STEM Events Policy
Participation in STEM events:
The National Space Academy receives a large number of requests from organisations all over the UK to take part in STEM events. The following summarises the constraints on the Academy in terms of the support it can give to STEM events along with the reasoning behind this, for use when answering such requests.
1. The National Space Academy is a small scale employer, with a core team of only 7 people and a wider network of 25 seconded Lead Educators, who are all full time teachers in UK schools. The National Space Academy is not currently recruiting but when it does it recruits qualified and experienced teachers, or project managers with links to science communication. The Academy is supported by project scientists whose employers allow their time to be counted as an in-kind contribution. There are no paid vacancies at the Academy for scientists and researchers nor is there capacity for volunteer posts of any kind.
2. The National Space Academy's core team is employed to deliver: project management and administration, administration and support of the Lead Educator network, delivery of teaching on the Space Engineering course, delivery of student masterclasses and teacher CPD, delivery of careers conferences for the UK space sector, development of classroom ready educational resources. The Academy core team's remit does not specifically include attending STEM events or delivering activities other than those listed.
3. The National Space Academy is a not-for-profit arm of the National Space Centre, which is a charity. The Academy is required by its funders to work towards the aim of being self-funding for as much of its programme as possible. The support from these funders covers the salaries of the core team, the secondment fees for Lead Educators' schools, travel costs, and the overheads of running the office and online assets of the Academy.
4. The Academy has Key Performance Indicators set by its funders, including a number of students and teachers that it needs to reach each academic year – however these interactions must meet certain criteria in order to be counted. For both students and teachers this requires a minimum workshop time of 1 hour, and must include the Academy's curriculum-linked activities. These sessions must be educational with clear links to the science or maths curricula at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.
For the reasons above, the National Space Academy as a rule does not:
- Hold stalls at market style careers or STEM events – talking to the public or even schoolchildren at these events does not meet any of the Academy's KPIs, and it is virtually impossible to show any evidence of impact from this kind of activity
- Give careers talks or talks about the space sector in schools for free, as this is in direct opposition to point 3.
- Deliver science busking or drop-in activities at market style events, again this does not meet any KPIs and does not yield evidence of impact
- Pay to exhibit at events
- Offer work experience placements or volunteering opportunities, a list of existing external schemes for work experience and volunteering opportunities can be seen here (this list is not exhaustive nor does inclusion on the list indicate endorsement by the National Space Academy) - http://nationalspaceacademy.org/careers/careers-links
- Deliver without cost anything that does not meet the targets set out in 4
- Run activities at a financial loss
In exceptional circumstances, with the approval of the Academy Director or National Manager, the Academy will consider supporting external or partner organisations with activities which the Academy would not normally deliver – as long as this is not to the detriment of the Academy's core delivery.
Policy updated July 2016.