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Stoke School Strikes up STEM Partnership with Tech Giant

Article date: Tue, 09 Oct 2018 16:26 GMT

Stoke pi cafe

Pupils at St Maria Goretti Catholic Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent are feeling inspired to learn more about digital technology after a leading Manchester tech firm installed a new IT suite at the school.

Data hosting firm UKFast has built a Raspberry Pi Café at the school, providing a simple and flexible way for students to learn about programming and giving them the opportunity to get hands-on with the technology for the first time.

The ‘Pi Café’ is named after the Raspberry Pi computers installed at the facility and is designed to help youngsters and teachers alike get a handle on coding and other computing basics. The Pi computers are perfect for tinkering, experimenting and learning from mistakes.

UKFast is providing the hardware, cabling, educational resources and teacher training for St Maria Goretti to ensure that students at the school have the opportunity to excel in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Alongside the delivery of the Pi Café, members of the UKFast technical development team have been visiting the school to deliver Code Clubs and teacher training to help the teaching staff feel confident in delivering sessions in the new IT suite.

The students have also been on visits to UKFast’s hi-tech campus in Manchester, to learn more about the technology industry and to find out about STEM careers.

Headteacher Zoe Cooper said: “When UKFast approached us about the possibility of a Pi Cafe it was initially about making sure we were able to cover the technology and computing aspects of the curriculum to the best of our ability.

“But since entering into this partnership it’s been about so much more than the basic curriculum. It’s raised the aspirations of the children and inspired them in a really amazing way.

“We've now identified that STEM is an area of the curriculum that we really want to push, because we know that there's a huge opportunity for the kids to work for companies like UKFast, who are really setting the bar high. It's about preparing the next generation of children to be problem solvers, working with technology that hasn’t been invented yet.”

UKFast works with more than 60,000 young people across Greater Manchester, delivering workshops, code clubs and engagement sessions in some of the region’s most underprivileged wards – in a project that started more than a decade ago.

UKFast CEO, Lawrence Jones MBE, said: "We need to run projects like this to engage the country's next generation of computer experts. The interest is there and so is the talent; we just need to make the connection between the devices which these young people are already engaged with and enjoy using, and the opportunity they have to get paid for experimenting with them.

"Traditional digital education sometimes lets kids down and we need to give young people the opportunity to get their hands dirty with new technology to unearth their creative talents as an alternative to sitting in a classroom environment.

"There is no reason – given the right opportunities and encouragement – that kids from St Maria Goretti can't be the tech entrepreneurs of the future. When we're putting the right kit straight into their hands to experiment with, we feel they have a better chance."

UKFast is based in Manchester and provides hosting and cybersecurity services for thousands of commercial, government and public sector organisations.

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