University and Academy link up will be a force for good in Northampton

Date 22.01.2019

The University of Northampton has joined forces with Northampton International Academy in a move that will reap dividends for students, pupils and the community.

The organisations have signed a partnership agreement that will see them collaborate on a number of projects.

The institutions are converting two spare rooms at the school’s newly-opened Barrack Road site into a STEAMSpace – a place devoted to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) activities.

The space will be used by staff, University students, Academy pupils and those from other schools, plus members of the community.

Opening in the spring, the STEAMSpace will be kitted out with equipment from the school and University, including laptops, a 3D printer, virtual reality hardware, robots and Lego.

The space will provide a base for University staff and students to conduct workshops and masterclasses designed to help Academy and other school pupils in the town raise their attainment and aspirations in the field of STEAM subjects. Community groups will also be invited to use the rooms.

“When people think of our University, they probably only think about the Higher Education we provide to students,” said Linda Davis-Sinclair, Schools Engagement Lead at the University. “But we also play a major role within our county’s schools throughout the year, engaging with thousands of pupils via a packed series of activities and events designed to inspire the next generation of STEAM superstars.

“The new STEAMSpace at Northampton International Academy provides us with an amazing specialist space to enhance the delivery of our schools engagement work even further, and we’re incredibly excited about the partnership and its possibilities.”

Northampton International Academy headteacher, Tim Marston, said: “We’re really excited to be working with the University of Northampton on this incredible project, which will enable our pupils to develop their skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths with support and tuition from the University.

“In return, we’re delighted to offer the University a home here at Northampton International Academy for the STEAMSpace and I look forward to the two organisations sharing not just facilities, but also a passion for learning.”

Future partnership projects in the pipeline include link ups with staff and students from the University’s Fine Art and Media courses, while the University is also hosting a 10-week Code Club programme at the school, providing computer programming coaching for pupils.

The University’s Schools Engagement Team also organised a hugely successful debating club at the Academy for its pupils and a number of other secondary schools in the county, while the University and Academy are collaborating on a European research project which promotes digital learning.

John Sinclair, the University’s Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology, is pictured signing the partnership agreement with NIA headteacher, Tim Marston – while Red the robot looks on.