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Science fair at Memorial Gardens a big success

Serious science once again combined with family fun at STEM in the Park last Saturday.

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The event held in the Memorial Gardens on 18th May, was part of the eighth annual Crawley STEMfest and brought the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to life for hundreds of young people and their parents

There were hands-on workshops, demonstrations and interactive displays staged by scientists and engineers from local companies, national institutions and universities and colleges, with the idea of making families aware of the many training and career opportunities available locally with STEM employers.

Local company Thales ran an interactive drone-flying display, there were demonstrations of CAD and 3D printing by Weald Technology and the East Sussex Reptile and Amphibian Society (ESRAS) helped young people gain confidence by handing boa constrictors and other large reptiles. Kingston University’s Lab in a Lorry enabled young people to take a close look at serious science.

This year, STEM in the Park teamed up with Crawley College who opened their doors to the public and families were able to see how the college showcased the STEM subjects and facilities. Vicki Illingworth, Principal at Crawley College, said:  “STEM subjects give students so many amazing opportunities and inspire young people to push the boundaries of their imagination.”

Crawley STEMfest 2019 takes place in schools and colleges and in the community throughout May and June, and culminates in the eighth Big Bang Fair South East, at the South of England Showground on 26th and 27th June, attended by 12,000 students from across the region.

The events are organised by STEM Sussex, the STEM outreach department of the University of Brighton, in partnership with Crawley Borough Council and Crawley College. Gatwick Airport are headline sponsors of Crawley STEMfest and the Big Bang Fair South East.

Coronavirus

West Sussex refuses to support Crawley schools decision of NOT fining parents for keeping children absent

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September seems to creeping ever closer and with it comes the supposed return to school for children across the town.

But with the news that parents ‘must’ send their children back to school come the start of the new school year, also came the news that one head in paticular had gone on record to say he would not fine any parent who kept their child at home.

Head of St Wilfrid’s Michael Ferry was interviewed on breakfast television where he stated that he would not fine a parent. This then led to a whole debate about who was right and what the right decision should be.

Now West Sussex County Council has added to this furore by refusing to support a decision to not fine a parent made by any head teacher or school in Crawley.

In a statement a West Sussex County Council Spokesperson said:

“We welcome the plan for all children to return to the classroom in September after, what has been for many, a lengthy absence.

“We recognise that some children may be anxious about returning to school and will work closely with our schools to help them prepare children and build the confidence of parents  and carers in the plans for a safe and managed return.

“We will continue to work with schools to engage with and support parents and carers in getting their children back into school before considering issuing penalties for poor attendance. Issuing fines for non-attendance is always a last resort.”

The lack of apparent support from the county council shows an ever growing divide on decisions being made around the ongoing problems with the coronavirus.

Responding to the comments from West Sussex, Michael Ferry said:

“The guidance allows head teachers as far as they can to make local decisions to meet the needs of their school communities.  If one of those decisions happens to be that we are not going to fine people for something that isn’t their fault then I would expect the local authority to support the headteachers in doing so.

If only 10% turn up when we reopen then I would say I have failed because I have not got across the message about what measures we are taking to protect our students.”

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