Caroline Keep is the director of Spark Penketh at Penketh High School. The whole-school makerspace – in which 3D printing plays a critical part – is the first of its kind in the UK. The space is committed to preparing its students for the future by developing their resilience, confidence, and independence.
“Spark Penketh is inclusive, so we want all our students experiencing this – not select a select few who undertake enrichments or go on school trips,” Caroline says. “Our program teaches every student in year 7 to 10 basic skills in emergent technologies. 3D printing has become a key part of our program, with all students taking on sessions in using our printers, working on projects, and learning CAD.”
Founded in 2018, Spark Penketh has been refined over the last three years into what Caroline calls its “final pathway.” This year, for example, it has expanded into the community via partnerships with local libraries, and with the help of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Growth Fund. In the future, the makerspace will provide opportunities for students who want to take their technological education even further, enabling them to apply to take qualifications, including Autodesk Certifications.
I think this ability to change the students’ worlds with 3D printing is what inspires me most, giving children the skills to shape the world they live in.