Spark Penketh Makerspace: innovation in the making.

We @SparkPenketh are the UK’s first makerspace within a state school at Penketh High School weaving maker education into our curriculum. We believe in providing students with diverse, rich learning environments in which the creativity of the student as an innovator can flourish. We provide pupils with the opportunity to develop their ideas both within the curriculum and outside the classroom with industry leaders in the community and experts in their field.

What is a makerspace?

Makerspaces are learning environments that facilitate hands-on learning by providing students with access to tools (3D-printers, laser-cutters, 3D scanners, VR/AR kit, vacuum formers, micro-controllers, electronics and assorted computer design software etc) in order to develop digital skills, that they can then curate and showcase through community arts, science and cultural events in order to pursue their chosen careers.

The Spark whole-school upskill programme

The Spark upskill programme is a whole-school initiative that runs alongside pupil’s GCSEs and has been designed to align with the current shortage of skills (the so called ‘in digital gap’), in order to develop in our student’s the skills they will need in the emergent job market. The programme provides opportunities for ALL pupils to learn about;

  • Computer Aided Design & Digital Fabrication – eg. 2D and 3D design (e.g. Autodesk & CAD), 3D printing.
  • Rapid Prototyping & Open-source – physical & digital prototyping, app control, GitHub.
  • Design Thinking – observational techniques, leadership, iteration, systems theory, UX/UI.
  • Physical Computing & Coding – e.g. Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Micro:bit, Circuit Playground, C++, Python, Node red, CSS, HTML.
  • Data Visualization – advanced formulas, data analysis, data design.
  • Game Design – g. Unity
  • Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) – e.g. Blippar, Unity, app development.

Spark Enrichment

We are working with a number of industry leaders such as Create Education, Hewlett Packard, Code Club, Raspberry Pi, Liverpool John Moores University and many more, to deliver innovative opportunities for pupil’s to gain relevant experience in new technologies.

Spark Community Outreach – ‘Sparked by Penketh’

In addition to our in-school initiatives, we have launched a community programme called ‘Sparked by Penketh’ outreaching to local Primary Schools, libraries and museums. We are currently working closely with local Primary Schools to establish a network of Code Clubs and run enrichment activities for KS2 in our High School makerspace.

We also outreach to Libraries and museum across the north-west.