Computing and Maths, but they now have an opportunity to make adjustments to the school's ethos and curriculum design to introduce practical group problem-solving projects in which students develop their digital and STEM knowledge, understanding and skills, at the same time as developing personal skills such as teamwork, communication, pride and resilience.
Fortunately there is a wealth of existing resources, materials, competitions and awards on which they can draw for content for EATS activities. The EATS campaign is underpinned by existing materials already produced by organisations such as the Engineering Development Trust EDT, the Institution of Engineering & Technology IET, the Royal Academy of Engineering RAEng and STEM Learning. What they lack is up-do-date equipment and help to develop teachers' skills in using it.
Our experience with introducing micro:bits into the Erasmus+ KIKS project and then using them in UK schools for physical computing projects at KS2/3, aligns well with the RAEng's proposed `tinkering' approach to teaching https://www.raeng.org.uk/news/news-releases/2018/october/tinkering-unlocks-engineering-potential-for-primar. Many schools already have BBC micro:bits, or similar devices, compatible the many low cost electronics components now available for display, sensing, control and communication. Equally importantly there are now free programming editors, such as MS MakeCode, which make using these devices remarkably straightforward. So one component of EATS is to establish a fund on which schools can draw to provide £1000 towards new equipment to support EATS development.
Many schools are members of either a local cluster, or a multi-academy trust MAT or in a Teaching Schools Alliance. These organisation expedite the provision of locally accessible Professional Development PD support for teachers running E&T activities using the updated kit. Organisations such as local employers, IET regional networks and STEM Ambassador Hubs are all potential sources of local external technical expertise to help schools make the introduction of E&T activities as they develop their curriculum.
A new theme which CCITE would like to develop is introducing learners, teachers and families to the contributions which Technology makes to our lives and examples of how UK ingenuity is at the forefront of many of these developments. So we are now working on the theme of `UKTech' and would be very glad to have partners in doing this. See our `UKTech' tab.