Climate and Environment

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SWINDON 105.5's weekly Science and Climate feature, produced by our 13-year-old trainee student, Ayaan.... broadcast in Fridays "The Birds And Bees".

Ayaan chaired one of the 2020 Festival Of The Futre Debates - on Climate Change on Friday 25th February.

15,000 people, mainly young people, signed up to online and in-person attendance at Festival events.

Click to hear organiser Dr. Rod Hebden talking about the event.

his year, Festival organisers were thrilled that CityFibre, New College Swindon Institute of Technology, Dyson and Gel Studios all joined regular supporters Business West and Intel to support Swindon students with exciting new sessions, bringing inspiration and skills into the classroom.

The organisers of the Festival of Tomorrow launched their virtual Schools Programme to help support teachers and parents during lockdown last year and reached over 5,000 students from 41 schools and colleges. The success of the inaugural programme led to widespread calls from teachers to make it an annual event.

The programme aims to engage young people of all ages with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) topics through inspiring – and entertaining activities such as live online shows with top Science Communicators, talks and Q&A sessions with real researchers, engineers and scientists, and hands on workshops.

With science, technology and engineering jobs set to become increasingly important growth areas for the town, Swindon-based organisations including Intel UK, the UK Space Agency and UK Research and Innovation, New College Swindon and the Institute of Technology have been putting their support behind the initiative.

Festival Director, Rod Hebden explains ‘There are lots of recent studies which show that, although the pandemic has seen a steep rise in children’s interest in science and research, there are still too many barriers stopping our young people from pursuing careers in these vital sectors.

“We are very lucky here to have some incredible organisations based here in Swindon and Wiltshire, and it’s fantastic that so many of them are stepping up to actively help pupils who would not normally have the opportunity to take part in interactive sessions with top science communicators, join workshops on topics such as training an AI, or chat and ask questions of STEM role models from a wide range of disciplines.”

With almost 10,000 student places booked already, the programme offers teachers a wide range of resources and opportunities for their classes - from immersive planetarium shows, learning about the science of Star Wars, to a fun engineering challenge for Early Years pupils.

Computing and technology innovation leader, Intel will be delivering dozens of interactive digital skills workshops for pupils of all ages, covering topics such as Protecting Your Privacy Online, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence and its Uses in the Real World.

Pupils will also have the opportunity delve into the evolution of the internet, and design their own online game, thanks to CityFibre.

New for 2022 is a day of careers-focussed sessions aimed at secondary school pupils, offering students the opportunity to hear about the realities of being a researcher into eco-friendly plastic alternatives, discover career paths into the space sector, or find out what it’s like to study Engineering at the Dyson Institute.

An advisory group of teachers from schools across the White Horse Federation Trust have helped shape this year’s programme “Our students and teachers had such an incredible time last year, they can’t wait to take part in the Festival of Tomorrow’s School programme again this month’ said Alison Capstick, Director of Primary Education for the White Horse Federation. “The online format is really brilliant in allowing us to involve so many or our young people and we could never access the range of speakers, performers and real scientists and engineers on our own. There’s a real buzz of excitement!”

Schools wanting to sign up for free sessions at the Festival Schools programme should get in touch with the organisers via the Festival website