February 2019 


Bothal becomes a regional hub for Primary Engineer teacher training
Bothal has become a regional teacher training hub for STEM-specific (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Primary Engineer teacher training, following the official opening of our Primary Engineer suite by Member of Parliament for Wansbeck, Ian Lavery. Funded by the Platten Family Foundation, the ‘Institution of Primary Engineers suite’ at Bothal, which features 3D printers, IT facilities and practical work spaces will provide new training opportunities for teachers working with Primary Engineer’s programmes from across the region and beyond, as well as serving as an inspirational classroom resource for our children to engage with engineering.
Bothal children have enjoyed considerable success in recent years in both the Engineer Leaders award and in the Primary Engineer electric vehicle competition.  Our KS2 teams have won the advanced Engineer Level 2 section in the North East regional finals for three years running and our KS1 teams won the Apprentice Level 2 sections in the most recent competition.  Ian Lavery MP said, “It’s great to see Bothal Primary getting the recognition it deserves following their involvement in the primary engineers scheme which I was proud to support.  Our young people in Wansbeck, across Northumberland and the rest of the U.K. deserve equal opportunities and through schemes like this, our engineers of the future will start to get inspired!”

January 2019

ARUP Digital mapping workshops
ARUP sent environmental consultants and members of their Geographical Information Systems (GIS) team to Bothal to work with Year 5 for the day. The children worked with large physical maps of Ashington, to explore how building constraints like environmental sites, green spaces and former coal mines will have an impact on their redesigns of Ashington. The children then moved onto using GIS to include and display multiple layers and to draw features onto digital maps. The workshops were an exciting and very informative way for the children to include real aspects of the world of work within their projects and to highlight more examples of future STEM careers that are available to them. Well done Year 5!

November 2018

Bothal children have visited AkzoNobel along with their friends from Germany, Italy and Poland. Children were given a great insight into local industry. They had an opportunity to tour the £100 million facility, practice their painting in ‘the Dulux academy’ using paint freshly made that morning and try out Virtual Reality headsets. Children also met a very special celebrity… Madison the Dulux Old English Sheepdog.
“We have a fantastic working relationship with the Ashington Learning Partnership so we were delighted to be approached about the ERASMUS+ project at Bothal,” said Jill Johnston, site support coordinator at AkzoNobel Ashington. “The children thoroughly enjoyed the day they spent with us on the site. They were really engaged and loved getting hands-on with the painting exercises. “Bringing colour to people’s lives and engaging with the local communities around the site has always been a key priority for us. “We hope that the visit will help to inspire the children with ideas for their playground as the project progresses.”


NHS Business Services Authority
As part of the Erasmus+ project to design a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) themed playground, the children have spent a day with the NHS Business Services Authority in Newcastle. The children worked with developers, user experience designers and data analysts on a variety of STEM activities. Children also designed websites for each of their countries, to showcase what they have achieved in the project. The day was a fantastic insight into STEM careers and the world of work! Stephen Walker, Application Support Developer said “all of the children demonstrated great team-working skills and are a credit to their schools and the Erasmus+ project”.


Erasmus+ U.K. student exchange
Bothal have been hosting children and teachers from our partner schools in Italy, Poland and Germany. Our children have been working together on the Erasmus+ funded ‘Europlay’ project to design a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) themed playground.  Bothal children have already spent a week at school in Zlotorya in Poland and in Stuttgart in Germany.


CADCAM keychains
As part of their CADCAM (Computer aided Design and Computer aided Manufacturing) work. The children designed customised key chains using TinkerCAD and then printed them on the 3D printer.


CADCAM playground models
The children have completed their CADCAM (Computer aided Design and Computer aided Maunfacturing) work, as part of the final design phase of the Erasmus+ funded Europlay project.  Bothal have been hosting children from their partner schools in Germany, Poland and Italy as they work together on designing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) themed playgrounds for their schools.  Children have designed digital 3D models and printed them on the 3D printer.  

Year 5 have been working with a geologist and an ecologist from global engineering and design company ARUP.  The children benefited greatly from our visitors expertise and got to use a variety of resources and different types of maps of Ashington that they had brought with them.  Year 5 are busy working on the ‘Ashington Redesign Urban Planning’ project.  Well done Year 5!

October 2018

A number of our KS2 children have taken part in Royal Navy themed, marine engineering workshops. Children worked with Sally the marine engineer from the Marine Society, to carry out practical investigations into the principles of marine engineering. Children then used all of their engineering know how and ‘Skills for Life’, to work in teams to build ships capable of transporting humanitarian aid to disaster hit countries.

September 2018

ARUP launch

Our Year 5 children have had a fantastic experience working with engineers from ARUP.  ARUP are a multinational company of engineers, designers, technical specialists and consultants. They have been a major part of numerous projects worldwide, from the Sydney Opera House, Bayern Munich’s famous Allianz Arena, the Millennium Bridge in London to the Angel of the North. ARUP visited Bothal to launch our joint venture together, the ‘Ashington Redesign Urban Planning’ project. Our children demonstrated some excellent design ideas and engineering know how. Good luck on the project Year 5!



NASA interview

Some of our Key Stage 2 children have taken part in a live Skype interview with current NASA astronaut Sunita Williams. Sunita is a veteran of two space missions. The children were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch a live presentation from Sunita and then take part in an interview session.  Lara in Year 6 asked former engineer Sunita for any tips for girls who want a career in the STEM sector. Sunita advised Lara to take inspiration wherever she finds it and to believe that can achieve her goals!



July 2018

Dragons’ Den

Year 6 teams have been pitching their business ideas in the Dragons’ Den as part of their ‘World of Work Day’. The panel of Dragons was made up of a number of local employers and business owners who listened to the young entrepreneurs explain their money making inventions and business plans.



‘World of Work’ day.

As part of our ‘World of Work’ day’, Year 6 have taken part in ‘Career Speed Dating’ sessions. Children have been investigating how our ‘Skills for Life’ such as resilience, communication and problem solving are important skills in the world of work. Children have been interviewing a range of employers.

and business ambassadors such as engineers, HMRC, life coaches, university ambassadors, NCC, administration officers and international case workers.



Primary Engineer champions.

Last week, pupils from Bothal and Central Primary attended the Primary Engineer North East Regional Finals. KS1 have been working exceptionally hard to research, design and build shoe box cars with a safety feature, that can safely carry a toy down a ramp. Year 5 have been using all their engineering skills to build wooden, mechanised vehicles with electric motors to compete in ramp, speed and straight line tests. Children that entered the highest Engineer Level 2 also used CADCAM (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing) to design and 3D print custom wheels for their cars.

We are delighted to announce that our children were extremely successful at the regional finals. KS1 teams were awarded the prizes for Winner and Runner up in Apprentice Level 2. KS2 teams were awarded the prizes for Winner and Runner up in Engineer Level 2. A fantastic feat considering the high standard that we were competing against. We are very proud of them all!

June 2018

STEM day

As part of the Year 5 and 6 STEM day, which was funded by the Reece foundation, Bothal children were given the opportunity to ask a panel of STEM professionals about aspects of their careers. The panel was made up of engineers, software programmers, scientists, gamers and other STEM industry experts.

Gemma Sayers from Tech for Life, who delivered the event, said “Bothal Primary children were all enthusiastic and keen to engage with each of the activities. They asked some really interesting questions during the panel session. It was great to strengthen our relationship with the school and we hope you all had as much fun as we did…there are definitely some future STEM superstars in the making at Bothal!”

Well done to Lois in Year 5 who won a STEM prize for asking a superb question on how resilience is an important ‘Skill for Life’ to have in the STEM industry.



TSG Marine + Greenshift

Key Stage 2 children have been carrying out marine engineering investigations with TSG Marine and taking part in science workshops with Green Shift scientists.



Tech for Life microbits

Some of our children have been working with Tech for Life staff during the UKS2 STEM day, to code their BBC Micro Bit. Once children programmed a shake condition, local variables, LED patterns and random number return, they were able to play a game of rock, paper, scissors.



Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, have been building and flying mini drones around a course that they they designed.


Year 3 – Career Speed Dating.

Year 3 have taken part in a ‘Career Speed Dating’ event today, which included police officers, HMRC, dancers, Northumberland County Council and representatives from local industry.  Children had the opportunity to ask the professionals about their chosen careers and how the ‘Skills for Life’ (Resilience, Problem Solving, Team-working, Self-motivation, Communication and Being safe) they use everyday in school will help in each career. PC Kath Smyth from Northumbria Police said, “The children are a credit to the school. They are enthusiastic and had lovely manners.”  PCSO Lisa Auld said, “It was lovely to hear the children talking about applying the skills they are learning in school to our careers.”Well done Year 3!



Key Stage 1 builders

The new wall being built in the middle of Mr Keeling’s classroom is nearing completion.  Key Stage 1 builders have demonstrated outstanding ‘Skills for Life’, focusing on their ‘team-working’, ‘communication’, ‘problem solving’ and ‘being safe’ skills.

May 2018

Engineer Leaders Award

A number of our children received certificates in assembly for making it through to the final of the ‘Engineer Leaders Award 2018’. The prestigious engineering competition received thousands of entries and was judged by over 300 engineers. Children worked with local mechanical engineer Thomas Stott (CENG Imech.) from ‘Zero Carbon Futures’, to come up with exciting and innovative new inventions. Amongst the Bothal finalists, six children also received a merit for their invention and four shortlisted Bothal children received a distinction for their work. Shortlisted entries will be exhibited in the Discovery Museum in Newcastle on Friday the 25th May. Well done all, a fantastic achievement!



Flood-proof buildings

As part of the Natural Disasters topic, Year 5 have been using their team-working and problem solving skills in Design Technology. Children have been comparing the differences in flood defences in Morpeth to the flood-proof homes built in Indonesia. They have been improving their initial designs by including diagonal bracing and splicing to strengthen their flood-proof buildings.

April 2018

Zero Carbon Futures

Year 5 and Year 6 children have been discussing their ideas and inventions for the Engineer Leaders Award with mechanical engineer Mr Thomas Stott from Zero Carbon Futures.

March 2018

Erasmus coordinators welcomed

Bothal have welcomed the coordinators from our partner schools in Germany, Poland and Italy. The children in our four schools are working together on the Eramsus+ funded ‘Europlay’ project, to design a STEM themed playground to be built at our schools. Some of our Year 5 children have already been on a week long student exchange to Poland as part of the project. Future student exchanges over the next two years, will enable Bothal children to attend a week of school in Italy and in Germany to work on the project.