Institution of Mechanical Engineers - Dorchester and Weymouth

September 2016 to August 2017


The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is committed to inspiring young students in schools and colleges to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. We also seek to inspire Teachers, so that they can deliver stimulating lessons and guidance to students.

In the Dorchester and Weymouth Area this work has been taken forward under the guidance of the Schools Liaison Officer (SLO), Steve Stubbing, for over 20 years.

We take a three level approach based on experience gained and lessons lent over the years.

Up to Year 4 (8-9 years old) is the optimum age for inspiring young people’s minds and catching their imagination and interest in Science and Engineering.  Some Students are taken on day-trips to 'Explore at Bristol' or 'Winchester Science Centre', where they learn by using all the hands on machinery and experiments.  Some schools make a field trip where the Scientists inspire them to discover natural wonders, and challenge them to think how the environment has evolved.  This teaches Students how to observe, understand, evaluate and report using a scientific approach.  It is also about teamwork and personal interactions, essential skills for engineers.

This year we have tried to inspire all ages from Reception to Year 13 by providing key items of equipment so that Students have good quality equipment to raise their expectations. We provide rulers with the Institution logo and leaflets showing what Engineers do.

New this year I developed lesson plans and ran an after school STEM club in Broadmayne school, covering materials, strength of materials, use of form to optimise performance, culminating in designing, costing and building a bridge to carry all 12 club members at once!  This with Years 3 and 4.

The activities are jointly funded by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Schools, Parents and Pupils themselves.

Feedback from students is provided to the Institution and the outcomes are amazing.  They are really enthused and inspired, particularly at the younger ages.

At Secondary level, Years 7 to 13 (11 to 18 years old), students are involved in college activities to enable them to experience resistant materials, engineering, graphics, electronics/control, textiles and food technology - the broadest sense of Technology.

Also new this year Rotary International asked me to be the Chief Judge and Manager of a competition between our four local secondary schools: Budmouth College, Wey Valley School, All Saints School and the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy.  This was an all-day event with each providing 2 teams of Year 9 and Year 10 Students to participate in a task to design and manufacture a vehicle to travel along and clear debris in a pipeline by remote control.  The designs were documented, manufactured (from card, pulleys, batteries, wire and a motor provided), tested and a portfolio of this process produced.  Finally each vehicle participated in a competition to see which was most efficient and fastest.  The Judges then used a marking scheme to allocate the prize cups which were presented by the local Mayor, and reported in the local press.

At the top level we work to inspire the Staff in the Schools and College Design & Technology Departments with the possibilities for their students. This year two teachers retired and a young female mechatronics teacher joined Budmouth College to give a good balance.  We try to encourage more girls every year and the Budmouth after school Inventors Club has more girls than boys this year.

The highlight of 2014 was the delivery of an Institution of Mechanical Engineers funded 3D Printer, to link with the Solidworks CAD provided by local industry.  This was delivered to Budmouth College in August 2014 and has been set to work and used every school day since!

The staff are inspired and enthused by it, and this year have used it with all Design & Technology students from Year 7 through to Year 13 (11 to 18 years old (A level)).  The Head Teacher was impressed and we have lifted the status of Design and Technology within the College even higher.  1096 students have passed through and experienced the printer and other equipment and materials supplied this year! (see table below).

2017 SPEND and 2018 BUDGET

In 206 the IMechE kindly agreed to a budget of £3,650 to support educational events and activities in the Dorchester and Weymouth area.  This became available late this year (May 2017) for the financial year January to December 2017.

Science trips need to be booked well in advance to obtain suitable dates at the venues and schools.  The late availability of funds meant all activities were planned in the summer term, although some trips will actually take place in the autumn term (after this report).  In 2018 it would be helpful if budgets could be approved and made available as early as possible in 2018.


The Design and Inventors Club meet after school every Tuesday in term time, and is mainly Year 7s and Year 8s (11/13 years old).  They turn up every week and are very keen to create and manufacture items that inspire them on the night.  There have been around 40 students through the group this year, with many more girls than boys.

The Design and Inventors Club also participated in a Qinetiq competition to investigate boat design parameters, to a given specification and motor.  We produced experimental model hull designs and then built a remote controlled model boat to our final design.  This was raced in a national race at Haslar hydrodynamics facility.  This was a great experience for our team.

We have supported the Textiles Technology area with materials and small items of equipment to enable screen printing standards to improve greatly.

The Institution procured a 3D printer in 2014 for Budmouth College to evaluate and see how it can be used to enthuse and inspire all areas of the D & T department: product design, graphics design, control, electronics, food technologies and textiles.

This year the 3D Printer has been used or experienced by 1096 students in D & T, with a breakdown:

Year 7    250  resistant materials, engineering, graphics, electronics/control,

Year 8    250  textiles, food technology (6 subjects, all Yrs 7, 8 9)

Year 9    168  options taken in Year 9

Year 10   175  students opt for 1 or 2 of the 6 subjects above Yr 10/11

Year 11   158

Year 12     55  students choose to study 1 subject at A level - Yr 12 &13

Year 13     40



All of these students have experienced, and many have used, the 3D printer.  This technology comes naturally to them.  We are very fortunate that we have Solidworks (one of the main industry standards 3D design software packages) supplied by local industry.

The A level students are able to programme Solidworks themselves, and then use it to make components for their Projects.

So the provision has lifted the College students to experience the Industry standard and current way of working. This has encouraged many to take their studies forward to A level.  This year there is nearly double the number of students from Years 10 to13!  Hopefully our input has been part of this.

All of the engineering A level students have been given speed interviews (with local industry support) to encourage them into Engineering, and many past students are now carrying out degree studies.


Broadmayne First School

Broadmayne made a trip to the Lyme Regis Science and Fossil Festival in April, taking 31 children, details below.

This year we also provided a programmable robot for the younger children, and the PTA followed our lead and added 2 more.  The school has 135 children.

Science trips provide a really excellent day, that I strongly support.  The presenting scientists are really good at explaining how scientists work from the evidence, the Students then make deductions and record the facts.  This encourages children to work together, to support each other and to have an ordered, structured approach to science, and engineering.

Frome Valley CE VA First School

Frome Valley visited the Chesil Science Centre in June.  They have 89 children and more input is planned for the autumn.

Piddle Valley CE First School

Piddle Valley have booked a science dome for November, which will form the basis for a whole school science day, details below.  They have 99 pupils.

Puddletown CE First School

Puddletown were supported with the hire of a mobile science dome / planetarium in May.  See below for overview of Science Dome / Planetarium.  They used it to support the whole school of 149 children, as one whole day of their science week activities.

Cheselbourne Village School

Cheselbourne visited the Winchester Science Centre in June and we procured essential equipment, so all of their 42 children benefited.  See below for details of the trip.

Portesham CE VA Primary School

This is a small village school, rather isolated between the Weymouth and Bridport school areas.  They have 97 pupils and we have sponsored a whole school science day for October 2017, details below.

St Mary's Primary School, Bridport

This year St Mary's wasn't supported because of lack of funds, however they have had higher funding in previous years.

Hazelbury Bryan Primary School

Hazelbury Bryan are booked to visit Explore @ Bristol in November 2017, see below for details.  We will take around 53 students.  There are 89 children in school.  I joined in a Reception/Year 1 class this term.


Altogether 747 younger children have been on trips, had materials supplied, or had facilities / experts brought in.  1096 secondary students at Budmouth College have also been supported, representing a grand total of 1843 students in the 2016-17 academic year.



'Explore @ Bristol' and 'Winchester Science Centre'

'Explore @ Bristol' and 'Winchester Science Centre' provide young people with a wonderful day of totally hands on experiences of many aspects of Science and Engineering.  They are always enthused and inspired as you can see from the Thank You letters provided to the IMechE.  Many students persuade their parents to take them back!  There is a huge amount of learning when guided by Dorchester and Weymouth Area IMechE volunteer staff.  The planetarium is inspirational and the 20 minute workshops / demonstrations are often explosive!

Both centres have similar types of equipment, experiences and a planetarium.  Winchester access is easier being straight off the M3, Bristol traffic is very tedious.

Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm Museum

The museum arrange various workshops.  In one children assemble a glider and launch it from the pitching/rolling deck of a model aircraft carrier using the model catapult.

In another workshop they build a model launch rig to eject a model pilot into the air, measuring the launch height and recording results.  Then they are challenged to work out how to provide more power and to measure and compare the results.

The first workshop took place underneath the actual Concord 002 which they walk through later!

They then have a flight in a simulated helicopter, landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier, where they watch a simulated launch of an aircraft, and also a landing with very realistic film and loud sound.

In another workshop they introduce the theory of helicopter flight, with examples of air flow and its effects on the blades producing lift, and the tail rotor for stabilisation.

This is a truly amazing experience.  Travel is much shorter, so a shorter day for all.

Science Dome / Planetarium / Lecturer

Science domes / planetariums come in varying diameters from 4m to 7m.  They are hemispherical and can be used indoors and out.  Ours are used in school halls.  They contain a central 3D projector, displaying images on the inside of the dome (like the larger planetariums).  They can hold from 20 to 40 depending on size of dome and children.  So we can inspire a whole school from pre-school to Year 4 (Year 6 in Primaries).

The graphics are provided by amazing software packages.  One tells the origins of the solar system and the position of stars in the heavens.  It continues to describe the formation of the earth, and has exceptional graphics showing the molten core of the earth, and the flow of molten streams to their outlets in volcanoes in their correct locations.  This is followed by a brief overview of the earth's surface layer.  Others include astronomy and the Stars.  New topics are added each year.

This year we are trying a science lecture team to enthuse a whole school.

Rocket Design Day

Rocket Design Days are arranged by the Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester.  The lecturer explains the principle of air and jet fuel powered rockets, with practical demonstrations of the power of both.  An explosive presentation!

Lyme Regis Science and Fossil Festival

The Science and fossil Festival in Lyme Regis was an amazing day with presentations from Oxford University, Southampton Oceanography Centre and the Antarctic Expedition and many others.

Oxford University fit children with paint laden sponges on their feet, then they walk like dinosaurs along a track.  By measuring the pace length and hip height, and timing to measure the speed, the children are shown how to calculate the speed of the dinosaur and to look up the species this matched.  An amazing piece of basic science.

The Southampton Oceanography Centre describes the life of an oceanographer at sea and shows a sectioned core they had bored in the Pacific seabed, providing 20,000 years of history.  The students are allowed to gently touch the surface, and at 8,000 years ago there was a dark line showing the volcanic ash from a massive volcano, which caused a tsunami!

There is a Design Project to evaluate Sea Protection Systems.  The use of a Beach wall, the use of Beach Profiling, and the use of Rock Barrier designs are evaluated.  The options are costed and a scale model demonstration of each given.  There were many other exhibitions on fossil and Jurassic coast rock structures, a good basis for Civil Engineering.



Outline Costs

The cost of an 'Explore @ Bristol' or 'Winchester Science Centre' trip averages about £650 for a coach, plus about £350 for entry fees; say £1000.

Schools were limited in these trips in 2017 because of budget cuts, only Hazelbury Bryan, who missed out last year because of the cuts, are going to 'Explore @ Bristol' and Cheselbourne a small school with access to a mini-bus to 'Winchester Science Centre'.

The cost of a more local science trip is about £250 for a coach plus around £150 for Rangers / Guides, say £400.

The cost of a science dome / planetarium or a visiting science presenter varies from £350 to £650 a day depending on the times and number of children catered for.

We also supply materials and minor items to schools for projects to enable the inspiration.  It is amazing what a difference £50 or £100 can make to update old, broken minor equipment and materials.  It lifts the teacher’s spirits as well as the students.  However, it does take effort to ensure that each purchase is focused on science and engineering.

For 2018 we have not planned to expand this work to new schools. Ideally we aim to support small village schools, as the larger schools are better able to fund the activities.


This work takes around 300 hours of the SLO time each year, as it is necessary to go on the trips to enthuse the young people and to be seen around the schools taking part in after schools activities.  Not to mention the personal satisfaction of being with such enthusiastic and keen young students and potential engineers and technologists.

This has been a busy year, linking with schools and establishing their needs to fit in with their particular approach to the curriculum.

In 2018 I plan to consolidate and further evaluate the work with the schools/college above, rather than add more schools.

I will also continue to develop STEM clubs for first/primary schools and have been asked to provide some help in class.

Together with my other voluntary work I have managed to reduce to 550 hours this year.

Steve Stubbing

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Dorchester and Weymouth Area Schools Liaison Officer

18th August 2017

2016 / 2017

                               Rec    Yr 1   Yr 2  Yr 3  Yr 4  Yr 5   Yr 6   Total

Broadmayne First       30     28     31     23     23     0      0      135

Frome Valley First       27     26     30     27     26     0      0      136

Piddle Valley First        15     22     25     13     24     0      0        99

Cheselbourne First       (       13)    13     (       16)    0      0        42

Puddletown First          30     30     29     30     30     0      0      149

Portesham Primary      15     (       33)    (       25)    (      24)      97

Hazelbury Bryan Pry    11     (       25)    (       33)    (      20)      89


Budmouth College    Yr 7   Yr 8   Yr 9  Yr 10 Yr 11 Yr 12 Yr13
                               250   250   168   175   158      55     40 1096

                                                  Total Number of Pupils   1843

Note: if numbers omitted classes are combined (eg Cheselbourne Reception / Year 1 is one class)    marked (  )

Note: First schools have Reception to Year 4. Primary schools Reception to Year 6.

Note: Budmouth College Years 12 and 13 are A Level students.

2017 Spend to 18 August 2017  (4 months to year end)

                        Trip entry/    Transport   Team to   Equipment  School 
                          Guides                          school                      Total

Broadmayne First    34            245               0             221          500 Interim

Frome Valley           52            215              0             26            293     Interim

Piddle Valley             0              0           500               0             500   Interim

Cheselbourne            0           150               0          150             300   Final

Puddletown               0              0           500               0             500   Final

Portesham                0              0           450             50             500    Interim

Hazelbury Bryan    100           400              0               0             500   Interim

Bridport St Marys      0              0              0               0                 0   Final

Budmouth College     0             35              0           229            264   Interim

Sub Total              186           1045         1450         676


                          SPEND to above date                               3357

                          BUDGET                                                   3650

                          Allocated                                                   293


Note:  These are the Interim or Final spend at date above, as shown.
Note:  This report is prepared with about 4 months to IMechE Year End in December 2017

© 2011 Institution of Mechanical Engineers. IMechE is a registered charity in England and Wales number 206882