The people who kicked STEAM Co off and are still hanging on to the the handlebars aren't expert academics or nuclear physicists, expert coders or fine artists.
We're just parents, probably like you (did we really just say 'just'?)
And like you we try to do what we do well but wouldn't go many rounds against a hardened traditional educationalist or someone with a doctorate in educational psychology, which is why we're keen to know people who do. People we can stand behind in the playground.
And thank goodness we do know people like this.
We're so grateful to the following for taking their turn by stepping up to whisper in our ear at the right time.
Meet a few of our advisers:
Since 2007 Rachel has been the Headteacher of The Spinney Primary School in Cambridge, a happy, welcoming, creative and successful school. (Ofsted "Outstanding") She is a passionate, energetic, and enthusiastic leader who believes "anything is possible to a willing heart!"
In 2011 The Spinney was featured in The Guardian's "A School I'd like" Competition with a particular reference to The school's Get on The Bus Curriculum. The Spinney is forward thinking and outward reaching always exploring new avenues to add richness and diversity to the school's curriculum.
In September 2014 The Spinney was designated as a National Teaching School and Rachel a National Leader of Education. The Spinney is the lead school of The Kite Teaching School Alliance, Cambridge @kitetsa . Rachel sits on the Primary Headteachers' Reference Group at The DFE. In her spare time Rachel plays in a Ukulele Band and holds a black belt in Tang Soo Do.
"STEAM Co. is a brilliant initiative. It's a framework which brings entire communities together around a co-constructed vision for creative, joyful and innovative learning!"
A communications strategy consultant with a background in journalism, Linda works with organisations to campaign, raise public awareness, engage with broadcasters, engage stakeholders and manage their reputations.
For 15 years she was Director of Communications and Marketing at The Big Lottery Fund where she lead strategic corporate communications, including press, new media, marketing and campaigns. Most significantly she lead on partnerships and public engagement projects and campsings including People's Millions on ITV, Secret Millions with Channel 4, Village SoS and the Big Lunch run in conjunction with the Eden project.
Linda also teaches and mentors others and has developed specialist training materials on communications, crisis management, dealing with the media and campaigning.
“I passionately believe that the big idea behind STEAM Co. can reach more than the children it targets directly given the way it will contribute significantly to community engagement, connected businesses and the largely freelance, creative economy”
Pam is Professor of Arts, Creativities and Education at the University of Cambridge. She sits on and advises a number of boards and is behind a wide range of highly respected books, papers and talks.
She has dedicated her career to understanding not only why creativity is important but how to teach it, and its relationship to what are often seen as more academic subject areas. She has a particular interest and specialism in STEAM and recently invited us to join a BERA project she is leading into STEAM Education in conjunction with the Universities of Warwick, Aberdeen and Aberystwyth
“My interests involve creativities of all kinds and in all contexts. I’m particularly drawn to the way that STEAM Co. focusses on all aspects of creativity in real world and relevant ways by engaging with social, cultural, business and academic communities”
Married mother-of-three Jaz began her career as a teacher and is passionate about children’s education and learning.
She runs a highly successful phonics business and is sought after as a speaker at international conferences - see her amazing #TMLondon talk here - and has a couple of books underway.
A flamboyant character on an off day, one of Jaz's milestones was an appearance on the BBC's Apprentice show where she explained phonics after getting fired in the first episode for taking her nan's advice.
“I firmly believe in a holistic appraoch to education, educating the whole child and drawing on a range of inspiration.
And I agree with Sir Ken that "Creativity IS as important as literacy”
Marva Rollins is in her 22nd year of Headship and is in her 17th year as Headteacher of Raynham Primary (880 pupils, aged 2 - 11), in Edmonton serving one of the UK’s most challenged communities.
She is committed to giving children in inner city schools an opportunity to excel and has been the recipient of two awards for her contribution to education and the community: an honorary degree and the Windrush Education Champion.
Marva has been named by the Evening Standard as one of the 1,000 most influential people in London, and featured in the Metro’s top 50 Black Heroes.
A regular conference speaker, trainer and facilitator Marva uses her training in Personal Development to train and motivate others.
At the STEAM Co. Blue Sky Doing event, Marva said "Creativity is a luxury for our children.
Our community is broke but not broken. We'd love to have a STEAM Co. Day in our school."
Alex is an experienced facilitator, conference speaker, coach and senior leader in education and the social sector.
Prior to becoming Director of Portland Education, Alex lead two London schools in challenging circumstances to be Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ and designed and delivered bespoke facilitation globally.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, adviser for the Co-operative Schools Network, coach for the Teachers Guild in the USA, facilitator for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and an Ambassador for the British Council.
"I'm delighted to be working with STEAM Co. being an organisation that reminds me of my own childhood and of the childhood that everyone deserves, where possibilities are endless.
STEAM Co. has the knack of unleashing the rich creativity that should be strengthening the hearts and sharpening the minds of all our young people."
Since training to teach in the late ‘90s, Ben has done pretty much everything in and around schools, except teaching.
He has worked for the DfE and the University of Cambridge, gained an M.Ed, and is currently a p/t director at a charity supporting the health and well-being of all who work in education.
He has also worked as a consultant for the RSA, the Relational Schools Project, the IoE, Whole Education, and a range of schools.
“I'm really keen to support STEAM Co, particularly in relation to how it can be parent- and community-led, outside of schools.
As a child, I learned so much from summer clubs and community learning activities. Now, as a dad, I want my children - and their mates - to have the same opportunities.”
With over 30 years ' experience in teaching; seventeen of which have been as a head teacher in a wide variety of schools, Anglea has spent the past 6 years as Executive Head for the Woodland schools Multi Academy Trust.
Through her work as a NLE and Ofsted Inspector she chooses to work in some of the most deprived wards in the country, with . Governors, Directors and Members who are also determined to make a difference both within our own schools and within the community. See film here.
“I support STEAM Co because of the way it engages and connects with the parent community, especially those who might otherwise be a little harder to reach .
I'm keen to help STEAM Co. activities dovetail with the national curriculum."
PROF. SUGATA MITRA
You won't have failed to notice the inspiration we've drawn from TED - the global talks and content organisation. Their TED-Ed content - 'Lessons worth sharing' offers an international curriculum for any school in itself.
Without doubt a highlight is a talk by Prof Sugata Mitra from Newcastle University who most famously put a computer in a wall for local children in a slum to see what would happen. What happened helped win him $1m in prize money from TED to build a 'School in the Cloud', powered by Grannies.
We're delighted that Sugata and his SOLE Central team are going to speak at a regional launch event we're planning for the North East and contribute to the development of a collaboration activity that any community can use in its own STEAM CO. Day.
“Schools of the 19th century were meant to produce soldiers, clerks and factory workers. Creativity would adversely affect the smooth operation of Empires.
What attracted me to help STEAM Co. was that they want to get their work and influence out to every UK primary school."
If death by PowerPoint lies at one extreme of the effective communictions spectrum, then Neil Atkin bungee jumps off the other.
Convinced that the tedious way he’d been taught to swim had caused him to never swim for pleasure, he's dedicated himself to ensure that children aren't put off science eduction for the same reason.
He teaches physics using extreme sports and magic to explain maths concepts.
We were delighted when he gave a short talk at #SCOL1, our regional launch event in Liverpool that got everyone on the edge of their seats looking for a life jacket.
“Some of the best scientists we have are sitting in classrooms bored to tears.
I want to help STEAM Co. excite and educate our children by getting parents and businesses to work with schools."
Without doubt, STEAM Co. would not be here today without Lindsey Woodford's support.
Without her leadership, St Saviours C of E Primary School in Paddington, London would be just another challenged inner city state primary with a roll of children from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Over two decades under her leadership, the school has been transformed from academic, physical and engagement perspectives into a centre of excellence, acknowledged by a bevy of awards and accolades.
Lindsey embraced the idea to stage the first STEAM Co. Day and gave it the support needed to to see 'STEAM Co. at St Saviour's' becoming a finalist in the TES School Awards for Community and Collaboration'
"Our STEAM Co. Day is a cherished date in our school calendar and one many of our children will remember forever.
But it's particularly special to me because of the way it involves parents in school life, parents that might not normally get involved in school activities. There's something for everyone in STEAM Co."
With several decades under his belt in media and publishing with companies as diverse as Chrysalis Records and Harper Collins, TED-X Liverpool's description of Nigel Ward as an 'industrialist turned academic' was spot on.
After a call from then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, he was asked to visit a failing school in a challenged community and told he was "the best chance these kids have got".
He seized the bull by the horns and is now Founder and CEO of Northern Schools Trust with 4 amazing and innovative schools under their wing, including the UK's first specialsit science and coding schools.
Nigel provides a range of perspectives and connections for STEAM Co. not least the provision of a venue and connections for the first regional launch #SCOL1 on whch he said:
“Collaborating with and engaging our local community is important to us.
Staging this STEAM Co launch event not only allows us to give back to our feeder primary schools but also gives our students an invaluable opportunity to step up and play their part in working with the 250 children we’ll have in, acting as inspiring role models themselves”.
Hannah is the Headteacher Designate for Aureus School, Didcot and Regional Director of the Oxfordshire Hub for GLF Schools. Aureus is a Year 7 start-up school which will be opened in September 2017 and which counts STEAM thinking as one of its founding pillars.
Prior to this Hannah was the Professional Learning Lead Consultant for the Harris Federation after career progression there. She has led rapid improvements in Teaching and Learning moving inadequate provision to excellent through coaching and targeted professional learning.
Hannah is also the Co-Founder of #WomenEd, a grassroots gender equality movement that connects aspiring, emerging and serving women leaders in education. She wants the school leadership teams around the country to reflect the diverse workforce. She is also a coach in the DfE’s women leading in education coaching pilot.
"STEAM will be a specialism in the school. My background is the performing arts and I believe in the power of the arts to develop young people. We must develop whole people."
A secondary teacher in London since 1986; Paul has worked in schools across The East End, central and North London. He is Specialist Leader of Education for curriculum design and a Drama and English teacher and educational consultant as well as an RHS Landscape Gardener when he gets a minute.
He was also Principal Designate for a free school project built on an arts-rich big philosophy.
This parent-led free secondary school set out to see parents bring a rich life experience, with one having run the Royal Shakespeare Company's education department as well as environmental and health expertise from DEFRA and City Hall; financial experience from Credit Suisse; training and IT experience from the corporate world; and direct educational experience in schools.
“Schools and hard pressed teachers can’t do everything, and why should they, with such a wealth of untapped experience and inspiration out there in the community, I fully support STEAM Co.’s vision of bridging what is often a gulf between communities and schools and the way I am sure it will help move our education system forward by example and inspiration.”
PROF. DAVE HORNBY
Having been motivated to "see what is beyond the door" over 40 years ago by an inspirational teacher, Dave Hornby has combined his research interests with a long-standing collaboration with Biotechnology Companies.
After completing his term of office as Head of one of the UK's most successful Life Sciences Departments, at the University of Sheffield, along came the opportunity to take a hands-on role in Science education at the school level at Liverpool Life Sciences UTC where he gave a short talk at #SCOL1 : our regional launch.
"I have been staggered by students' ability to cope with high level scientific concepts and to adapt to a contemporary research environment with ease and confidence.
The challenge is now to harness these experiences and roll them out more widely. This will mean working alongside colleagues in organisations like STEAM Co., the National Science Learning Centre, Professional Bodies and the Business Community, in order to identify and mentor cohorts of science teachers to act as champions for creativity.
It is vital that we start at an early age and continue to nurture young talent to ensure we make a career in Science as appealing as being a footballer or rockstar!"
We're talking to people all the time who want to join us and compliment our team.
Watch this space.