PrimarySpace Chair’s Report 2019/2020

STEAMing through a challenging year…

We stepped forward into our second year with great ambition after the success of our pilot STEAM engagement event at the University of Sussex in 2018.

Building on the insights from that pilot, and with support from the UK Space Agency, we partnered with Newick Teaching School Alliance to develop training for primary school teachers. The aim of that project is to demystify space careers and help integrate STEAM engagement across the national curriculum for all primary year groups.

In September 2019, the “One Million Interactions” launched at the UK Space Agency’s conference in Newport. Supported by STEM Learning, ESERO UK and The Careers and Enterprise Company, the UK space sector has committed to deliver one million STEM outreach interactions every year. Primary Space can help achieve that goal. We participated in the conference and all our activities count towards that target.

COVID19 – What was our response?

Then, the world came to a virtual standstill in early 2020. The global COVID19 pandemic closed schools and led to lockdown across the whole of the UK. This is how we responded:

Purpose: Our mission to engage as many primary school children and teachers as possible with STEAM subjects and careers – through the lens of space – carried on. Big events are off the menu, so we created some new online resources for primary schools and families to use in home learning. Those are on our YouTube channel and on STEM Learning’s online STEMHub.

We continued to grow our networks and build relationships with interested space companies. We also continued to advocate for primary STEAM careers learning, adding a LinkedIn account to our Social Media channels.

Partners: Our delivery partners are primary educators. Supporting pupils and families during the long challenging months of lockdown become top priority for us all. Our teacher training project continued to make progress, but at a much slower pace than originally planned.

Governance: We drafted a Constitution and developed our Vision, Mission and Values. We hope to publish those soon. We nominated a Board of Trustees who will bring a diverse set of valuable experience and skills. Unfortunately, during lockdown, our charity registration application was suspended. We have restarted the process.

Funding: Fundraising will be limited until our charity registration is complete. We successfully raised a £2,500 corporate donation in 2019 and continued to fund our teacher training project.

What next?

This year has shown us all the vital role science and technology play in modern life. It is more critical than ever to encourage future generations to develop STEAM skills.

Our priorities for the next year are; charity registration, taking our teacher training project through to trial phase, identifying our next big collaborative project, and fundraising.

There is a concern that the COVID19 pandemic may have lasting negative impacts on young people’s education and career prospects. PrimarySpace will help tackle that risk – working with passion and flexibility to engage young people with education and inspire them to be ambitious about future STEAM careers.