Vision and Values

Our Vision

To be a centre of excellence for science and technology. By working with world-leading academic and industry partners, we establish confidence and capability, developing young people with the skills, attitudes and ambitions required to succeed.

Our Values

Resilience

We set ourselves challenging goals and develop the skills and ability to overcome problems. We achieve our best.

Respect

By respecting one another we enhance our experiences and benefit from different perspectives. We promote equality.

Responsibility

We readily take responsibility to contribute and support each other, our environment and our world. We make a difference.

Inspiring and Preparing Young People for World Class Employment

Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology is a non fee-paying academy for young people aged 14*-19. A centre of innovation and excellence, providing an unrivalled learning experience for young people considering a career in the fields of science and technology.

Students join us to study GCSEs at age 14*, or to study A levels or BTEC at age 16 and progress through these critical learning years, spending four years in the specialist ‘college’ environment from age 14* or joining us at sixth-form entry stage. We offer a stretching, broad and balanced curriculum at GCSE level and a choice of highly specialist A level and BTEC options, which prepare students for successful future careers in any sector.

Located within Cambridge’s world renowned science hub, we work with leading industry and academic partners to ensure work-based learning is interwoven in the curriculum. Our commitment to career development is core to our provision, resulting in opportunities and benefits that enhance and enliven studies, developing young people with the skills, attitudes and ambition required to succeed.

*Aged 13, Year 9, from September 2018

Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology – at the Heart of World Class Industry

We are fortunate to have support from numerous fully engaged partners, providing unprecedented access to a multitude of inspirational people and resources.  Key supporters include The Sanger Centre for genomic research (Wellcome Trust), the Babraham Institute, Cambridge University Health Partners, Cambridge University Hospitals, the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Napp Pharmaceuticals, Medimmune, Mott McDonald, along with many other companies based on both the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the Cambridge Science Park.

With their support at least six different challenge projects are running every week at CAST.

The Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology model for STEM education

Setting the scene

Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) contribute a huge amount to the UK economy and are at the heart of the Governments latest Industrial Strategy1, this is also the fastest growing part of the economy2.  The strategy states that STEM skills are essential to a range of industries from manufacturing to the arts, yet repeated studies3, 4 find that 85-90% of STEM employers struggle to recruit appropriate staff.  Low skill levels have been identified by the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) as the biggest risk to the UKs continued competitiveness2.  The Governments Industrial Strategy1 identifies Maths and digital technologies as some of these core skills.  In the UK 30% of students fail to achieve a Level 4 in Maths at GCSE and only, only 40% of students applying for a STEM course at university have mathematical skills above GCSE level5.  For digital technology the increased rigour of qualifications has meant that the number of students being offered these subject is limited6.

At the same time, as the country needs increased numbers of STEM students, students are being put off STEM education at school as they are poorly informed about its value to their future careers, lack confidence and support and find the school curriculum lacks interest.  An understanding of how students can convert a love for STEM at school into their future career plans is fundamental, as is an understanding of the relevance of the subjects and how the theory learnt in class can be applied in the ’real world’7.

The CAST model

At CAST we believe in fostering an excitement and life-long interest in STEM subjects in all our students through our innovative STEM based curriculum we address the current issues in UK STEM teaching.  This is achieved through a three part model.

Firstly, all of our students study a wide range of STEM based subjects to achieve a strong academic underpinning in STEM.  This is delivered by an experienced team of specialist teachers, 59% students say that their teachers are one of the main influences on their future career choices.  A student taking Triple Science at GCSE is three times more likely to study it at A Level than a student taking Double Science8.  At CAST all students study Triple Award Science at GCSE.  Furthermore, all of our student’s post-16 continue studying either A level or Core Maths (compared to less than 40% nationally5).  All of our GCSE students also study either Computer Science or IT.

The second strand of our curriculum is our Challenge programme.  This is a compulsory part of the curriculum, it allows students to apply their academic knowledge in an applied way, thus opening the students eyes to relevance of their study and allowing them to learn the practical skills they need to succeed professionally.  Challenge Projects entail students working in teams to address ‘real world’ problems.  The projects are both designed and delivered in partnership with colleagues from industry, academia and healthcare and often entail the students engaging in ongoing professional projects.  Project based learning has been shown to be very effective at developing student understanding and learning in STEM9.  Through the projects the students meet and work with scientists and engineers learning the practical, employability and transferable skills that they need to succeed when they leave the college.  The students also learn about the careers available to them upon graduation7, 9, 10.

The third strand of our curriculum is our wider curriculum.  The students understand how their work fits into the wider context of life in the UK, and indeed wider world today.  The preparation for our students for the world of work has been described by Ofsted as exceptional with almost all of our sixth form students going on to either higher education, apprenticeships or work in STEM.  Furthermore, our strong pastoral, Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) programmes mean that students are well prepared when they transition into the world beyond school.

References

  1. M. Government (2017)  Industrial strategy:  Building a Britain fit for the future.
  2. CBI (2015) The path ahead:  CBI/Accenture employment trends survey 2015.
  3. UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2016, amended 2018) Employer skills survey 2015:  UK results.
  4. STEM Learning (2018) Skills shortage costing STEM sector £1.5 billion. [online]  Available at https://www.stem.org.uk/news-and-views/news/skills-shortage-costing-stem-sector-15bn (accessed 18 May 2018)
  5. M. Government (2017) Report of Professor Sir Adrian Smith’s review of post-16 mathematics.
  6. Royal Society (2017) After the reboot:  Computing education in UK schools.
  7. T. Kearney (2016) Tough choices:  The real reasons A-Level students are steering clear of science and maths.
  8. L. & DeWitt, J. (2016) Understanding young people’s science aspirations:  How students form ideas about’ becoming scientists’.  Routledge, London
  9. Wellcome Trust (2016) Young researchers:  A rapid evidence review of practical independent research projects in science.
  10. Kings College London (2016) ASPIRES 2 project spotlight:  Year 11 students’ views of career education and work experience.
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