Re-Modelling STEM into STEAM

Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Talbot Heath

When all think alike, then no-one is thinking.” These words of Walter Lippman have an eerie resonance when it comes to today’s educational system. Pupils are required to take standardised tests, based on prescribed content and judged using narrow assessment criteria. Teachers train their students to jump through hoops at ever increasing intervals. The current system does not encourage creativity of thought, independence of approach or divergence from the norm. And yet, these are the attributes that will distinguish our school leavers from the artificial intelligence-driven devices that will shape their futures.

A new, innovative approach to education is urgently required in the UK if we are to prepare our young people adequately for the rapidly changing world that they are going to inhabit.

50 percent of the jobs that current school children will undertake, do not currently exist. The skills that are going to be required, can, however, be anticipated: future generations will need to be creative, adaptable, resilient, digitally proficient, able to work independently yet collaboratively.

I was tasked by the governing body of Talbot Heath School to devise a ground-breaking educational model that will prepare young people for 2050. Having looked at the best models of practice globally, analysed the changing socio-economic patterns and studied reports by the CBI, I created an educational model that would change how young people learn from 3-18.

This new model integrates design thinking, material science, digital proficiency, problem solving and ethics into the curriculum at every age. The aim is to develop in young people an understanding of the link between design, function, sustainability and purpose.

Our model, delivered through a state-of-the-art STEAM (Science Technology Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) HUB, equipped with augmented reality, holographic, design, drama, art, robotics, electronics and textiles studios, will engender in students an ability to fashion, iterate and realise their ideas across all disciplines.

Pupils will learn to approach tasks from an interdisciplinary perspective, appreciating that there is only one body of knowledge that underpins all understanding. Artificial boundaries between subjects will be broken down, allowing learners to draw on their breadth of experience.

Our new model will incorporate expertise from teachers, university staff and industry experts. The self-imposed divisions between these areas will be replaced by a coherent framework that offers learners direct input from those working at the cutting edge of fields.

The world of the future will require people who understand that global problems will require global solutions, devised by multi-disciplinary teams.

A bold, fresh approach to education is required and at Talbot Heath we are unashamedly blazing a trail for others to follow. We owe it to our children to educate them for their future, not our past.

Angharad Holloway, Headmistress, Talbot Heath School


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