Thursday, 27 June 2013

Innovation & Excitement at 16th SATRO Festival of Science & Engineering

Dame Sarah Goad, DCVO, JP, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey,
with the Warwick School exhibitors
Yesterday saw Brooklands Museum, Weybridge buzzing with 500 students from schools and colleges in Surrey and the South East as they took part in the 16th Annual SATRO Festival of Science & Engineering. Great weather and an atmospheric setting amongst the planes and vehicles added to the festive spirit of the day.

SATRO’s patron, Jon Tickle (previously of Sky TVs ‘Braniac’) was a judge at the Festival and other guests included Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Dame Sarah Goad, the High Sheriff of Surrey, Dr Helen Bowcock, and the recently appointed Chairman of Surrey County Council, David Munro. Many representatives from education, industry, commerce and professional bodies also attended.

In the P&G schools area, nearly 20 schools exhibited their projects from the past year, displaying innovative science, technology and engineering ideas. Winners of the 7 coveted prizes were: Best Engineering Project (sponsored by The Manly Trust) The Sixth Form College, Farnborough; Personal Achievement Award (sponsored by Air Products), Miles Ascough, Heathside School; Young Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Rob Douglas, Chairman of the UK Space Agency Steering Board), Anthony Weedon, Royal Grammar School Guildord; Team Achievement Award (sponsored by P&G) Broadwater School; Best Key Stage 3 Exhibit (sponsored by CBSbutler) Bishop Wand School; IET Prize for Technology, Joseph Davis, Salesian School; Best School Exhibit, voted for by the students (sponsored by CBSbutler) Heathside School.

All the students had the opportunity to get their hands on some working science and technology in the CBSbutler Working World Marquee where over 30 companies demonstrated a range of activities from liquid nitrogen to satellites. Students also had plenty of opportunity to talk to scientists and engineers and get first hand knowledge of careers and the world of work.

The SATRO Festival is the Premier Surrey Event to challenge and engage young people in STEM careers and give them the opportunity to develop the kind of skills that employers will need in the future. SATRO's  Chief Executive, Beccy Bowden commented, “The buzz and enthusiasm surrounding the students and employers reinforces why it is so important to provide the links between young people and the working world”.

Click here to view PODCASTS and PHOTOS from the Science Festival.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


28 students at St Dominic’s School in Hambledon had the opportunity on 20th June to participate in SATRO’s Mega-Structures Challenge in which they had to construct a shelter made from paper sticks. Their brief was to design and build a model large enough for all team members to fit inside!  Problem-solving and teamwork were key elements of the session; the students rose to the challenge and all were thoroughly engaged in the task.  The teachers were impressed with the activity and the students said that they had enjoyed the challenge. 

We are grateful to former Surrey County Councillor Andrew Povey, whose sponsorship enabled these students to develop new skills.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


In the week that the NPL National Rocket Challenge took place, The Hale Primary School in Farnham got into the action by launching their own Rockets workshop on Monday 17th June.  Year 5 pupils had the opportunity to learn about pneumatics and hydraulics before making their own rocket.  The “launch” session proved to be a popular element of the workshop, generating many “oohs” and “aahs” as the rockets whooshed through the air.  The teacher was pleased with how the workshop “practised co-operation and team-work – recording, prediction skills”. Pupils commented: “I feel more excited about science” and “I want science lessons to be like this every time”.

We extend our grateful thanks to Surrey County Councillor Denise Le Gal, who sponsored this event.

Continuing on with the theme of Water Rockets, our very own Stan Stephens took 4th place with Team Gragar's rocket at the NPL Challenge.

20 teams took part in the open challenge and over 45 rockets were made and launched on the evening of 19th June by participants of the workshops. An enthusiastic crowd of spectators were there to support. Awards were given out by Her Worship the Mayor of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Councillor Rita Palmer.

Well done Team Gragar!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Siemens 'Next Big Thing' Challenge won by Surbiton High School

The girls from Surbiton High School were deserved winners in Key Stage 5 of the Siemens Next Big Thing Challenge.

On Tuesday 11th June, Team Forget-Me-Not presented their idea for a ‘smart’ pill dispenser for patients suffering from dementia to the judges at The Crystal, the world’s first centre dedicated to promoting urban sustainability, in London’s docklands. The dispenser contains load cells, to sense if a pill has or has not been removed, and a SIM card, to inform relatives or carers if a dose has been missed. The students also visited the exhibition area containing interactives, films and animations as well as having a ride on the cable car to the Millenium Dome and back.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Full On Fun with Maths

Two events held last week proved that maths can be fun if approached in the right way.  Sponsored by Cllr Alan Young we visited St Cuthbert Mayne Catholic Primary School and Cranleigh CofE Primary School to deliver the Fun Maths workshops to KS2 pupils.  Some 200 pupils had the opportunity to work in pairs and use their mathematical skills to solve a range of puzzles.  As one teacher commented: “Some children who do not enjoy maths really excelled”.  The pupils felt more confident at the end of the workshops and the general buzz of excitement was captured by one pupil who said “I will never find maths boring again!”

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Eggs-iting Science

Pupils at St Lawrence CofE Primary School, Chobham had a fun day of exploring science on 4th June: Years 3 and 4 experimented with parachutes to find the best solution for dropping a raw egg without breaking it; Years 5 and 6 developed skills in the analysis and manipulation of data using LogIts.  The day proved a great success with the children commenting that they were much more knowledgeable by the end of the workshops: “I learned something new and I feel proud of what I can now do”. The teachers were equally impressed with this first visit from SATRO:  “The activities supported aspects of the ICT and Science curriculum; pupils now have a greater understanding of electronic devices to monitor quantitative data”.

This event was funded by former County Councillor, Mrs Lavinia Sealy, for which we are most grateful.

Monday, 10 June 2013


SATRO is involved in an amazing 3 Peaks Challenge 5th & 6th October 2013 to raise money for our charity.

The challenge is to consecutively climb the highest peaks in: Scotland (Ben Nevis 4,406 ft), England (Scafell Pike 3,206 Ft), and Wales (Snowden 3,560ft).
Last year the same challenge raised over £30,000 for SATRO and we are asking for volunteers to take on this incredible feat for 2013.

Participants need to raise a minimum of £900 sponsorship per person and pay a £75 registration fee. Everything else is organised for you, including transport to and from peaks, insurance and hotel accommodation for the last night.
If you are interested in being part of SATRO’s biggest fundraising challenge of the year please contact Lisa Dimbylow at

Friday, 7 June 2013


Hayleigh became involved with SATRO when she came along with a team of colleagues from P&G to a business game in 2011 that P&G sponsored. She enjoyed it so much that she has continued to support SATRO in many different ways.  Thanks to Hayleigh’s co-ordinating effort and persuasive powers we regularly have P&G employees supporting and sponsoring our games each year. 
Despite her busy day to day role, and this co-ordination, Hayleigh still finds the time to be a mentor and has volunteered for nearly 100 hours of her time to SATRO’s events in the last two years. Hayleigh is absolutely passionate about supporting and encouraging children and is a fantastic role-model. When we asked Hayleigh why she loves taking part she told us...
"P&G help local communitites with different schemes which SATRO was part of and I volunteered. After the first game I fell in love with it and how it helps children.  I have helped on several games over the last two years but every game is different, and I love seeing how the children learn and their enthusiasm. When I have recruited other volunteers from within P&G, they all love to help and we always have new volunteers by sharing our excitement with other colleagues."

Thursday, 6 June 2013


Janet was formerly a Project Director with BT and has a PhD in Astro-physics and a BSc in Maths. Janet started volunteering for SATRO as a mentor in 2010 and since then has dedicated 120 hours of volunteering through the mentoring programmes but also using her scientific background at our primary science activities, mega-structures challenges and at our TeenTech event. Her versatility enables us to call upon her many skills and she is a brilliant role model to encourage female students to consider a STEM career.
Janet got involved with SATRO, Because I enjoy working with young people, seeing their excitement in new ideas and helping them to achieve challenges.  I hope that I broaden their horizons a bit, to encourage girls in particular that they can succeed in science subjects even if they find them a bit difficult or off-putting at first, and that there is a world of opportunity out there if you have a background in maths or science.”

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


John Hillman

John is Risk MI Analyst at Legal & General. John first became involved with SATRO in 2005 as a mentor at Oakwood School in Horley. Then in 2008 John co-ordinated a team of Legal & General employees to become mentors at the Beacon School as part of a corporate community involvement programme. In 2011, when all Government funding into mentoring was cut and the majority of programmes had to be abandoned, SATRO could no longer afford to provide the scheme, however John was instrumental in persuading Legal & General to continue this programme by funding it themselves and this is still on-going.  John himself has continued to mentor there despite having an extremely busy role himself and co-ordinating this programme as well. In addition, as a Governor of Meath Green Junior School, he introduced the school to the opportunity of the SATRO Mega-Structures Challenge, which was held in May 2012.
John himself has told us why he works with us. "I originally became involved in mentoring as a challenge to develop myself but also to help young people. Since then, having experienced how rewarding the scheme can be to all parties involved from mentee to mentor to the school and employer, I have been more than happy to champion mentoring at L&G and promote it. The scheme is a great help to pupils and I have received excellent feedback from mentors over the years about how rewarding it is. It fits very well with L&G social responsibly programme and their desire to help the community. It has been very well supported at all levels, not only financially, but also in recognition of the benefits it brings. In 2012 I was given a Special Recognition Award by the company in a large part for my involvement with the mentoring scheme. 
I have a passion for education and have been involved for many years now as a school governor at various schools. I understand very well that some pupils' experience difficulties and that schools are not always best placed to deal with that. Mentoring is a way of helping those pupils at the very important stage of their lives and can, and does, make a real difference to their futures.”

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Dick Emery came to SATRO via Peter Stables, a SATRO Associate, as they had worked together as Engineers at BT where Dick worked for 30 years. Having retired in 2011, Dick has dedicated so much time and energy to supporting our programme of events; he has volunteered at over 26 events giving us an amazing 144 hours of time. Dick is very adaptable and has volunteered across the board at our events, making use of his engineering skills at our Mega-Structure Challenge days and in our Primary Science activities, and also demonstrating his business skills at our SATRO Business Games, both senior and junior. 
Additionally he has shown a willingness to roll up his sleeves and help out at our annual Science Festival and TeenTech events. (Additionally he has attended our Careers Speed Dating events to try and enthuse the next generation to become engineers.)
Dick has said that, “I enjoy volunteering with SATRO because the events are always well organised, and the young people get so much fun from them.  SATRO always share the event feedback with the volunteers, and it’s fantastic to see so many comments that show that the young people have discovered that science and engineering is fun!”

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Carl Burrows Trust Family Fun Day

SATRO Mobile tutor Bob Mancini and his van were at Limpsfield Chart on Sunday 2nd June for the Carl Burrows Trust Annual Family Funday. Pictured here having a quiet moment while everyone else was on the bike ride or walk he was kept busy later telling and showing – and giving the youngsters a go – what we do with schools.

The Trust was set up in 2011 in memory of Carl Burrows, a leading figure within the plumbing and heating industry. Its main aim is to assist young people in gaining access to the skills needed to forge a career within the Industry. The trust is a generous supporter of SATRO's Mobiles programme and we are working together to design ways of rewarding and hence encouraging the young people we work with.


Volunteers’ Week is a nationwide annual campaign which takes place on 1-7 June and celebrates the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.  Every year, over 200 million people in the UK volunteer, donating more than 100 million hours to their communities every week. 
SATRO would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their invaluable contribution to make what we do possible - quite simply we could not do it without you.   In 2012, 650 active volunteers delivered over 6,800 hours of work, which is absolutely outstanding.  These volunteers come from a huge variety of backgrounds and each brings a new set of skills from their experience in business to inspire and enthuse children by sharing their enthusiasm for the working world, with particular emphasis on enterprise and STEM subjects.
In order to show the diversity of our volunteers we would like to highlight a volunteer each day this week.  We have chosen these particular volunteers as each one brings something completely different to SATRO…

Shash Patel 

Shash is Director, Information Risk Management & Privacy at Air Products and despite this hugely challenging role he still manages to dedicate at least a day each month to volunteering with SATRO.  Shash has a BSc in Maths and came to SATRO in 2005 via his previous work with Surrey EBP. Shash really has turned his hand to at all of our events from conducting Business Studies Workshops for A level students, using his business skills in our business games, mentoring, acting as a judge at our Annual Problem Solving Challenge, in our Careers Speed Dating workshops and also chaperoning children at our Science Festival.   
We asked Shash why he gets involved...

"It was twofold; firstly to give something back to my community in a tangible way – by helping to develop students of all ages, as education is a major interest of mine; secondly, people like myself, who have spent their entire careers in a corporate environment, tend to live in an “ivory tower”, losing sight of what is happening around them, especially at a local level – my volunteering enables me to establish those links to my local community and helps educate me on what real life is actually like – maybe some of our politicians should do the same!”