Coates Primary School children in front of Engagement Team vehicle

Thursday 19th May 2022

Gasps of surprise met an Engagement Team from Royal Air Force Wittering as they arrived at Coates Primary School near Whittlesey for a special STEM visit.

Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the team of STEM Ambassadors led by Warrant Officer Emma Hanson, as they took year five and six pupils through demonstrations of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths. Structural engineering and aerodynamics were the themes as the pupils constructed bridges and designed wings for air propelled rockets.

Coates Primary School is the heart of the village and a school has stood on the site for over a century. Today Coates Primary School educates around 190 pupils aged between four and eleven, and has a pre-school which accepts children from as young as two years old.

The pupils responded with obvious energy to the STEM sessions, enthusiastically building bridges and designing rocket wings with real imagination.

Sgt Daz Rivers said: “Today’s been a pleasure, you can see straight away that the students are really enjoying the STEM activities, experimenting and learning something new.”  

No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron (2MT) and the Royal Air Force Police brought their own special vehicles to the school. The playground echoed to the sounds of a gigantic Oshkosh truck and the sirens of a custody vehicle. Pupils could barely contain their excitement as they were allowed to climb into the cabs and take a moment behind the wheel.

In addition to its flying units, RAF Wittering is home to the specialist engineering and logistics squadrons that support RAF air operations and exercises, collectively known as the A4 Force Elements. The Station is also home to a contingent of RAF Police from No 7 Force protection Squadron.

Coates Primary School has a strong service ethos, it’s motto; ‘Reach for the stars, be the best that we can be’ echoes the mottos of the RAF and the Army. STEM learning is a priority for the UK, and the dynamic RAF Wittering Engagement Team made the morning educational and fun for students and teachers.

A year five pupil said: “This morning really was amazing. In our activities we made bridges and planes which we flew. It was super cool when we got to explore the police van and the Oshkosh!! They even showed us the engine! Thank you for this.”

Mrs Lindsey Boucher is the Head Teacher of Coates Primary School. She said: “Thank you so much RAF Wittering, it’s been a fantastic morning! Our older years have had such an education with the STEM Team, who have made learning incredibly fun, and 2MT and the RAF Police have given the whole school an insight into the RAF. Brilliant!”

Wing Commander Maggie Boyle is the Acting Station Commander at RAF Wittering. She said: “Our Engagement Team does a great job in developing an interest in STEM and showing students that Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are accessible and achievable for all. And it was fabulous to see how much the pupils enjoyed meeting personnel from 2MT Squadron and our RAF Police Flight, thanks to them all.”

See also: Education and Childcare

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