PACA students win national science award

Portslade Aldridge Community Academy celebrated being awarded UK STEM Club of the Year.

PACA STEMNet Award 2Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students and teachers at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) celebrated being awarded UK STEM Club of the Year at the House of Lords.

The national awards, intended to honour the most dedicated and inspirational people motivating young people, were presented in six categories by Steph McGovern, the BBC journalist, and by Lord Sainsbury.

The judges’ citation said: “PACA STEM Club took part in a huge range of STEM activities, but through their STEM Ambassadors they took a particular interest in astronomy and coding. The club has also offered activities for students with widely-different interests - including, developing a cosmetics business, Green power-racing, and Dr-Who-themed science writing.”

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is providing the winning prize to PACA of an exclusive visit for some of its students to CERN - famous for the Large Hadron Collider - in Switzerland, one of the world's largest and most respected centres for scientific research. In December, they will fly to Geneva, where they will have the opportunity to see cutting-edge science in action, as well as meet with top physicists and engineers from across the facility.

The latest accolade follows PACA winning the Coast-to-Capital STEM Club of the Year award at the South East Big Bang show in June and the Gatwick Airport Electronics Prize for the 3D Periodic Table project. This project reached the TeenTech Grand Final, in which PACA came a close second.

Dr Caroline Oprandi, STEM centre manager at PACA, said: “At PACA, we are very lucky to have a dedicated Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Centre, part of the £12.7 million investment in our campus last year."

Katie Scott, PACA's principal, added: “Our specialism in STEM subjects has really been boosted by the various businesses who have offered their support and donated resources to these projects. This has allowed us to develop science projects with neighbouring primary schools, and our students have benefitted beyond measure via their interaction with external businesses, the University of Sussex and STEM Ambassadors."