Prime Minister’s Prize For Excellence In Science Teaching In Secondary Schools
17 Oct 2018
Cessnock in New South Wales was traditionally a mining town, but today’s high-value jobs in the Hunter Valley are in agriculture, tourism and increasingly in aerospace. Williamtown is already a maintenance base for Australia’s F/A-18 fighters. Soon it will be a maintenance hub for the Joint Strike Fighter in the Asia-Pacific. Many of Cessnock’s students don’t believe that the new jobs are for them. Dr Scott Sleap is opening their eyes and showing them that they can participate in the new economy.
He’s done that by creating the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence, a partnership between Cessnock High School, its feeder primary schools, and local industry. Students struggling with numeracy are catching up with the help of robotics. A team of Indigenous girls are making and racing model F1 cars, mentored by Boeing engineers. And the number of students signing up for STEM subjects is growing. NSW Education is now rolling out similar programs in other regional centres.
Previously in 2013, while teaching Industrial Arts and undertaking a PhD in Engineering, Scott started working with Regional Development Australia – Hunter to build a curriculum model that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics and brings in ‘real-world’ industry perspectives. The model, called iSTEM, has been adopted in more than 260 schools across NSW.
Dr Scott Sleap receives the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools. Scott is Deputy Principal, STEM, for the Cessnock Learning Community.