Fired up and loving their STAARring roles!

Fired up and loving their STAARring roles!

Five QE boys got to grips with cutting-edge aerospace technologies at a summer residential after triumphing in a spring competition.

The group headed to Shropshire for the Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR), at RAF Cosford, near Shifnal, and the nearby RAF Museum, learning from industry experts in a packed five-day programme.

Head of Digital Teaching and Learning Michael Noonan said: “It was fantastic to see students take the initiative and independently apply for the STAAR programme. The five were amongst a wide cohort who applied for a place on this highly prestigious residential, and from speaking with them on their return from the holidays, I know it has only further ignited a passion in them for careers and study in STEM-related subjects.”

The organisers of the event included education technology consultancy Tablet Academy (TA) Education. After the camp, its Head of Training, Samantha O’Leary, wrote to Mr Noonan full of praise for the QE boys: “They are a funny, confident, thoughtful, and intelligent bunch who integrated incredibly well with the students from the other schools. So much so, you wouldn’t have known they were from different schools at all. They were fantastic representatives for the school, and it was a pleasure to work with them.”

The QE five were among only 40 winners of the competition, which was open to those in Year 9 in 2022–2023. They were Keeyan Shah, Kyle Goldband, Neil Kulkarni, Keshav Aggarwal and Ishaan Mishra.

Keeyan said: “The STAAR residential was greatly enjoyable. We had an action-packed week filled with fun activities from coding a drone to flying a plane simulator. It was an amazing experience.”

Neil said: “We did quite a few activities at the residential, most of which included extremely high-tech tools. These included some things such as flight ‘sims’ and wind tunnels. We also had a chance to see roughly what living in an RAF base was like, with the mess hall and gym and things like that. Overall, it was an extremely fun, informative and unique opportunity and a highlight of our holidays.”

Keshav described the camp as a “a hands-on experience showing aerospace engineering and aeronautical design”. It was, he said, an “an eye-opening experience which will stay with me forever”.

Neil added that it was not just the academic aspects of the trip that he enjoyed: “Meeting people from other schools who had won the competition was very cool, talking about their school and just meeting new people in general. And then the residency itself – living with our friends – was very fun and the responsibilities of living without parents to help was a big realisation.”

The competition to secure their places involved completing four STEM tasks relating to: decryption/encryption; reconnaissance; creating a CAD model, and creating a team presentation.

Organised in partnership with TA Education, the camp was sponsored by Northrop Grumman – a huge American defence and aerospace company formed by Northrop Aircraft’s 1994 acquisition of Grumman Aerospace, which built the Apollo programme’s lunar module.

The boys stayed with chaperones and followed a course delivered at both the RAF Museum and RAF Cosford by: the museum’s STEM Ambassadors; industry experts from Northrop Grumman; TA professionals and RAF STEM personnel.