Interview with Phil Avery, Bohunt Trust

The implications on education, especially for the most vulnerable young people in society because of COVID-19 have been far-reaching. Teachers have adapted quickly, delivering lessons to both key worker and vulnerable children in the classroom and online for students at home.  

As part of our commitment to #closingthegap in July, our Education Team delivered live teaching days to over 500 young people. During our visit to Bohunt Horsham we caught up with Phil Avery, Director of Education at the Bohunt Trust. 

“We are not sure what the long-term effects of COVID-19 will be yet as it’s still playing out. However, there are things that we are already worried about from what we are seeing. Firstly engagement, we have a number of students who have found it difficult to engage at all with learning. Then there are other students who have struggled to engage in a productive way with learning as they haven’t got that trained adult to support them all the way through. For both groups we are worried about the attainment gap and their ability to re-engage.’’ says Phil. 

Recent research suggests up to one fifth of pupils, which is the equivalent of two million young people in the UK, have done less than an hour’s schoolwork at home each day, and just 16% of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are taking part in daily lessons. 

“In September we are so looking forward to being back with the students. However, many students will have missed chunks of learning, When back, we will be able to see how wide the learning gaps are and we’re going to have to come up with innovative solutions to be able to close them. Those innovative solutions are going to be helped greatly by the mix of inspiration and high-quality science learning seen on STEM Crew and the live teaching sessions.’’ Explains Phil. 

STEM Crew is our digital education platform providing free resources. Through, the investment and belief of our initial funders, the 1851 Trust now has a proven model delivering exciting and highly engaged science lessons in 35% of UK schools, reaching +150,000 young people each year, many of whom are from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.  

“At the Bohunt Trust we believe we are providing a fantastic education. That means striving for great exams results, but for us, education is far more than that. It’s about the opportunities we can give young people to learn about careers, it’s about teamwork and leadership, it’s about how that all comes together to produce something that’s incredible for the students long in to the future.’’ 

“Our normal school days tend to look traditional with learning across subjects such as science, maths and technology. But the real-world learning does not work so well in those neat silos. You need to bring subjects together through multi-disciplinary learning. In the real world you won’t be working on a project as an individual, you tend to be working as part of a team and normally you’re not working on things that are known, you’re trying to work towards the unknown, trying to do something different, something better. Therefore, working with STEM Crew is crucial to what we are trying to develop in young people, because it is ambitious, multidisciplinary learning. It is working with the materials and role models on STEM Crew that allows our young people to thrive.’’ 

Phil finished our conversation with ‘’we want to create students that are game changers and that is what the 1851 Trust is all about.’’ 

To find out more about STEM Crew visit https://www.stemcrew.org/ 

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