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Ashmole Academy

Tom Gilfeather is Head of Personal Development at Ashmole Academy, in North London. He recently coordinated a drone coding and engineering day, funded by a £700 Neon bursary.

Meet the teacher

I’m Head of Personal Development at Ashmole Academy, which is a large school - about 1,800 students. I mainly look after PSCHE and careers teaching, which includes coordinating insight days and work experience for students.

We have a significant proportion of students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and so we were eligible to apply for the Neon bursary.

Unfortunately, one of the first conversations we have when we try to organise insight days is about cost, and that’s sometimes a dealbreaker, so we were so pleased to be awarded a bursary of £700.

We used the bursary to fund the drone coding and engineering day with Skill Supply.

The day itself was really good – it was really hands-on and meant the students were fully engaged, and there was an element of competition which was great. If we could do it again we’d definitely have a bit more space!

I loved how the coordinators got straight into it, and they were personable and made it relevant to students – and they got stuck in and got their hands dirty. Dom and Liz from Skill Supply knew exactly what they were doing.

This day was fantastic! The students were thoroughly engaged and excited about the day, a whole loads of learning went on and as Neon say they learned through this real experience. Some of them now are considering a route into the drone industry on the back of this. Dom and Liz were excellent with the students; personable, humourous, approachable, very knowledgeable - couldn't ask for more! 5 star! *****
TOM GILFEATHER Careers Coordinator

The experience has had a great impact. The students learnt a lot, and I even had a few students come back to me after to say they’re seriously looking at engineering as a potential career path.

Our teachers were also keen to incorporate what students had learnt into lessons. Most of the students who attended were studying science or computer science, and they were able to refer to the day in any relevant lessons afterwards.

I would absolutely recommend the bursary - I would say absolutely go ahead and apply. I think students really need more of this kind of days and experiences.

Nowadays teachers have so much content to get through, time is sometimes an issue. However, the students who were involved in drone day will remember it for years, and they won’t remember every school day.

It refreshes students’ engagement and their buy-in to subjects, so I would absolutely recommend days like this.

Our students learnt a lot because they were doing it. Not learning it from a teacher, or a textbook or a worksheet but they were actually doing programming and thinking about how it will apply in the real world.

Icon representing Secondary education Secondary
Workshop

Drone coding and engineering

Learn to code a drone, overcome challenges, discover how engineers work and how you could use drones in the future!

  • Ages 11 to 21
  • In-school
  • Full day
  • Cost applies
Icon representing Secondary education Secondary
Workshop

Crumble coding and engineering

Engineer your own machine then bring it to life by coding the Crumble Microcontroller!

  • Ages 11 to 21
  • In-school
  • Full day
  • Cost applies