One of the real strengths of Leighton Park is the School’s investment in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths (STEAM), bringing together analytical skills with a creative mindset to solve real world problems. The enthusiasm of our students for STEAM activities was once again evidenced by their involvement in #TEWeek2019, a week-long celebration of engineering, spearheaded by the not-for-profit organisation, Tomorrow’s Engineers.
There were students from Years 7 to Upper Sixth gathered in Main Hall on Wednesday 6th November for The Big Assembly, a livestream broadcast by the Tomorrow’s Engineers team, featuring professionals dedicated to the development of technology advancing the health and wellbeing industry. Alongside 850 other schools also participating in the same experience, our students heard from seven speakers including an academic, a biomedical engineer, environmental specialists and a knee joint specialist.
Meanwhile, 23 girls from Years 8 and 9 were on the other side of Reading at the GB headquarters of Porsche, for their Dare to be Different event. With representatives from three different schools, the girls were organised into three teams for a carousel of experiences related to the success of women in the racing industry. The aim of Dare to be Different is to connect, inspire and showcase women in every aspect of racing, and as Karen Gracie-Langrick, Deputy Head Academic oberved, “The day really did challenge preconceptions and prejudices, encouraging the next generation of girls into the world of motorsport. Many of our girls left the day feeling empowered and inspired to explore a range of a careers offered by this industry, and to take Engineering and Computer Science at GCSE as the world moves further into an all-electric age for vehicles” .
The girls were awed by the chance to experience life in a racing pit lane by performing a Pirelli pitstop challenge and were able to discuss the nature of motor racing with top racing driver Esmee Hawkey. They learnt about the heritage of the Porsche brand and were lucky enough to sit in some Porsche cars in the showroom. They got creative with the social media team and undertook a social media challenge which the LP team ‘BOOM’ won with their Remembrance themed communications. They learnt life-saving CPR skills from the race chief medical doctor and they met some truly inspirational Dare to be Different ambassadors, engineers and incredibly successful women in the racing industry.
Sofia (Year 9) commented, “It was an amazing experience and I found it inspiring because it showed that girls can do whatever they want. I also learnt that you can have combined careers. The staff were very energetic and interesting.” Jaia (Year 9) added, “I enjoyed working with my peers as a team, seeing how Porsche works and seeing that it really is possible for women to achieve anything.” Willow (Year 8) concluded, “It was a very interesting insight into the motor vehicle business but was also extremely surprising how so few women work in that industry. We were able to have fun but also learn something new and personally it showed me a bigger picture about the world of work.”