Tuesday, 18 December 2012

What an Act to Follow!

SATRO's longest serving member of staff retires today - at only 85 years young! We wish Gordon Cockburn all the very best and thank him for his fantastic work over many years to inspire and encourage young people.

Gordon began work on the shop floor in the engineering industry in Sunderland and worked his way up to the design office. In 1956 he went into teaching and became Faculty Head of Technical Studies at the Ashcombe School, Dorking.  In 1986 he joined SATRO on a part-time basis, to pilot Young Engineers Clubs in Surrey, and in 1990 he was  appointed National Director of Young Engineers Clubs by the Standing Conference on Schools’ Science and Technology (SCSST) and was involved in setting up the Neighbourhood Engineers Programme which encouraged engineers and scientists to volunteer to work with young people in schools (subsequently becomming the STEM Ambassadors scheme in later years). Both these programmes now reach tens of thousands of young people every year across the UK.

In 1995 he was awarded an MBE (for services to education) and began the Young Entrepreneurs programme, which again was subsequently rolled out nationally. 

In 2001 Gordon 'retired' from running Young Entrepreneurs to manage Surrey County Scholars and Surrey County Apprentices award, on a part-time basis. Since 2001 Gordon has secured funding for, on average, 15 new bursaries every year – enabling approximately 150 young people to go on to University to study science, technology, engineering and maths – many of these young people have since graduated and taken up employment for STEM companies in Surrey (and globally). In addition, as part of the Annual awards, approx 160 apprentices have received recognition for their hard work and dedication by receiving Awards.

We salute Mr Cockburn - a true example of what SATRO is all about - and we will all do our best to follow in his footsteps and carry on the wonderful work he has done.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Nuffield Student Reaches Big Bang Final

SATRO Nuffield Success

David Rapley
from Tiffin Boys School

One of this year’s Nuffield students,  David Rapley from Tiffin Boys School, has been invited to the British Association Big Bang Final in the Excel Centre, London, in March 2013.  The Festival is for UK Young Scientists and Engineers and David has been invited to present his project – Red Sky at Night, Arabidopsis Delight – ‘the role of light on cell division and growth’ - along with other budding young scientists, who will be competing for special prizes including trips to European festivals and possibly the USA.  David has been complimented on his project process and the communication and enthusiasm his report showed!

Congratulations David, and we wish you every success in March!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Maths is Fun!

Years 4, 5 and 6 at Tillingbourne Junior School enjoyed the opportunity to test their maths knowledge in a new and fun way.  The Fun Maths workshop, held on 11th December, presented challenges to the children in the form of 45 different puzzles.  Ranging from shape recognition, sequences, calculation and logical thinking, the pupils worked in pairs to solve the problems within a time limit.  Teachers were impressed with the perseverance of their pupils to solve the puzzles. "Maths is fun!" was the general agreement of the children at the end of each session.  A year 6 pupil's comment...
"It made me think that maths isn't all about numbers, but it is about problem solving.  It gave me a more positive approach to maths, I particularly enjoyed the trick questions.  Overall it was lots of fun, thank you for coming!"

Thursday, 13 December 2012

FUN-tastic Maths

Last week saw two primary schools hold Fun Maths events: Hillcroft Primary in Caterham involved 157 pupils from Years 3 -6 and The Chandler School in Witley, near Godalming mixed their Year 4 and 6 year groups, a total of 170.  This fantastic workshop offered pupils the opportunity to test and consolidate their maths knowledge in a fun, non-confrontational way.  An interactive challenge, the pupils worked in pairs to solve a range of differentiated problems and puzzles within a time limit.  Teachers were impressed with the way in which all the children were able to participate at their own level:            
  “A brilliantly productive session – it helped[the children] to realise that there is more than one right answer.”
The pupils learned that maths isn’t just about numbers, but involves logic, discussion and patterns.  They had a really fun time and as one child put it:
“This is one of the best experiences of my life – I loved it!!!”

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Feeling the Force

Pupils at St Matthew’s Primary School in Redhill experienced the force of science on 6th December when Year 3 investigated Magnets and Year 4 explored Gravity through the Egg Drop Challenge.  Year 3 sorted different objects to test for magnetic properties and then the pupils made their own magnetic game; Year 4 experimented with different sized spinners and made parachutes in preparation for the Egg Drop Challenge.  The children were very excited by what they had learnt during the day:
“I want to have a science lesson every day” and, “When I grow up, I want to be a scientist”. 
SATRO is grateful for the sponsorship of Surrey County Councillors, which enabled us to hold the events at The Chandler School and St Matthew’s Primary School.

Friday, 7 December 2012


Sixty year 5 & 6 children from St John's Primary School in Redhill took part in a SATRO Junior Business Game on 5th December.  The were divided into mixed ability and friendship groups to emulate the real working world.

Judging from the pupil's feedback, they had a superb day which definitely opened their eyes to the world of business.  And, how important teamwork and communication are in an effective organisation...
"I learnt that today was very important, especially about the teamwork and friends we made.  It has made me think how hard business actiually is and that you really have to think about the future. Making a right decision is crucial for the future."
The teacher's were equally as enthused with the day...
"Fantastic day, we'll do it again, brilliantly run as well.  Thanks!"

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Illuminating Science

Children at Bramley Infant School enjoyed an illuminating morning of science on 3rd December when Year 1 learnt about bones in the body and making different types of skeletons, whilst Year 2 became electrical “engineers” and built lighthouses.  Starting with an initial presentation from the SATRO team, the pupils were given an overview of their respective topic before they got hands-on experience of making a relevant model.  Year 1 made a large newspaper skeleton, a small flexible skeleton from card and an art skeleton of their own design.  Year 2 learnt about electrical safety and how to wire up a simple circuit to insert into their Pringles tube lighthouse.  The teachers were pleased with the content of both workshops, commenting “The children were engaged and are wanting to find out more”.  The pupils thought it was fun and one said “I want to be a science person and learn about skeletons and dinosaurs”.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


On 27 November 180 pupils at Wallace Fields Junior School in Ewell had a science day with a difference.  A SATRO team of 6 engineers brought their knowledge and expertise into the classroom to help the pupils learn about the world in which they live.  Year 4 investigated the weather, using data loggers to capture information about light levels (different density of cloud cover) and sound (wind and thunder); Year 5 learnt about gravity and made parachutes as part of the Egg Drop Challenge; and Year 6 became novice civil engineers learning about structures and constructing towers.  Teachers were delighted with how well the day consolidated the topics and supported the wider curriculum.  A pupil commented: “This has been the best day ever!”.

The event was part-funded by sponsorship from The CP Charitable Trust.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Food For Thought

Last Thursday Year 5 pupils at Westfield Primary School in Woking were challenged to think about food from a different perspective. They became packaging detectives, analysing and comparing the fat, sugar and salt content of various foods; they thought about planning a meal within a tight budget and how cost might impact our shopping habits; and they had fun making flapjack to take home at the end of the day. SATRO's workshop supports the healthy eating curriculum and gives the pupils the opportunity to understand about the digestive system and how important a balanced diet is for our well-being. The pupils were all thoroughly engaged during the morning's activities and commented that they had learnt lots of new facts.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Speed dating session with a difference!

100 year 12 students at Gordon’s School in West End Woking got to meet a huge variety of business professionals yesterday during a frantic 1½ hours of ‘Careers Speed Dating’. We had scientists, engineers, both civil and structural, construction managers, accountants, architects, a patent attorney, an actor, a software developer, a TV producer, insurance company personnel, together with representatives from the Army and the RAF, all of whom were passionate and enthusiastic about their chosen careers.

The students were put into small groups and had 5 minutes to quiz their ‘business volunteer’, who was only allowed to answer yes or no thereby requiring the students to try & guess their professions. A further 5 minutes of frantic questioning followed to ascertain what they actually did for a living and how they had got where they were. A horn sounded and another ‘business volunteer’ from a different profession presented themselves for questioning.

It was fast, frenetic and enormous fun with the students commenting afterwards, “ I was astonished by how many different jobs there are available today” and “How many career options are open to me. You don’t need to go to university there are lots of other ways to get jobs”. Additionally many of the students commented that, “ I should research more on different professions as there are lots of interesting jobs out there and including lots that I have never even heard of!”

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Year 8 Construction, Engineering and Design Challenge

Jeremy Owen and SATRO volunteers, Gary Hedges and Jude Edwardes, are working with 72 Year 8 students from a number of schools. Hosted by Sir William Perkins School in Chertsey, the students are learning about basic engineering and design and building their own structures - which are then tested with heavy weights. Two engineers from the Costains team, working on the new bridge over the Thames at Walton, are also visiting. This is a great opportunity for the students to hear about a real engineering project.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

And the Winner is.....!

Tension is building for the announcement of the Winners at tonight’s Spelthorne and Runnymede Education Business Awards.
Satro has been supporting these awards for many years and we’re delighted to be involved again this year. Schools and Colleges from across Spelthorne and Runnymede Boroughs have submitted entries for consideration for the Awards. Categories include:
  • Most innovative link between school/college and business at Primary, Secondary and Key Stage 5 level
  • Overall Champions Cup
  • Best Presentation
  • Winning Display Stand
The projects entered are fantastic – small and large – and really demonstrate the huge benefit to both businesses and schools/colleges in working in partnership. Good luck to all participants!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Money Matters - Marketing Challenge at County Hall

We are currently making the last-minute preparations for our Marketing Challenge tomorrow at County Hall which we are very excited about. The Challenge will involve teams of 6th form students from across the County competing in a ‘pitch’ before a panel of experts from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Bamzonia. They will have to design a Marketing Campaign about Payday Loan schemes – the twist being that they can chose to be ‘For’ or ‘Against’.
Recent research by Santander shows that over 1 million people use payday loans each month to pay their bills, etc, as, in the current financial climate households struggle to manage their bills from one month to the next. As part of their preparation for tomorrow’s Challenge students will have been researching Payday Loans and will either devise a marketing campaign to encourage their peers to make use of them; or a campaign to raise awareness amongst their peers of dangers associated with such loans. There will be cash prizes for the winning ‘pitches’.
We are really looking forward to viewing their entries – and as always, glad someone else has the challenge of doing the judging!

Creative Kebabs Contribute to Good Health

Imagination and presentation skills were called upon to produce delicious mouth-watering fruit kebabs as part of SATRO's Healthy Eating programme.  The event was held on Wednesday 14th November at Seaton House School in Sutton with 70 participants, from Years 3 to 6.  The pupils were given a selection of fruit and challenged to create the most eye-catching kebab.  This was one of three activities that students undertook to help them learn more about healthy eating, the importance of looking after our body, understanding the nutritional content of food products and how to plan a meal within a budget.

Monday, 19 November 2012

What a Blast!

On November 14th the first ever TeenTech Surrey took place – and what an amazing event it was (even if we do say so ourselves!).
We had around 300 Year 8 students, over 40 companies represented, and 30 volunteer Ambassadors - it was a superb day, thanks to the huge professionalism & hard work of all involved – now its time to plan for TeenTech Surrey 2013, which we hope you will all be a part of!
To make sure there isn’t too big a gap for budding scientists and engineers until November 2013, we look forward to seeing you all at our Summer Science Festival on June 26th 2013 in the meantime!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Nuffield Bursary Students Receive Their Accolades

David Rapley of Tiffin Boys School, Prof Danielle Schreve
of Royal Holloway, University of London & Emma Beer of Esher College.
The annual Nuffield Celebration Evening held on Tuesday 13 November at Esher College was a huge success with over 40 students presenting their projects on displays to some 200 guests, parents and supervisors.  The students amazed their guests with the range of projects they had completed and the standard they had achieved – many will be included in forthcoming publications.  The main guest was Professor Danielle Schreve from Royal Holloway, University of London, who spoke about the challenges faced by science in the coming years and how important it is to promote the kind of programmes offered by the Nuffield Foundation.  She herself had been a supervisor to a student this year and had experienced first-hand the enthusiasm portrayed by these sixth formers in carrying out their placements. Professor Schreve presented all the students present with their Certificate of participation and Gold CREST Awards.  

Angel Hall, Director of Science Education at the Nuffield Foundation, spoke of the changes to the placement programme for next year and Jon Tickle, SATRO Patron, expressed his delight at the students’ work and ability to articulate so clearly to the visitors.   Denise Balmer, SATRO Nuffield Co-ordinator, outlined the programme for next year and thanked Esher College for once again hosting the evening. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Over 100 year 5 and year 6 pupils at Leatherhead Trinity School were very active participants in the SATRO Global Trading Game which took place on 6 November 2012.  A fast and furious experience involving six teams in each of the four heats, this was an excellent opportunity to learn the importance of trading and teamwork, and some of the differences between advanced and poorer economies around the world.  Thereafter, a de-brief session allowed the pupils to reflect on what they had learned from the experience and to hear and discuss the challenges facing the world and how those in richer countries can help; an issue already known at Trinity which has established links with a school in Uganda.  One commented...
“I learned that people in countries like America have technology but need other resourses that they don't have - and the other way round for people in Africa, so they trade.”

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Students go to the Races!

Numeracy Day – Lingfield Park Racecourse

45 students from Weydon, Reigate and Oakwood Schools were busy yesterday at Lingfield Park, seeing how maths is used in the real world. In this case, a racecourse on a raceday. Ex-jockey Olly McPhail is showing them the weighing room, parade ring and jumps. And entertaining them with stories from when he raced.

Surrey Teaching Centre Children Launch Rockets!

Rockets were the theme of a special display at the Surrey Teaching Centre at The Children's Trust, Tadworth, on 7th November.  A small group of children with severe brain injuries were treated to a short workshop on rocketry.  Balloons flew around the room and stomp rockets were used to demonstrate flight.  Having made their bespoke water rockets from plastic bottles, the children were able to watch them being launched outside - with great success and much excitement for all the spectators.

Teentech Tomorrow!!

We are looking forward to welcoming around 300 excited Year 8 pupils from across Surrey and neighbouring counties to our Teentech event tomorrow. Each group of ten students will be guided around the day by a Science Ambassador and will visit the Insight Zone, the Innovation Zone and the Challenge Zone to learn more about all the fantastic things you can do with science, engineering, technology and maths – from apprenticeships to post-graduate positions. There will be bridge-building challenges, 3D printing, crime scene forensics and artificial intelligence – and much more besides! - we’re confident that the young people attending (and the volunteers!) will have a really great time.
Check out http://www.teentechevent.com/category/news/ or follow the event on twitter for a blow by blow account of the day. Let’s hope it’s the first of many Surrey Teentech events in the future!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Countdown to Teentech!

We are currently rushing around making last minute preparations for a huge new event which we’re very excited about – Teentech Surrey. You may have heard Maggie Philbin talking about Teentech on Radio 4 last week. Check out the website for some nice photos of the amazing venue (http://www.teentechevent.com/regions-2/surrey/). We have around 30 different science and engineering employers attending including the likes of Sony, Surrey Satellites, Detica, Proctor & Gamble, the Pirbright Institute, and Willmott Dixon. We will be showing young people the vast range of possibilities available in science, engineering, technology and maths in the region. It really is a vibrant sector with lots of opportunities – and we’re looking forward to enthusing the next generation about it all (whilst having a lot of fun!).

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wray Common Primary School Think Maths is Fun!

Years 4, 5 and 6 at Wray Common Primary School in Redhill enjoyed the opportunity to test their maths knowledge in a new and fun way.  The Fun Maths workshop, held on 6th November, presented challenges to the children in the form of 45 different puzzles.  Ranging from shape recognition, sequences, calculation and logical thinking, the pupils worked in pairs to solve the problems within a time limit.  Teachers were impressed with the perseverance of their pupils to solve the puzzles. "Maths is fun!" was the general agreement of the children at the end of each session.

St Dunstan's Pupils Learn Through Experimentation

A variety of exciting primary science workshops were held at St Dunstan's Catholic Primary School in Woking on 6th November.  Delivered by SATRO's expert volunteers, 180 pupils took part in the workshops investigating Forces through activities on Pulleys, Friction and Structures.  The afternoon session saw two classes vying for victory in the land yacht competition, with the winning yacht travelling some 15 metres across the hall. 

Great fun, great learning.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Young Business Executives in the Making!

Fifty-four year 6 children from St. Bede's Junior School in Send took part in a SATRO Junior Business Game on 24th October. 

Judging from the pupil's feedback, they had a superb day which definitely opened their eyes to the world of business.  And, how important teamwork and communication are in an effective organisation...
"Teamwork is very important in some jobs and you really have to listen and co-operate with your team."
The teacher's were equally as enthused with the day...
"Fantastic day with the children fully engaged and working as a team - even wanted to miss break!"
Look out Lord Sugar!

Monday, 29 October 2012

New Monument Pupils Learn About Business World

Thirty year 6 children from New Monument Primary School took part in a SATRO Junior Business Game on Tuesday 23rd October.

The pupils had a fantastic day and got so much out of the experience. In fact, their response of 100% positive feedback was a first this year! One pupil’s quote was particularly pertinent and seems to cover all the objectives…

"I learned to work as team without arguing. Importantly, how to make bookmarks. Sharing ideas with other people. I learned how it was like working in a company (I enjoyed it). When I am going to be over 18 I am going to be a purchasing manager."
A teacher agreed with the children's take on the day..
"A wonderful day of learning; social skills, entrepreneurial skills, presentional skills all developed.  Fantastic to see all the children so embracing of their roles."
The school were so impressed with the day and the pupils' positive experience that they are creating a display to show off their presentations and products!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Future Entrepreneurs

320 year 10 students gained an invaluable insight into the world of work when they took part in the SATRO Business Game over two days last week. Teams of students at The Winston Churchill School in Woking became stationery companies for the day manufacturing booklets which they had to sell to a discerning panel of buyers. The game stretched their minds and abilities in a way they never thought possible! They had a myriad of business decisions to make as the game unfolded and were aided in their tasks by a raft of business volunteers whose job it was to guide, support and encourage their teams as they got to grips with all the challenges inherent in running a business.

The stress levels were high as companies competed with each other to see who could make the most profit. Many valuable life skills were learnt with many students commenting, “ I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to manage a business and a team of people I don’t usually work with. There were so many different aspects I had to take into account, no wonder my Mum and Dad are stressed when they get in from work!”

Our raft of business volunteers also greatly enjoyed the experience with one stating – “I was completely impressed, not just with the excellent programme, content and organisation but with how the students performed and threw themselves into the tasks – so creative and full of enthusiasm - really gratifying. The skills they acquired throughout the day will stand them in good stead as they enter the world of work.”

Another resounding success for the SATRO Business Game.

Friday, 19 October 2012


One of this year’s Nuffield students has received the highest commendation from his supervisors – that his name will be placed as second author on a publication due out early next year!  Royal Holloway has told SATRO that they are extremely impressed with our Nuffield student’s project and the way he showed dedication, patience and enthusiasm throughout his four week placement.  The student carried out detailed experimental work accurately and produced important data files to log and represent graphically his results.

Our Nuffield students have certainly surpassed all expectations this year – well done!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


120 Pupils from Years 3, 4 and 5 gained a new perspective on maths when they took part in a Fun Maths workshop.  The event took place on 17th October at Southfield Park Primary School in Epsom, led by a SATRO team of four.  The pupils had the opportunity to solve a range of mathematical tasks involving calculation, sequencing, pattern recognition and logical thinking.  A buzz of excitement developed as the children achieved success in solving more and more puzzles.  Pupils feedback comments included: “I felt like a genius” and “my brain is gonna pop because I know so many facts.”

This workshop encourages KS2 pupils to feel more confident about maths.  The teachers were delighted with the teamwork element in a competitive environment and commented: “Children learnt how to solve problems in pairs and were able to practise using their mathematical knowledge and vocabulary”. 
It all adds up to another successful event.

Monday, 15 October 2012


On Friday 12th October Year 4 pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Redhill had the opportunity to try their hand at civil engineering.  The challenge was to design a sporting stadium of their choice and then construct it within a time limit.  Working in small teams the pupils had to manufacture paper tubes for the building materials; this developed the pupils’ skills in creative thinking, planning, communication, team-working and leadership.  The children were able to work with professional engineers who were on hand to share their knowledge of forces in structures.  The support of volunteers enhanced the learning environment by bringing the world of work into the classroom. 

Reflecting on the challenge, pupils made the following comments:
“I will remember the things I have learnt”, “I felt proud that we made a good effort”, “I learnt that building includes science” and, “I enjoy science even more than before.”

Friday, 12 October 2012


Two more of SATRO’s Nuffield Bursary students have received high commendation from their supervisor, Dr Mark Dockrell at SWITRR.  The students were involved in renal research and their supervisor said...

The two students this year were among the best we've ever had. They both worked on separate aspects of the same project and I'm hoping they will do a joint presentation [at the SATRO Nuffield Bursary Celebration Evening]. We hope to use their work in a conference presentation in spring of next year. If the work is accepted they will both be included among the authors!'

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


72 Year 8 students from 9 schools are busy designing, building and testing model bridges. And then testing them to destruction! Right up a 12-13 year-old’s street. This all-day event at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate is the first of two such days we are running this term. As well as trying out the fundamentals of structural design, the students also learn about the importance of engineering in the world and are given some idea of the opportunities and careers open to engineers.  Mixed in teams with students from other schools, they also practice their communication and team-working skills.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


One of our Construction Buses is at Epsom Racecourse today for the Surrey Opportunities Fair. Mobiles tutor Jeremy Gardner, manager Rob Riddelsdell and volunteer Dennis Hulls are showing visiting school students and local teenagers some of the building skills they can learn with SATRO. And, having a go themselves.

There were 1700 visitors last year and even more are expected this time. It’s going to be a busy day!

Thursday, 4 October 2012


Students and teachers were at NDS’s offices in Staines, Surrey this morning to hear about this year’s challenge. This is the third challenge to be run by computer software giant NDS. Over the next five months, the teams will work with their mentors - NDS professionals – to produce concepts for an app for use with smartphone, iPad or laptop to make watching TV more enjoyable, interesting and exciting. The students will learn about product development and marketing. And, may even get to try their hand at some code-writing.

While at NDS, students and teachers were also shown some of the amazing yet-to-come-to-market ideas that NDS have produced. The sort of things you will be using with your TV at home in coming years.

Open to Years 7-11, there is still room for a couple more teams. If you would like to enter, do contact us at SATRO. It is free to enter – with cash prizes. Email julia@satro.org.uk or call 01483 226322.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Building a future for the young people of Surrey!

Staff at Willmott Dixon’s offices near Esher, Surrey made a huge difference to the lives of young people in Surrey and South London today when they handed over a donation of £30,000 to small local charity SATRO (www.satro.org.uk).

John Waterman,Willmott Dixon MD, Margaret Royle, SATRO, Gill & Paul Coleman, DL, SATRO Trustee, Dr Beccy Bowden, SATRO CEO, Rob Riddelsdell, SATRO, David Reeve, SATRO Trustee
SATRO works with volunteers from companies all over Surrey to inspire young people about their future careers. In academic year 11-12 their programmes reached around 15,000 young people, involving 850 volunteers from around 600 companies in the region.

Many people at Willmott Dixon have volunteered on SATRO’s programmes over the years – mentoring, business games, problem solving challenges, construction challenges – you name it, they do it! In 2011-2012, 22 members of staff gave a total of 234 hours of time to support and inspire 3,345 young people in this way.

In 2011, when Willmott Dixon staff heard that all SATRO’s government funding had been cut and the future of its work was threatened, they stepped in to nominate SATRO as their Charity of the Year. On 29th June – in some of the worst ‘summer’ weather imaginable around 49 members of staff competed in the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for SATRO. Over the weekend they climbed Ben Nevis (1344m), Scafell (978m) & Snowdon (1085m).

In Surrey between 800-1000 young people are NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training) at any one time  and youth unemployment is at record levels – in Surrey in February 2012 it was 24% (3,025) young people between 18 -24, and many of these had been unemployed for more than six months.

Much of SATRO’s work, in particular its fleet of Mobile Construction Classrooms, is directly related to young people who are disengaged with the education process, sometimes with behavioural difficulties, with low self-esteem and aspirations, and at risk of exclusion or becoming NEET, (Not in Education, Employment or Training). In the academic year 2011/12 SATRO’s ‘Construction Buses’ reached over 430 young people from 43 schools and youth organisations in Surrey - 90.9% of our students gained a full qualification in Construction – this is an amazing achievement when you consider that on joining our programme many of those students had typically not enjoyed their time in the education system – too often they had come to believe that they are failures and that it is ‘not worth trying’. Young people leaving SATRO’s programme at its completion go on to join college courses, apprenticeships or employment – having discovered for themselves that they have a real talent and can succeed at something.
Willmott Dixon’s outstanding contribution will be used to support the on-going costs of SATRO’s Construction Bus programme – providing materials, replacing failing equipment, repairing the vans when they need it – and replacing the vehicles as the need arises too.

Dr Beccy Bowden, CEO of SATRO, said ‘The contribution raised by Willmott Dixon staff will ensure that hundreds of young people on our mobile construction classrooms will learn new skills and discover that they are able to succeed and really make something of their lives. This is a huge difference to make to a young persons’ life – and to society, and Willmott Dixon staff should be incredibly proud of all the help they have given SATRO’.

Friday, 28 September 2012


On 26th September Riverview Primary School in West Ewell welcomed our Associate Peter Stables and five SATRO volunteers, all of whom brought their expertise into the classroom to deliver a hands-on Science Day.  Pupils from Year 1 through to Year 6 had the opportunity to learn, design and construct models in a variety of ways:  Forces were demonstrated in Floating and Sinking,  and through making Pneumatic Monsters and Water Rockets (Years 1, 3 and 6), electric circuits featured in the Scene in a Box activity for Year 5 and astronomers were in abundance in Year 4 as they went on an exploration of the Planets.  “This is the best ever day I’ve had in school” exclaimed a Year 3 pupil as he proudly showed off his dragon monster.

This event was sponsored by the CP Charitable Trust.  The school was delighted to welcome Trustee Chris Brewer, who was escorted round the classrooms by Headteacher, Mrs Sue Potter, to see the activities in action.  He was very pleased to see the enthusiasm of the pupils and thanked the SATRO team for the splendid curriculum support they provide to primary schools.  He commented:  “What children experience during a SATRO Science Day makes significant links to engineering in the real world; I was delighted to see how the pupils enjoyed working together”.

A Riverview pupil showing Chris Brewer his 'Scene in a Box'

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Pupils at Godalming Junior School started the new academic year with an exciting day of science.

Thanks to the generous support of Godalming Round Table we were able to offer a range of workshops to 240 pupils in KS2:  Year 3 were parachute designers, Year 4 structural engineers, Year 5 rocket investigators and Year 6 electrical circuit detectives.  Eight of our volunteers brought their engineering expertise and enthusiasm into the classroom to create a full day of science, which provided learning in a fun, informative and engaging format. 

The children responded positively to working with these visitors and reported at the end of the day that they had learnt many new ideas.  Our thanks go to Godalming Round Table for helping to make the day such a success.

Monday, 24 September 2012


Working on your dreams and ambitions is a good thing to do no matter what stage of your life you’re at.  A brilliant time to do just that is in the 6th form when your education and working career stretches out ahead of you.  Without goal setting and connecting up with the motivational reasons why you want to succeed in a given vocation there’s a chance of drift and ending up in a job you don’t like which doesn’t fit your talents with the inability to see a way out.

SATRO has developed i-Map, a short, highly interactive workshop designed to inspire students to become more motivated and positive about their futures. This programme enables each student to design a powerful vision for their future and to create a route map for success which they can use to steer themselves through school and life. 

Two i-Map sessions were delivered to years 12 and 13 at Gordon’s School, Woking, on 19th and 21st September providing them with the opportunity to consider their futures and create smart goals with actions and milestones which make it more likely that they will achieve their ambitions.  A fundamental part of the workshop is engaging with the key principles of success enabling students to reflect on what personal power they have to make choices, to know they are always good enough and learning from mistakes means ultimate success.  All students had plenty of food for thought and tools with which to create a compelling future for themselves.

The teachers and students at Gordon’s were delighted with the workshop, illustrated by their comments...

Student comments...
"Know that visualisation is an effective technique – not focusing on what could happen if things go wrong, but what could happen when things go right."
"I understand the importance of setting goals and striving towards it!"
Teacher comment...
"Pupils encouraged to think about new topics and in new ways - it made them think."

Friday, 21 September 2012

Local Schools Get into the World of Business

90 year six students (ten & eleven year olds) from Coombe Hill Junior School had a hugely enjoyable day  running their own companies, thanks to partial funding from Kingston Rotary Club. The students took part in a ‘SATRO Junior Business Game’ - a business simulation game, organised by SATRO, a not for profit charity who offer opportunities to enhance relationships between schools and businesses, on Thursday 20th September.

Kingston Rotarians volunteered their services, along with several Governors and other business volunteers, offering advice and encouragement to the young entrepreneurs. Jill Evans,  a parent Governor, said: “Our governors thoroughly enjoyed working with both the children and the volunteers from other local businesses.  They gained enormous satisfaction from having the opportunity to support young people”.

As the students’ fledgling companies emerged, they produced prototypes and competed for stationery orders from the discerning buyers.  Bank accounts were opened and accountants wrestled with the intricacies of cash flow, whilst sales managers were intent on winning orders and marketing managers were busy promoting their companies.  The Game threw the students some real challenges along the way - as the businesses settled down to regular trading, they were faced with paper shortages and one off, time limited opportunities!  The students gained some valuable hands on learning with some companies forging ahead, taking a clear lead.

Later in the day, in a quest to win the best presentation award, the students prepared a short performance, outlining what they had learnt throughout the day.  Competition was tough but there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the judges listened to the children’s journey into the business world.

The schools Headteacher, Mr Hodges said: “We are so grateful to Kingston Rotary Club for providing some of the funding for the ‘SATRO Junior Business Game’. The children had enormous fun overcoming the challenges. The Game provided a real insight into the world of business”. 

SATRO’s Senior Manager, Margaret Royle said: “This is an inspirational way for students to develop and practice skills so necessary in the workplace. Working alongside excellent role models from the business world raises the students’ self-esteem and aspirations”.

Friday, 14 September 2012


180 pupils from Corwalles Junior School in Camberley enjoyed a SATRO Fun Maths event today. 

Years 3, 5 & 6 children divided into groups throughout the day to solve puzzles, bringing maths to life in a practical and applied manner, in a fun format.  It also engaged the pupils in a team-building environment, pairing up and helping each other, reinforcing learning objectives of the National Curriculum.

Comment from a pupil, "I didn't know maths could be fun - I really enjoyed it!"

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

At our Scholars and Apprentices Awards Ceremony last night we heard from Professor Sam Luke from Sinclair Knight Merz about why his company works with Satro - so many people in the audience have requested a copy of his speech that we are reproducing some of it here so that you can be as inspired as the audience was last night -
You [the young people receiving awards] are our leaders of tomorrow. We need you all to continue to excel to make Surrey and the south east of England prosperous. Let’s look at some statistics. The south east is the second largest economic block just behind London, with a value of nearly £200bn. The region has the largest number of businesses of any region in the UK and is the most affluent.  It would be the 31st largest economy in the world. Surrey has some of the most high tech businesses in the UK and is home to over 60,000 businesses. Surrey is the largest in the South East in terms of GDP, tax revenue, etc, and Guildford was the most competitive city in the UK in 2009 and 2010. Surrey has some of the best schools in the country and an educational system second to none in the UK.
We need to continue to increase our competitiveness, be more innovative, generate new ideas, and create new jobs, so we continue to be world class. How do we continue to do this? By investing in education, investing in you people, industry and academia working hand in hand to give youngsters who are bright and entrepreneurial the opportunity to shine and flourish through scholarships, through research and development and technological advancement.
I have been investing with the Satro Scholars Programme for 6 years now, and have sponsored/ or am sponsoring 20 students. These students add a huge amount of value to our business when they work for us during their summer vacations. We are also able to train them so when they hopefully join us when they complete their studies, they hit the ground running. Our investment pays for itself very quickly. There are numerous examples of students who have excelled for us during their summer breaks. I would urge other firms in Surrey who have not yet taken the plunge to go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


Skilled and talented young people from across Surrey, together with their parents and sponsors, gathered at County Hall, Kingston-upon-Thames for the 11th annual Surrey County Scholars and Surrey County Apprentices’/Full-time Student awards ceremony, organised by SATRO:  www.satro.org.uk

Awards including trophies, certificates and cash prizes were presented to students by Dame Sarah Goad, DCVO, JP, Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, and Mr Paul Coleman, DL, Coleman Charitable Trust.  Seventeen of the County’s brightest and best Scholars were awarded bursaries to enable them to study science and engineering at university and to open up exciting career opportunities with leading Surrey-based companies.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the John Coleman Trophy to the overall winning apprentice,  Joe Waldman, who attends Nescot and is employed by Fine Cut Carpentry.  The winning Full-time student was Jason Garner from Nescot who received the Wates Cup as a result of his hard work and enthusiasm for the course.

For the very first time a prize was presented to a student for his work towards an Advanced Apprenticeship.  This was presented to Robert Metcalfe who is studying at Brooklands College

Mrs Lavinia Sealy, Chairman, Surrey County Council, welcomed the guests to County Hall, and praised SATRO and the work it does to encourage young people to achieve their full potential in life.

Monday, 10 September 2012


The summer was truly a time of great celebration, with the Diamond Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics all taking place in our great nation.

It's now back to school and the planning begins in earnest for booking practical activities to complement schools' curriculum. The SATRO calendar is filling up fast - we already have over 50 confirmations for events from Primary and Secondary schools for this academic year. 

To ensure that you and your school don't miss out, contact us via email or telephone 01483 226322 NOW!

Friday, 7 September 2012


Two Nuffield Projects, one on Chemical Engineering  and another on the Magnetosphere have already been received and assessed as suitable for Gold CREST Awards from this year’s group of Nuffield Bursary students.  These projects are exciting and interesting to read, and are looking into new areas of study not normally open to the public domain, but of interest to the company and research establishments to take their work forward.  Well done! 
Other supervisors from Royal Holloway College and Surrey University have complimented their students on their enthusiastic work ethic, and SATRO eagerly awaits their reports!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mentoring in Surrey unlocks young people's potential!

SATRO's Mentoring Programmes - helping hundreds of young people in Surrey to unlock their potential!
"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches
but to reveal to him his own."
 - Benjamin Disraeli

Did you know that up until last year SATRO's volunteers provided one to one mentoring support to approximately 300 young people aged 15-17 in more than 25 schools per annum and had been doing so for 14 years? 

Last year, when all our funding was cut by the local authority we thought we might have to put an end to all of this valuable work, but we're delighted that we have managed to build up programmes across Surrey this year funded by charitable trusts, 14-19 Networks and corporate sponsors. We've had mentoring programmes running in 10 schools across the county during 2011-12, and already we have several requests to expand into new schools next year.

These are some excerpts from our annual evaluation of the programmes...

What difference does mentoring make to young people?
Our programmes are designed to help young people that are not reaching their full potential - for whatever reasons, here are some of the things they said this year:

'Helped me to know how to achieve my goals and to improve within school. I found out about future careers and what I need to do for certain jobs.'

'It's nice knowing that you're going to go and see someone who you can talk to about absolutely anything.'

'[my mentor told me] You can achieve anything you want, you have the potential. I've seen you grow in your confidence and effort towards your school life. I'm proud of you.'

What difference does the programme make to our volunteer mentors?
Volunteers from all areas of the working world come forward to help SATRO to mentor young people and several large organisations such as Just Retirement, Wates and Legal & General use our mentor schemes to provide training and development in coaching skills for their staff - but many volunteers are surprised by how much they get from the programme, here are some examples:

'The mentoring scheme has been a brilliant programme as it really seems to help the targeted students who have various teenage and/or family challenges.'

'It gives me a warm feeling inside - my mentee is always very enthusiastic about arranging the next meeting.'

'It has been lovely to see my student's eyes light up when I share a thought or experience that strikes a chord with her. Already I can see how she is responding to my words of encouragement to do her absolute best in subjects she has not bothered with in the past... now rather than sitting back and doing the bare minimum, she is really thinking about what her goals are for next year and what she needs to do to achieve them and I am very much looking forward to helping her get where she wants to be.'

If you'd like to get involved in our mentoring schemes this year please do drop us a line - we would love to hear from you! Our many years' experience in developing and running schemes, including EU-wide collaborations, will guarentee that you are properly supported and trained - and all the wonderful young people taking part will guarantee that you learn an awful lot about 'generation Z', and also about yourself! Go on give it a try...!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Lunch with Lilly!

Today SATRO's CEO and several members of staff are visiting the Lilly site, near Windlesham in Surrey. The Lilly Research Centre was founded in 1967 and since then, it has become a centre of excellence in neuroscience research, with scientists dedicated to unravelling the mysteries of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Their greatest success to date was the discovery of olanzapine (Zyprexa), used for the treatment fo schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which was launched in 1996. Their research teams continue the quest for new medicines for neurodegenerative disorders, cognitive diseases and more recently sleep disorders.

Like many companies employing scientists, engineers and technologists, Lilly recognize that it is vital to encourage new talent into their industry, and hence they support the Surrey Scholar Bursary scheme which SATRO operates. This scheme is open to students from Surrey who will be studying for degrees in any STEM subject (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Successful applicants who are chosen by one of our sponsor companies, like Lilly, are supported financially during their studies and often get work experience with their sponsor, or, like today, get to visit a state of the art research facility and find out what it would be like to work there.

Today, SATRO staff will be accompanied by Lilly's current Surrey Scholars - and a very impressive bunch they are! We're sure that they hugely value the support and encouragement which the company is giving them, and that they will have wonderful STEM careers as a result.

Friday, 31 August 2012


Forty-four students have spent the summer frantically collecting data and analysing it for their Nuffield Foundation Bursary projects, which are now coming to fruition.  The projects have to be completed and handed in by 7 September, before the start of the new school term.  Once they are read and assessed students are notified if they have gained Gold CREST Awards and this can be added to their UCAS forms as well as a statement of participation in the bursary project!

Several projects have already been completed and assessed and the valued Gold CREST status given.  A number of supervisors have already acclaimed the work done by their students as being "as good as their MSc student’s work, if not better!"  All projects will be on display at our Celebration Evening in November when their authors will chat with next year’s prospective applicants.  Information will be available from your school co-ordinator for prospective applicants in late October, early November.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


The SATRO Business Game stretches young people’s minds and abilities in a way they probably never thought possible! 
SATRO delivered 43 events in the last academic year, influencing 3,627 students.  No wonder most schools have already re-booked for 2012/13.
Running a business and showing enterprise skills that mirror the working world is the main topic covered in an intensive and exciting day that makes up the SATRO Business Game.
A huge number of volunteer facilitators from the business community have also enjoyed the experience.  Typical of their reactions has been this volunteer’s comment…
“I was completely impressed; not just with the excellent programme, content and organisation but with how the students performed and threw themselves into the tasks – so creative and full of enthusiasm – really gratifying.  The skills they acquired throughout the day will stand them in good stead as they enter the world of work.”