BAE Systems and the Royal Air Force have launched their flagship education schools programme at the St. Marylebone C of E School in London, marking the tenth anniversary of the initiative.
The Schools Roadshow provides an interactive presentation for primary and secondary school children to inform and excite students with the opportunities presented by studying STEM subjects.
The theme for this year’s nationwide roadshow explores the intrinsic link between physics and engineering and coincides with new research commissioned by BAE Systems, revealing that parents and children alike find physics a challenging subject; highlighting the potential impact this has on the career choices of young students.
The research found little awareness amongst parents and children of the positive influence that physics has on everyday life with less than half of all parents and children surveyed identifying that cars, toasters, rollercoasters, watches and even yo-yos are all based on principles of physics.
In addition, 38% of parents of school aged children admitted that they struggle to help their children with science homework.
The research also highlighted that the scientific achievements of prominent scientists are not well known, with over half of parents questioned not aware of Professor Stephen Hawkings study of black holes, despite being the subject of a recent Oscar-winning film.
Recognising the important role that parents have in influencing career decision, the research highlights the ongoing need for industry, government and schools to work together to make science and maths more engaging and less intimidating for young people.
Richard Hamer, Education Director & Head of Early Career Programmes at BAE Systems said: “We established our roadshow ten years ago to connect with young people as they become interested in careers, to educate and excite them about the world of science and maths and change some of the stereotypes that exist about engineering.
“Physics underpins careers in engineering and understanding physics helps us as well to understand how the world around us works. Through our schools roadshow we bring to life physics concepts and students get some practical, hands-on experience, to make the learning more interesting and subsequently easier to understand”.
At the launch presenters Dick and Dom entertained the audience by participating in a lively and engaging science demonstration, showing the young students at St. Marylebone C of E School how physics plays a part in everyday life.
Commenting on the roadshow Air Commodore Chris Elliot added: “The Royal Air Force recognises that engaging early with young people to encourage them to work hard at science and maths is key to solving the technical skills shortages we are already encountering in the UK.
“Both the RAF and BAE Systems depend on the skills of our engineers. By working in partnership we are able to reach more students in more schools, raising awareness of the importance of engineering in all of our lives and importantly, its accessibility to girls as well as boys.”
Since the launch of the first roadshow the theatre-presentation has visited more than 2,000 school and been seen by more than 300,000 young people, giving them practical demonstrations with lasers, gyroscopes and sensing technologies.