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Robots tackle technology learning gap for children in Merseyside

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@Everton in the Community has launched an innovative education #STEAM programme in schools across Merseyside that combines football with robots for schools to engage and inspire young people from disadvantaged areas and transform the way children learn about technology. 

The charity’s new E-STEAM programme will deliver fun and imaginative learning to around 2,000 children, aged five to 16-years-old, in 63 schools across the Liverpool City Region, aspiring them into careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM).

The programme will see Everton in the Community Tutors using Sphero’s new sports themed coding solution, Sphero Sports, which uses Sphero Bolt programmable robots and football pitched themed mats to transform the way that children learn, create and invent through coding, science, music and the arts.  

The aim of the project is to reduce the education inequality gap that exists in STEAM topics for children from disadvantaged communities, which has been exacerbated by school closures during the pandemic. 

The ground-breaking programme is backed by industry experts CreativeHUT and support funded by a range of partners including Liverpool-based gifting, pre-payment and engagement company Appreciate Group. Sphero has provided training support to the charity to ensure that the robots are used to their full capacity within schools, achieving maximum results with its pupils.

It is hoped the new programme will also inspire a new generation of young people to enter STEAM-related sectors and industries, and improve their future career prospects regardless of background, ability, and gender.

STEAM learning is proven to help young people to develop important personal and social skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork; all skills that are most likely to be in demand in 2025 according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs.

Sue Gregory, Everton in the Community Director of Youth Engagement and Employability, said:

“We are incredibly proud of our new e-STEAM programme and are excited to start rolling it out to schools across Merseyside and work to increase the interest in STEAM by making it fun, engaging and relevant for young people. This programme has been made possible thanks to the support of some incredibly socially-conscious organisations and we look forward to working alongside them to create joy in education whilst enabling young people to have a brighter future and bridge the skills gap.”

Liverpool-based Appreciate Group has funded the Sphero robots as part of its commitment to supporting young people in Liverpool City Region.

Ian O’Doherty, Chief Executive Officer, at Appreciate Group, said:

“Like many businesses, technology is at the heart of our current and future strategy so it’s vital the workers of tomorrow have the digital and STEAM skills we will need to remain successful. We are delighted to be supporting this programme and to help boost the learning prospects for children in the region when it comes to these important subjects.”

Everton in the Community staff will initially roll out the E-STEAM programme to 20 of its partner schools across Liverpool City Region from April 2021 before extending delivery to all of its 63 partner schools, engaging almost 2,000 young people. The charity will also put measures in place to monitor the project’s progress and track its impact in the region. 

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