Local MP Mr Francis Maude enjoyed a visit to The Forest School this week to see how their drive to promote STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is preparing pupils for careers within an industry that is experiencing a severe skills shortage.
He also had the opportunity to see how the school truly supports every pupil to achieve their very best.
In an action packed visit that saw both Mr Maude and his wife, Christina, taking part in a ‘pancake challenge’ based on manufacturing batch production techniques, the MP for Horsham experienced first-hand how the school demonstrates strength across the STEM subjects.
After putting his skills to the test in the pressured environment of the kitchen Mr Maude met pupils involved in a variety of science, technology, engineering and maths projects.
Yr 10 pupil, Calum, said “We met Mr Maude and talked to him about our Bio-Fuel project.
“We represented the Southern Region at the National Science Competition Final held at the Big Bang Science and Engineering Fair in Birmingham earlier this year.
“He was really interested in the opportunities that we get here at Forest to develop our skills in the STEM subjects.
“He talked to us about the Government’s support of these subjects and the real need for skilled young people to fill the skills gap in this sector.”
Mr Maude went on to meet pupils who took part in a worldwide Mathematics Challenge where they secured places in the top 25% of the 3 million pupils who took part across 33 countries, as well as meeting the ‘Forest Falcon’ Greenpower electric car racing team.
Assistant Headteacher and Science Subject Teacher, Mr Scott Swift, added: “Mr Maude was impressed that we were offering this level of STEM opportunities for our pupils.
“We have a really strong record of academic and extra-curricular achievements in STEM, with exceptional GCSE results in Mathematics and success in the sciences.
“We really prepare pupils for future careers in these subjects.”
The development of leadership skills is also key for every pupil, as is the drive to ensure every boy achieves his best during his time at Forest.
More able and talented pupils discussed with Mr Maude how the early entry exam system has benefitted them and their learning, enabling them to go on to study advanced level courses whilst still at school.
He also met pupils from the Government backed Pixel programme that gives pupils the additional support they need to succeed and from the School’s Pupil Senior Leadership Team who discussed their role in developing the school.
Of the visit Mr Maude MP said: “I always enjoy visiting schools and never more so than when the pupils are lively, engaged and full of purpose.
“The Forest School is impressive in stretching pupils’ ambitions and expectations, and staff are clearly addressing the importance of STEM subjects in encouraging boys to think about very worthwhile careers in these areas.”
Headteacher, Ms Siobhan Denning went on to add: “It was a delight to welcome Francis to the school. Mr Maude’s visit has been a fantastic opportunity for the boys to showcase the exceptional work that they do and for him to experience the fantastic energy and buzz that we have in the school.
“We look forward to him visiting us again soon.”