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Schools win place on aerospace residential

Published on: 21 July 2021

Students with a passion for STEM subjects have taken part in a six-part online STEM mission, competing against teams from other schools across the UK, in a bid to secure their place on the Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme.

Delivered by the Royal Air Force Museum, in partnership with Northrop Grumman in the UK, the STAAR programme offers students the opportunity to experience the excitement of the aerospace industry first-hand.  Hundreds of Year 9 students took part, and the six winning schools who most successfully met the overall mission objectives across each of the six challenges, will now enjoy a two-day residential educational and vocational experience at RAF Cosford, when they return to school after the summer holidays.

With more than 32 schools taking part, the winning teams are:

  • John Hampden Grammar School
  • Denmark Road High School
  • Madeley Academy
  • Barnwell School
  • Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School
  • King Edward VI Handsworth Girls School

Julie Brierley, Head of Access and Learning at RAF Museum Cosford said: 

‘We were blown away with the interest we received from schools across the country, with over 521 students participating.  Schools from as far north as Glasgow, to the far corners of Cornwall took part, along with schools throughout the Midlands and London. We hope it’s been an enjoyable and educational insight into the exciting world of aerospace, and we look forward to welcoming the winning schools to Cosford later this year for their STAAR residential experience.’

To secure their place on the STAAR residential, students had to successfully complete a series of STEM challenges based on a mock mission. Entries were judged by a panel of experts from the Royal Air Force and the aerospace industry, with Air Marshal Knighton overseeing the final selection.

Teams were tasked with designing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), detailing its capabilities, and then creating a 3D CAD model of their design.  Teams had to demonstrate their problem-solving skills as they decrypted coded messages using various techniques, and plot routes to navigate their way through obstacles in a pathfinder’s task.  In the final stages of their mission, students took part in aerial reconnaissance, assessing historical images and modern satellite images, before presenting their findings.

STAAR

Air Marshal Knighton said:

‘I have been hugely impressed by the quality of the entries. The level of technical knowledge is remarkable, but the imagination on display is amazing.  It has been a real privilege to judge this competition.  I can’t thank the students and staff enough for their hard work.’

The students from each winning school will develop their skills further and complete phase two of their STAAR mission during the onsite residential at RAF Cosford in the autumn term.  Students will get to participate in a range of activities, including programming drones to swarm.

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman UK, Europe and Middle East said:

“In 2021 we adapted the STAAR programme to deliver a challenging competition to even more young people than before.  By bringing STEM subjects and their real-world applications to life we aim to provide inspiring opportunities to experience the careers that are available within the aerospace and defence industry. Congratulations to all the teams who took part, and we look forward to welcoming the winners to RAF Cosford for an amazing educational and vocational experience.”

The STAAR programme is fully funded (including travel, food and accommodation for the residential phase) by Northrop Grumman and is delivered in partnership with the RAF Museum and Tablet Academy, with the generous support of RAF Cosford and the RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team.

For more information on the STAAR programme CLICK HERE

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