Glasgow school pupils benefit from Royal Navy expertise

Warrant Officer Mark Harris with the Kings Park Secondary pupils who are taking part in Subs in Schools.
Warrant Officer Mark Harris with the Kings Park Secondary pupils who are taking part in Subs in Schools.

Pupils from Kings Park Secondary in Glasgow were given some expert help and advice on December 15, when the Royal Navy assisted them with a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) initiative.

The School is one 15 Secondaries throughout Scotland who are participating in “SUBS in Schools”, a programme where students have the opportunity to learn about complex engineering systems while building a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

Royal Navy personnel from nearby HM Naval Base Clyde, the Home of the UK Submarine Service, visited the school to look over their design and construction of their ROV and suggest improvements.

In the SUBS in Schools challenge the vehicle needs to complete a series of underwater tests, including a speed challenge, object retrieval and an obstacle course.

The programme invites school teams to compete for the SUBS in Schools Scottish Champions’ title, with the students’ work being judged by a panel of industry experts.

Warrant Officer 1 Mark Harris, STEM Engagement Co-ordinator, said: “Kings Park is the seventh Secondary we have visited since the SUBS in Schools launch back in June this year. Each of the schools have been given a kit to help them build their Remote Operated Vehicle and we will be visiting them all to provide help and advice.

“It is fantastic to meet so many young people who are enthused about STEM subjects; we are really impressed by their level of knowledge and the work they are putting into designing and constructing their vehicle.”

Alongside the practical work of building the vehicle, students need to document their work, prepare a presentation and share their engineering knowledge with the judging panel. This cross-curricular initiative is designed to inspire a passion for STEM and marine engineering, with the programme managed in partnership with ESP, a Stirling-based company which is a collaboration of Scotland’s colleges and industry partners established to promote STEM.

Beth Shearer, Physics and Mathematics Teacher at Kings Park, said: “Our pupils have been meeting regularly after school since Augusts to work on their Subs in Schools project. The team, made up of two boys and five girls, have been demonstrating impressive teamwork and problem-solving skills and they have been building the ROV in the lab in their own time.

“They thoroughly enjoyed the session delivered by Mark and it has fuelled their enthusiasm for the project. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of this project and their journey to the presentation stage.”

As a lead supporter, the Royal Navy supports the SUBS in Schools programme to raise awareness of maritime engineering through participation in a competitive design, build and test competition. STEM engagement in education is part of a UK-wide initiative to address shortfalls in critical skill areas and it hopes to encourage young people to engage.