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Gatwick Airport headlines sponsorship of Big Bang Fair 2019

Gatwick Airport will be headline sponsor for the Big Bang Fair South East – the UK’s biggest single celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for young people.

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Gatwick's stand at the Big Bang Fair 2018

Over 10,000 children from around 200 schools are expected to attend the Fair, which will also host the regional heats for the prestigious Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers of the Year competition. The competition is open to all 11-18 year-olds who have completed a STEM-related school project.

Gatwick’s sponsorship is part of airport’s education programme to highlight the importance and relevance of STEM subjects in the world of work, including at the airport which hosts 24,000 employees.
Bringing the subjects to life, airport staff – including its Chief Operating Officer and

Head of Engineering – will be on hand to answer questions and run displays in the Gatwick Zone at the Fair, which was attended by over 6500 young people last year.

Also bringing STEM subjects to life, the airport hosts monthly Learn Live interactive broadcasts live from Gatwick with students introduced to a wide variety of career paths and employees working in STEM-related careers at Gatwick.

Overall, Gatwick’s education programme is designed to help local young people gain confidence, raise aspirations and present opportunities that they may not otherwise have had. Other initiatives include bespoke, structured programmes for around 40 local students each year.

This is the third year in a row that Gatwick has been the lead sponsor for the Big Bang Fair South East, which will take place across two days on 26 and 27 June 2019 at the South of England Showground near Ardingly, West Sussex.

Gatwick Airport’s Community Engagement Manager, Paula Aldridge, said:

“We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the Big Bang Fair South East once again. Gatwick is passionate about inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and this event gives us an opportunity to invest in our local community to help ensure that they benefit from Gatwick’s success, both now and in the future.

“Our objective as an airport is to inform the next generation of local young people about the diverse range of jobs that STEM skills are needed for, to bring them to life in an airport context and to help to build a pipeline of talent for the future.”

Head of STEM Sussex, Bronagh Liddicoat, said:

“I am delighted Gatwick Airport is again offering its top level support to the 2019 Big Bang Fair South East – enabling the showcasing of innovative science, technology and engineering, and the related career path opportunities, to young people and teachers within the local community.

“The Big Bang Fair South East, with Gatwick’s input, will support the Government’s new Careers Strategy by enabling young people to meet scientists and engineers at a vibrant two day celebration of STEM. The event has become a benchmark in school calendars, with those who attend confirming the huge impact and enjoyment it creates.”

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Education

Crawley pupils reduce local CO2 by Three Tonnes

In just two weeks Crawley school children reduced local air pollution by six kilogrammes of dangerous nitrogen oxide (NOx) and almost three tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) by walking, biking and scootering to school, instead of travelling by car.

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Pupils at Waterfield Primary School with Councillor Geraint Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability and Patrick Alexander, Bike It Officer at Sustrans.

As part of cycling and walking charity Sustrans’ annual Big Pedal challenge, children from eight Crawley schools used human power for an astonishing 18,284 journeys. 

This comes hard on the heels of two important new pieces of research:

  • Sustrans published YouGov data in March which showed that almost two-thirds (63%) of teachers would support a school gate vehicle ban during drop-off and pick-up times and that more than half (59%) want urgent Government action to improve air quality near schools
  • Public Health England called on local authorities in March to limit transport emissions urgently, banning idling car engines around schools and investing in foot and cycle paths.

NOx can cause breathing problems, reduced lung function and damage teeth. CO2 is a major contributor to climate change. In Crawley children travelled 12,655 miles actively during the challenge, which equates to travelling almost half way around the world. The reduction in CO2 and NOx was calculated by comparing this to the amount generated if all these journeys had been taken by car.

Councillor Geraint Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, said:

“It is fantastic to see an increasing number of schools in Crawley taking part in the Sustrans Big Pedal, whilst promoting sustainable travel to young people.”

Children at Waterfield Primary have won special recognition from Sustrans for their Big Pedal achievements, receiving a certificate in a presentation attended by Cllr Geraint Thomas. The Bike It Crew at Waterfield Primary are notoriously competitive. They held a Bike It Breakfast, Bling your Bike and daily assemblies to mass up a total of 4,386 journeys and a total score of 76.91%. 

Justin Moss, the Deputy Head of Waterfield Primary said,

“Our pupils are so motivated when it comes to travelling sustainably; they’re also very competitive. They walk, scoot and cycle regularly so the Big Pedal has been amazing for us over the past few years. We regularly talk about the benefits of exercise with the children in whole school assemblies and because of this the children understand the differences it can make to their moods and their ability to engage in their learning.

“At Waterfield we have an elected Bike It Crew and the Big Pedal is their biggest job during the year. They have worked tirelessly to encourage teachers and children to continue to travel sustainably as well as organising events and judging the Bling your Bike competition. I am extremely proud of them and all of their achievements this year.”

Hot on their heels was Seymour Primary, who organised Bike Days for all children from years three to six. These days provided an opportunity for children to progress their bike skills and have a go on the bike obstacle course. On these days the school was flooded with bicycles, scooters and active children.

Across Crawley eight schools took part, from a potential 35. While we can’t say what the impact would be if it was replicated across Crawley even just for two school terms these findings raise interesting questions.

Sustrans’ Regional Director for the South, James Cleeton, said,

“The children, families and schools of Crawley have shown how individuals can dramatically improve the world around them, by replacing cars with human power for just part of the daily routine.

“These children haven’t just prevented the emission of dangerous, invisible pollutants around their schools, but they’ve improved their mental and physical health, giving all of them a better start to the school day.

“At Sustrans, we’re so grateful to every local authority, school, teacher, parent and child who has helped make this possible. What a great start to summer – and a glimpse of what school mornings in Crawley could be like in future.”

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