Virtual academy sees demand soar in lockdown

STEAM School connects young people with professionals who are making waves across STEM-related fields

The Liverpool-based founder of a virtual academy says that demand for its STEM-focused services has “soared” during lockdown.

Jade Parkinson-Hill’s STEAM School has not only been helping local educational institutions deliver lessons amid the pandemic but is also planning for the future.

“As businesses focus on rebuilding their revenues and limiting external travel, they won’t be available to support school aspirations, careers and employer engagement programmes,” said Parkinson-Hill.

“Therefore, I am already planning next year’s curriculum with new platform features and planned missions.”

The virtual academy was founded in 2018 in a bid to connect young people with significant figures from the worlds of science, technology, entrepreneurship, art and maths.

Google and Instagram are just two of the major brands to have guested on broadcasts for STEAM School students.

“I am proud that we have continued to support Liverpool schools during this difficult time, by helping to lighten teacher workload and ‘edutain’ students with broadcasts from young ‘entrepreNERDs’ hailing from all over Europe,” said Parkinson-Hill.

Pupils from Liverpool College pictured in computing classes prior to lockdown

One of the Merseyside schools to have taken advantage of the virtual academy is Liverpool College.

“The advantage of STEAM School is the calibre of people they have on their weekly broadcast,” said Sarah Doran, Liverpool College’s director of STEM.

“Household names such as Pokémon and Fortnite simply don’t come to schools, but we can give our children very real and authentic meetings with professionals at the highest level through the platform.”

STEAM School also offers Liverpool College pupils access to a weekly live careers talk and is integrated into computing lessons, said Doran, with students’ “complete ownership” of which tasks they undertake “very often” leading them to take on optional assignments.

“As a teacher, there’s nothing more rewarding than when children volunteer to do extra work,” said Doran.

From the archive: Back in 2015, we featured Jade Parkinson-Hill’s launch of a young people’s coding club to Liverpool


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