Portslade Aldridge Community Academy is one of just 8 schools nationally shortlisted for the Science, technology and engineering teacher or team of the 2019 prize at the TES Awards 2019. TES, formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement, hold the prestigious awards evening annually to celebrate “teachers and teams who are raising the standards of education.”
Teacher Thandi Banda said: “Our aim has been to expose as many students to STEM careers and opportunities as possible in a fun yet challenging way. Our students are exposed to UN Sustainability Development Goals as part of the curriculum and work on ways to solve global challenges through STEM.”
Projects run at the Academy have included robotics club, which saw 3 teams competing in the First Lego League and Tomorrows Engineers Robotics Challenge. Supported by the school’s collaboration with Brighton University PACA entered all 3 teams into competitions at which they have excelled in their categories, including being awarded best project presentation for their design of a new spacesuit that uses the earth’s magnetosphere to protect astronauts from radiation.
In Food out of Space a student team worked with plantlet culture and showed how food in space could be grown minus the use of soil. Year 7s have completed the BP Ultimate STEM challenge, and one of their projects was selected as a finalist for the UK Big Bang Fair Competition. The project involves filtration of water using Moringa seeds with the goal of raising awareness about water borne diseases that affect millions globally especially children.
PACA STEM club has also set up 2 businesses; Yabasics and Fancy cosmetics sponsored by Tycoon Foundation. The businesses have enabled the students to develop business acumen and learn how to draw up effective business plans and be able to manage money as well as the chemistry behind cosmetics. The cosmetology club currently has 40 members and is the first of its kind at the school.
Two PACA students will be following up their interest in STEM at Imperial College London, part of the University of London, this summer having been selected for summer STEM placements: Moad Habbat for Engineering and Ciara Alleyne for the Year 11 STEM challenge. The academy has also recently been shortlisted in the 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition run by the British International Education Association.