Skills: Polar Explorer project boosts attainment in STEM

State-funded primary schools across the UK who are keen to raise aspirations and attainment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their school, are invited to apply for the Polar Explorer programme – a £1m government-funded project, aiming to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Credit: STEM Learning

Schools who have completed the programme in previous years report that engagement with the Polar Explorer programme led to an increase in pupils’ appreciation of the importance of STEM skills.

100% of these teachers agree engagement with the Polar Explorer programme led to increased pupil confidence in learning science and in scientific enquiry skills.

About the Polar Explorer programme

The programme uses the UK’s new polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, to bring an exciting new context to the teaching of STEM subjects. It places relevant curriculum topics within the context of both the construction and launch of the ship, and of polar exploration in general.

Schools that are selected will benefit from support in key areas, such as working scientifically and developing pupils’ enquiry skills.

They will also gain the support of a Polar Ambassador – a specially selected, trained STEM professional – who will help to enrich the teaching of STEM subjects in their school. The Polar Ambassador will begin work with schools in September 2018 and will help them to take part in a range of activities including:

in-school professional development for teachers
free access to resources and activities
ideas to support schools’ outreach activities
In addition to the support of their Polar Ambassador, schools will receive a free Polar Explorer resource pack and have the opportunity to apply for additional funding to improve the transition in STEM subjects from primary to secondary schools.

They are looking for applications from primary schools that have attainment in STEM subjects that is lower than the national average, and would like to improve performance at key learning transition points.

The closing date for applications is Thursday 31 May 2018, and successful applicants will hear by mid-July.