2016 A Window of Opportunities

I’ve had a few days to reflect before I wrap up this year and take stock of the lessons I have learnt.  It’s  been  a year we’re unlikely to forget for a while, that’s for sure. Brexit happened and made me question this country’s values and the biggest political surprise of 2016 – Trump!

But I remember in 2015, my New Years resolution was to say ‘yes’ more, which is how I ended up challenging myself and listening to my gut instincts, that’s been an important lesson to learn.

In every challenge there lies opportunity. But, when I look back to the many opportunities I have had, to make a change, but never took them, I ask myself did I lack confidence? Maybe. Was I scared? Perhaps. However, that should not have stopped me, because  I’ve come realise if you want things to change, it really lies within yourself to make things happen. When the time calls, You and only you will have to go out there and seize those opportunities,  because with change – comes opportunities and as a result. this is what happened!

There have been many milestones reached, awards awarded, and achievements achieved. With four hats to juggle in my day to day work, Art, Design & Technology Technician, Instructor and STEM Coordinator.  I cannot deny, it’s been a long, tough but exciting year and proof, that nothing is impossible – the impossible just needs that extra effort!

My firm belief is that the key to a good link is the relationship between who you surround yourself with and the strong connections in your industry. I have met some amazing people who have put their trust and belief in me, that has meant so much and I am so grateful to them. Thank you all for this encouragement to continue this important work.

Research suggests that students actually retain a great deal of factual information from their visits, and are able to recall details about what they had seen at a very high rate.  The refreshed content, resources and vision meant that students were being constantly pushed and stimulated.

This turned into an exciting one at Ursuline, a year of enrichment days engaged every year group in the school, starting early in the year with the pilot #GirlsinSTEM event organised by @Stemettes and @Accenture.

To celebrate Careers week we invited role model keynote speakers from the industry (Skanska) to deliver assembly about engineering.

The School Featured in the Salesforce World Tour documentary video. Followed by further inspiring Stemettes and Accenture partnership ‘Stem in a Day’ visits.

Big wins for 2016, we were Regional and National winners of the Micro:bit Faraday Challenge.

A dedicated team entered the Dulux £5,000 @smarterspace competition with less than two weeks to deadline, and went on to become the national winners! The Prize an inspirational Design and Technology classroom makeover. A great testament to their dedication.

Pupil wins out of this world trip to Grace Hopper for women in Texas, courtesy of Stemettes

Two pupils out of 9 nationally, were selected to be part of the inugural IET Junior Board

Pupils become keynote speakers at major STEM events, ie: Imperial College and Cambridge University.

To spread the word amongst their peers, pupils arranged their own STEM school assemblies.

A great testament to pupils contributions, we started to see our very own pupils reaping and winning their own individual STEM awards! BYA.

Apprenticeships is now seen as a real opportunity and during Apprenticeship week, Crossrail arranged a Civil Engineering Awareness day, so inspired, two pupils applied, one applicant was successful in her application. We now have our first Civil Engineer Apprentice.

Pupil features in a  BBC Digital innovative STEM video

A visit to the Wearable Technology show at ExCel, inspires pupils content for their GCSE coursework, and in light of the English inaugural, for the first time ever, D&T GCSE Graphic Product subject is oversubscribed!

Brilliant news – Crossrail have set up work experiences days in the new year, for pupils. This will increase work-based learning, There’s no place like workplaces within STEM industries to see STEM in action. Even better, this points to what we need more of, in order to fully develop the Next Generation Career Pathways.

Two pupils received interviews to both Oxford and Cambridge one to read Mechanical Engineering the other Maths,  and many others applying in some form of engineering as a career. I would like to think I have played a small role in that process.

Needless to say It’s been a very busy year!

Young people need to be inspired, engaged, and dazzled. This is nothing new. However, we must all try to do a better job with the tools that we have available to us now more than ever. I am now personally invested to help them understand that its the small tiny steps that form the platform for bigger success I am very excited about the future.

Most importantly, I have always taken what I have learnt and shared it with my colleagues to ensure that whatever – they are equipped to deliver the best possible service/lesson to their students.  The immense thrill of being able to seek opportunities for others, and seeing them flourish, whilst watching them manage their own network and then watching them winning their own STEM awards is a real joy.

Last year, I made the decision to apply and take part in the pilot STEM Insight industrial work placement for teachers with te biggest engineering project in Europe.  I underestimated the extent to which it would benefit me. I soon realised it was going to give me a lot more than I originally anticipated, not only did the placement provide me with essential experience, the people I met and the development opportunities I was given were priceless. It inspired me to have confidence to go beyond my own expectations, and achieve outcomes which quite frankly, have astounded me. I’ve been able to do things I thought I would never be able to do.

I take inspiration and learn from the things that don’t work so well. We are all inspired by other people; I am inspired by many, many more than I can list, people who run big businesses and small, CEO’s, Managing Directors, even walking into a coffee shop, I can be inspired, but who would have thought Crossrail would have inspired me and given me the opportunities to help impact pupils in their choices for their careers.

Embracing this educational opportunity, I  pride myself on the fact that one of the great benefits of these kind of collaborations is that I always learn something. To me,  a great system is one where all parties work towards a collective goal and therefore can drive the same message forward.  I feel this only,  truly works when both parties interact well together, Crossrail and Stem Learning have been influential partners.

Yes a good relationship between education and the industry is key to building a successful connection. That maybe could have been the reason why as part of Baccalaureate focus on how best to fill the skills gap in essential skilled engineering occupations, and the actions needed.  Why I was  invited to share a few words of wisdom about my experiences to influential politicians, stakeholders and professors. As a keynote speaker at a series of parliamentary events about inspiring the next generations of engineers and to raise awareness of the STEM insight programme.

Starting with Westminster, then at Sineed Cardiff and then finally onto the Scottish Parliament. Many thanks  to Peter Finegood from Imeche, Lauren Hillier at Crossrail and Gemma Taylor at Stem Learning,  this would not have been possible without taking part in the programme which have consequently opened many doors for our pupils.

As a result the profile of the school has been raised, our whole school approach to STEM has transformed the learning environment of other subjects, all wanting to offer similar enriching programmes.

I became a Published Author for Innovate my school about my work in STEM, http://www.innovatemyschool.com

Several request to write blogs for Stem Learning about my STEM Insight experience.

Another priceless opportunity rose to be a Keynote speaker for the Royal Society for their STEMM mentoring programme, which is an additional role I took upon this year.

I was very touched, to learn in March this year, my Headteacher called me into her office to announce that she was nominating me for the Jack Petchey Leaders Award, then to be notified that I had won the award plus £750, which went towards purchasing our newest tech a 3D printer. Really meant an awful lot to me.

Then two further awards followed, I found out that I had been nominated and won the DATA Exceptional Support for Design And Technology,

later on in the year I won the Project Enthuse Award, this hat trick of national accolades brought home in 2016,  marked a pinnacle of achievement in our STEM journey that I set out six years ago with a vision to engage as many our young ladies to consider engineering – especially as a career.

To be collaborative and ensure we are constantly involving and interacting with our networks, so that we can learn from them and gather ideas to help build and grow our STEM club forward in the best direction, into the future is going to be exciting. It has been a privilege for me and this is something I am looking forward to continue to do with these great industry partners.

Moving forward,  I’m confident that even more pupils will be drawn to our shared vision that the next generation should be able to enjoy an environment that’s getting better – a safer climate, healthy air, water and food, we need 850,000 engineers every year for the next 10 to 15 years, a staggering amount, to help improve and tackle the worlds problems.

I have met some incredible people who have  both encouraged, challenged and believed in me to be the best I can. I was also able to start my own business, that took great strength, belief and confidence, but I conquered my fears and was able to take the risk!

If I could pin point three things in 2016, I learnt about myself. One, how determined I am.  Two, how mentally strong I am. And Three, Always be ready, when opportunity knocks , seize it, it could be the first or only chance, and the one you have been waiting for.

I will remember the year 2016, as the year when, every opportunity I said yes to, although admittedly, it felt I was well out of my comfort zone, certainly not in my natural space. but in the words of the late Carrie Fisher ” you don’t have to wait to be confident, just do it it and the confidence will follow” oh boy – my word how true.

The next year will present great challenges, but the past 12 months shows that with support, persistence, motivation, discipline, determination and a bit of hard work, things can make a real difference.

My highlight for me though, this year has to be when I recieved my Jack recieved Leaders award. Siting amongst such an inspirational group of our students who have all shown exceptional levels of talent, dedication and achievement. It was fantastic to share this experience with our young award winners. It is a moment I shall always remember! 

So as another eventful year has almost passed it has been a year with boundless opportunities and I am excited at the prospect in the coming year, as the school announced two weeks ago that as part of the whole school development plan. The school will remain a centre of excellence for STEM. I hope at the end of next year we will be able to share our success, ideas and good practice.

Everyday the World is becoming a more technological World, and while we are proud of the impact our collaborations with Stemettes, Crossrail and STEM Learning have made,  we will continue to ask ourselves important questions, how can we increase that impact in 2017. Our vision reminds us there is much still to be done!

On a personal note, as 2016 comes to a close and as I prepare to celebrate with my family and look forward to embarking on our own STEM build project here in Las Vegas, and we look forward to 2017, I will end on this note.

Take a chance on yourself, Believe in yourself. Bet on yourself, never stop believing you can.  And in the words of Sir Jack Petchey.

“if you think you can you can”

Happy almost New Year 2017!











32 thoughts on “2016 A Window of Opportunities”

  1. Wow what an amazing year. The children are very lucky having you there supporting, encouraging and inspiring them and making them believe in themselves to make a difference for our future.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rosemary has achieved great things last year 2016 both for herself and her pupils. Well done and congratulations. Keep up the good work and I hope 2017 has more exciting challenges and rewards for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations Rose,
    I absolutely loved reading your blog. It is engaging, interesting and very gripping to read. I am extremely proud of your achievements. Once again congratulations.
    Keep writing never give up on your dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an inspiration you are… Not just to the children you teach, but to your friends, family and all who read this blog. Your achievements and contributions to education are admirable. I hope and pray that the rungs on your ladder of success are continuous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments Andria, it means a lot to me. I normally review my year at the end of my years diary. But going viral this year, the reception I have received, has been a bit overwhelming and very positive as well. All thanks to my son Darel who has been encouraging me to do so.
      Thank you once again.


  5. You are simply the best Rosemary. Congratulations on your achievements. If only all Teachers were like you. Keep up the good work and keep your inspiration glowing. You are the light for the children to see 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rose your work has been truly amazing and your dedication to continually raise the bar has inspired the future of many young people that has made a positive impact.

    No doubt the bar will be raised for 2017. Congratulations on your wonderful achievements

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Ossy,
      Many thanks for your comments, I know you’re doing a brilliant job with young people as well. I will try to do the best I can for them again this year, I hope I don’t run out of STEaM!


  7. Congratulations Rose well done I’m so proud of you yes I agree we can do anything we put our minds to and believing in ones self keep it up. Also congratulations to the school my daughter was a pupil as you know and she has made her mind up to follow her dreams I’m so proud of her how hard she is working to achieve it. I shall look forward to hearing more of whats transpiring thoroughly enjoyed your blog.
    Happy new year to you and family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Glenda,
      Thank you very much, I was very hesitant about going viral but my son Darel encouraged me to do so. I’m so pleased I did, it’s been very positive and I hope it inspires others to be brave, take risk, believe, be ready and say yes more often you will be surprised! and yes something to remember, I sincerely believe you can achieve anything you want to, if you put the effort in! Just keep encouraging Mercedes, she will believe and her dreams will come true!

      Thank you once again


  8. Wow Rose, I have just finished reading your blog and am amazed and so very proud of you and what you and your pupils have achieved, I know you told me about Stem but didn’t realise how involved you where, well done to you all and hope you have another great and successful year ahead

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rossie you are truly remarkable your achievements and knowledge you’ve shared with your pupils collegues and friends to help them grow you deserve every award as you said hard work paid off congratulations and all the best 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mark,
      Thank you Mark, pleased you liked it, and thank s for lovely comments. Yes looking forward to 2017, and working with even more inspirational pupils. After all they are the ones who drive me, its all done to make them the leaders we need to make it a better world.


  10. Hi Aunty, I’ve read your blog and wanted to say how proud I am of you and what you have achieved along with your students. You are an inspiration to us all that when faced with personal sadness you carried on and turned your sadness into a reason to achieve greatness which you have done wonderfully. Love Ashley


    1. Hi Ashley,
      Thank you for your lovely comments, yes I suppose in a way, in light of everything that has happened, there is always light at the end of a tunnel. Thankfully I have taken what was a very difficult time and channelled it into something positive for everyone!


  11. This is amazing Miss! Congratulations to your success and many more to come! The students should really appreciate you as they are lucky to have you, I thank you for inspiring me since year 7 to this day! You will be one of the teachers I never forget – for the positive impact you have had on my life.
    Thank YOU so very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amanjit,
      Lovely to hear from you, and thank you so much for your lovely comments. I will always remember thinking back to when you and Floriane were in YR 7. I thought my gosh! even then at that young age there was something special, and how committed and dedicated you both were while working on the create a sports challenge.

      I am convinced you two will make your mark and go very far, looking very forward to seeing how your careers develop!


  12. Amazing Article Mrs R! Always an inspiration for myself and 2016’s achievements are a testament to your hardwork and dedication to STEM education. I say bring on 2017 and all it has to offer!! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Floriane, Not to mention or forgetting how inspirational you are to you peers! All ways a pleasure to work and have pupils like you – makes the job defiantly worthwhile!

      I’m looking forward to reading and sharing your blogs very soon as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy New Year to you and family!

    Wow is that you, very poweful and inspirational, I am not aware of the STEM programme so will do some research.

    I have been saying yes all my life and its been exciting and rewarding so go for it, you are an inspiration to young people!

    Receiving your text gave me some reassurance and great satisfaction that there are other people out there that care and will do what it takes to make a difference.

    Fantastic Rose such great achievements and a strong and positive way to kick off 2017!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many Thanks Pauline, I know you have done a lot yourself and I’ve always admired the work and time you have donated for the good of our young people. But I know what you mean about, now having to learn, how to say NO! Its getting the balance right in the end.
      I will do my best to keep the momentum going for 2017!


  14. A big congratulations for every single achievement you listed here! Your dedication to your work really is impressive and the way you constantly encourage others to aim high is hugely inspiring. We’re all very proud of you. Here’s to an equally successful 2017!


    1. Dear Warren thank you very much. I have had some really positive feedback and I’m glad you liked the post.
      It just goes to show that hard work can be rewarding for everyone involved and is worth all the effort in the end.I will try to keep the momentum up for the this year!
      Thank you.


  15. A very good read indeed. I’m sure I don’t speak for myself when I say how proud I am of you. You are a very strong & inspirational lady who I have the pleasure in calling my Aunt. Wish you many more achievements in the very near future. Well done xxx


    1. Hi Aisha,
      Thank you and happy to hear you enjoyed reading, and your lovely comments.
      We have some brilliant students who I have no doubt will go onto to some great things when they leave the school. Looking foreword to seeing them use what they have learnt and developing into leading role models of the future.


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