April 2017

The know zone

  • On your marks...
    A race around the park provides Dennis Richards with some gentle exercise and a golden opportunity to catch up on the latest thinking on pupil attainment… More
  • Halfway there
    Last December, the government finally released the second stage of the consultation on the national funding formula (NFF). So was it worth the wait? Julia Harnden says more funding must be invested in education for the formula to be a success. More
  • Minds matter
    Every week there is a new report or story in the media about the worsening mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Here, Anna Cole highlights how leaders can develop a whole-school approach to deal with mental health and wellbeing. More
  • Mental health and wellbeing
    The government wants to offer schools in England mental health first-aid training and is looking at how to strengthen links between schools and the NHS. Have you seen a rise in mental health issues in young people in your school or college? Have you had any experience of accessing local specialist NHS services to help pupils? Here ASCL members share their views. More
  • Real-world opportunities to inspire students
    Focus on… Youth Grand Challenges More
  • Adding value
    Embracing new ways to communicate More
  • Stay in control
    Julie McCulloch highlights new guidance for schools considering joining or forming a multi-academy trust (MAT) and explains how you can stay in control of your school’s destiny. More
  • Leaders’ surgery
    Hotline advice expressed here, and in calls to us, is made in good faith to our members. Schools and colleges should always take formal HR or legal advice from their indemnified provider before acting. More
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Focus on… Youth Grand Challenges

Real-world opportunities to inspire students

Youth Grand Challenges is a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM ) competition that aims to inspire young people, aged 11 to 19, to see how science and technology can be used to tackle global health issues. The theme for 2016/17 is infectious diseases.

This exciting initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), encouraging young people to use their skills, passions and interests to develop creative solutions to contemporary issues aligned with the BMGF Global Grand Challenges – unsolved scientific challenges that could lead to significant advances in terms of preventing, treating and curing diseases across the developing world.

Why should schools participate?

Infectious diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. For example, each year, more than one million people die as a result of mosquito-borne diseases. Infectious diseases disproportionately affect developing countries, where deaths are predominantly caused by infectious diseases. Almost one-third of deaths in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) are caused by lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and tuberculosis.

Youth Grand Challenges provides real-world opportunities for young people to engage with cutting-edge research and product design ideas that have the potential to change the world. From researching vaccines for infectious diseases to designing creative new solutions that improve the lives of some of the poorest people on our planet – innovation, science and technology are key to tackling some of the most urgent global issues of our time. The competition calls on students to come up with innovative solutions that have the potential to change the world, and will reward the best projects from young people created in response.

How can schools enter the competition?

The competition is linked to the British Science Association’s (BSA’s) flagship education programme, the CREST Awards. To participate in the Youth Grand Challenges competition, students must undertake a CREST project within an eligible topic area. Students can either use one of the BSA’s project resources, or come up with their own idea for a project.

To support educators and young people in this challenge, the British Science Association has released a suite of new CREST resources on the theme of infectious diseases. The competition is looking for projects that demonstrate good communication skills, show innovation and creativity and address a real-world problem. There are four entry levels for the competition:

  • Discovery: a great first introduction to project work, projects take about five hours to complete, and are ideal for classroom, club or youth group activity days. Discovery entries into Youth Grand Challenges must be team entries.
  • Bronze: a focus on fun and transferable skills. Requires about ten hours of work on one project. Bronze allows students to experience the project process, improving their enquiry, problem-solving and communication skills.
  • Silver: stretch students and enrich their studies. Silver requires about 30 hours of project work. Your students will develop their own project idea and will gain experience of going through the scientific process.
  • Gold: allow students to conduct real research. These should be longer-term projects that require in the region of 70 hours’ work. At Gold level, your students’ work should contribute something new to the scientific or technological community or to a particular field of study.

Find out more online at www.youthgrandchallenges.org