AN ACADEMY which became the first girls school in the country to specialise in engineering is bidding to create new facilities to keep it at the forefront of science and technology teaching.
Skipton Girls’ High is launching a fund-raising drive to help create a new Stem (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths) Centre which it hopes to open next year.
The school say the centre will help it to deliver lessons in facilities which will benefit not only their students but will also be used by other schools in both Yorkshire and Lancashire.
The school is to receive £1m from the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund and it is using £200,000 from its own reserves.
Now it is looking to raise an extra £500,000 to help meet the cost of the project.
It is appealing to parents, businesses and the wider community to support the scheme.
The school’s finance director John Barker said: “We are planning to open the new facility in autumn next year.
“We have to raise these funds but we are very ambitious about this and are pushing ahead with it.”
The new two-storey centre will consist of new class rooms and specialist science laboratories.
Mr Barker said that the school would be sharing its resources with other schools in its role as a Teaching School.
There are also plans to deliver initial teacher training in the new centre.
Skipton Girls’ is one of the schools leading the Northern Lights Teaching School Alliance which sees it work with partner schools from Bradford, Craven, Harrogate and in parts of Lancashire.
The school’s head teacher Jenn Plews said: “Our New Stem Centre will transform the learning and aspirations of our students and the wider community, now and into the future.”
The school, which is one of six remaining selective grammar schools left in the county, was founded 128 years ago by Sylvester Petyt a successful local businessman. The funding for the original school came from a trust he had set up.
In a brochure promoting the plan for a new Stem Centre it says: “In 1886 Skipton was at the forefront of girls’ education and it still is today.”
In 2007 it achieved specialist status in engineering, becoming the first girls school in the country to do so, and it is now run as an autonomous academy.
Mr Barker said: “We were given an engineering specialism a few years ago.
“Our head teacher at the time was a passionate advocate for girls studying Stem subjects and she strongly believed that women were not properly represented in industries like engineering.
“Our partners, businesses who work with us, tell us they are constantly gobsmacked by the quality of our girls’ work in Stem subjects.”
Launching the fundraising drive a statement from the school said: “As a nationally recognised engineering academy, we never stand still and are always working hard to challenge gender stereotypes through high-quality teaching and learning.
“We passionately believe that it is our role to open doors for our young woman and provide them with diverse and unique experiences in readiness for life beyond school.”
Anyone interested in supporting the new Stem Centre should contact Mr Barker on 01756 707621, firstname.lastname@example.org or Joanne Busfield who is Skipton Girls High School’s bursar on 01756 707607 or email@example.com .