Independent thinking in STEM

Posted: 20th May 2021

Why is STEM important?

STEM is study in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Research shows that studies in STEM not only encourage the development of critical thinking and advanced communication skills, they also boost curiosity and creativity, improve cognitive powers and encourage independent thought.

At Westbourne, STEM is a core part of the curriculum, from Prep to Senior, with many choosing STEM-based options at GCSE and IB level, as well as pursuing STEM degrees at university.

We invest in STEM to give our students the edge over other candidates in their future careers.

Excellence in programming
STEM independent school UK

Mathias, destined for a career in STEM

Mathias, Year 8, has recently demonstrated how STEM can encourage independent thought. As part of his class project in Computer Science, Mathias produced an AI (artificial intelligence) system that recognises written letters. He trained the AI with over 300 versions of each letter and then wrote an interface for the user to scribble their character. The idea was progressed on his own initiative, with minimal support, and saw him navigate complex problem-solving in an extremely innovative way.

STEM independent school Cardiff UK

Programming gives students a head-start

Students study programming in their Computer Science lessons. Both the Prep School and Senior School Computer Science rooms are liberally equipped with Raspberry Pi computers to give students opportunities to experiment with physical computing.

Pupils learn the principles of programming from Year 3. Once they start Senior School, they begin using Python, an easy-to-learn, multi-purpose language. In Year 8 students engage in a Westbourne Summer of Code where they brainstorm their own projects to develop. This year students have built text-based adventure games, a graphical game featuring a maze-portal, and even a bedroom burglar alarm!

Students benefit from proficiency in programming when applying to university. We have found that when pupils cite fluency in programming on their application form, they have very quickly been called to interview. Students leave Westbourne future-ready, with the ability to code solutions to the problems they face.
Top independent primary secondary school UK

Mr Ayres, Director of Online Learning

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