Local Education Business Partnerships (EBPs) play a key role in bringing together schools, businesses and community organisations in local areas and supporting tens of thousands of pupils every year to develop their employability skills and drive up their aspirations. Some EBPs are coordinated by the borough, and others are independent bodies that work in partnership with their local council.
Subjects in the City was an innovative project which aimed to bring together City business and teachers from local schools to enrich the curriculum across a range of areas. The project, funded by City of London Corporation and delivered by Inspire!, Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership and Southwark Education Business Alliance, involved teachers from schools in Hackney, Camden, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Lambeth.
The programme aimed to:
- Link school subjects to the world of work by giving them a real life context;
- Develop teachers’ knowledge of the careers available in the City, enabling them to give up to date information on career options to students;
- Create sustainable links between schools and City companies;
- Enable teachers to create interactive work-related lesson resources that can be replicated in the future and shared within departments at school.
One example of a successful STEM-related project was an activity aimed at encouraging students’ interest in Maths and its application. Inspire! (the Education Business Partnership covering Hackney, Camden and Islington) matched Chan Poolvoralaks, a trainee solicitor who works with structured finance projects, with Rachel Murgatroyd, a maths teacher hoping to demonstrate real world application of maths to her students. Rachel and Chan worked together to create a lesson plan for year 7 students to use statistical tools and algebraic calculations to finance and build a wind farm for their school.
During the lesson students were led through a range of activities requiring them to make team decisions on factors such as construction costs and debt equity ratios before calculating their revenue based on electricity demand and wind efficiency. This culminated in teams compiling an annual finance report based on their calculations, which allowed the group to see which team had made the most profit. As well as giving them an opportunity to practise curriculum based learning, students were introduced to new concepts such as supply and demand, debt equity ratios and financial report writing which gave them an insight into how maths is used in businesses.
‘Most students were extremely enthusiastic and engaged by the real-life context of the activity. One group even asked if they could do an activity like it every day which was extremely promising.’ Rachel Murgatroyd, Highbury Grove School
Looking at the immediate impact, the students who took part in the lesson were engaged with the activity and enjoyed working on something with real life context. Meeting with Chan, and learning about her work and the wider work of Linklaters, has also given Rachel the opportunity to develop her knowledge of city careers, something she says has allowed her to better answer student’s questions and gain new ideas to use in the classroom.
Looking at the wider picture, the programme will have a more long-term impact as Rachel has shared the lesson plan and resources with colleagues in her department and plans to reuse them again in upcoming years. She has also been able to share with colleagues, more generally, the process of designing lessons based on careers in the city which will inform new lesson planning throughout the school.
As well as taking part in the Subjects in the City programme, Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership has developed a set of opportunities for young people to engage in STEM subjects and careers. This has included delivering workshops where students develop ideas for new app; running a Science Partners mentoring scheme with local business volunteers providing additional support and engagement with the science curriculum; and sourcing work experience placements in KPMG for local young women.