Under-served and Widening Participation Schools
Here at I’m a Scientist we want to connect students with STEM professionals. Our events are all about providing an environment that allows, and encourages, school students to have real interaction with scientists and engineers.
Why? Because nearly 80% of UK students value science, but less than 20% feel it is for them [Aspires]. That’s something we want to change, and students interacting with relatable scientists is a great way to encourage the view that anyone can be a scientist.
After taking part in I’m a Scientist, students say they are more likely to study science post-16, and more likely to look for a job in science.
Unfortunately our events are oversubscribed. Each event we have twice as many classes applying as we can accommodate, so we have to decide who to offer places to. We have identified the schools we believe can benefit the most from taking part.
In all cases we will first allocate places based on the priorities of our funders.
Find out more about becoming a funder for I’m a Scientist:
Under-served Schools (U)
In our experience, the longer it takes for a scientist or engineer to reach a school, the less likely those students are to have visits. We’ve done some research that suggests schools more than 30 minutes travel time are less likely to receive visits.
Schools be will prioritised based on travel time. UK, state-maintained schools more than 30 minutes from a major research HEI will be considered “under-served”.
What data do we use?
Thanks to iGeolise we have a database of how long it takes to reach a school from the nearest major research HEI.
Outside of these criteria we will try to ensure as many schools as possible have the opportunity to take part.
Does being “under-served” guarantee a place for a school?
Unfortunately not. Space in each zone in limited so each student has equal opportunity to engage with the scientists. With more funding we hope to offer I’m a Scientist to all under-served schools.
Widening Participation Schools (WP)
As well as reporting on under-served schools’ participation, we also report on how many widening participation schools are participating. We think this information is useful to understand the variety of schools we have wanting to take part, and for scientists to record their activities. As there is no set definition of what makes a school a widening participation school, we’ll be using the following – A school will be classed as WP if:
- An above average 1 number of students are eligible for free school meals. Currently schools with more than 14% free school meals. (England, Wales and NI)
- More than 20% of its pupils live in the 20% most deprived datazones 2 (Scotland)