Enrichment grants help disadvantaged students access STEM subjects

Every year the Ri awards £35,000 in STEM enrichment grants to disadvantaged UK schools

  • Credit: Paul Wilkinson

Twice a year for the past six years, the Ri has awarded grants of up to £500 to UK primary and secondary schools and FE colleges for STEM activities in the classroom. These grants provide students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a STEM experience that has the potential to offer some interest, insight or inspiration over and above what school itself can offer.

The breadth and scope of activities is huge: investigating the history of life by excavating dinosaur ‘fossils’; learning about the solar system in portable inflatable planetariums; probing the skills and knowledge required to pursue a career in medicine with the help of a robotic patient; building racing cars so they can be driven in national competitions; having talks from scientists answering questions such as ‘are we alone in the universe?’ and ‘what is space made of?’ and even getting to grips with life cycles by raising a brood of chickens.

Thanks to the generous support of our funders, the Clothworkers’ and Causeway Foundations, more than 400 schools have benefited from activities such as these since the schemes began. And their popularity increases year on year, with a 37% increase in the number of applications received between 2014 and 2016. All activities are selected by teachers from the Ri-managed STEM Directories – the UK’s most comprehensive listing of STEM ‘Enhancement and Enrichment’ activities, giving teachers a single point of access to an extremely broad range of experiences – from shows, talks and workshops to challenges, museum visits and science clubs.

The response to the grants has been overwhelmingly postive. Here is some of the feedback we've received from participating teachers:

'It was lovely for the children to be given the opportunity to listen to someone different and completing simple science and technology lessons that the teachers would have confidence in repeating in future years.'

'It has taught our children different life skills which are fundamental in science, but also within a wider context of other subjects.'

'Thank you again for supporting our school as without the funding from the Ri it would have been near impossible to provide this experience for our students who all engaged and enjoyed the sessions with Captain Richard.'

Grants are awarded to those schools that make the strongest argument for need and usually where they can demonstrate that the activity will have a lasting impact beyond the initial activity itself. Importantly, we also give priority to those schools whose pupils come from a disadvantaged background or area and where there is limited access for STEM enrichment activities for financial or other reasons.

Further information

If you are a teacher and would like to apply for a STEM grant, then sign up to the Ri’s education newsletter to hear first when a grant scheme opens. 

For further information, visit the STEM directories webpage. The next grant scheme, which is maths-specific and funded by the Clothworkers' Foundation, is due to open in October of this year.

The Ri is grateful to the funders of our STEM Directories, the Clothworkers' Foundation and Causeway Foundation, for making activities such as these possible.

Read one teacher's story about the impact of STEM grants in her school

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