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Manchester Academy pupils help to construct aircraft

The pupils linked up with University of Manchester students for an exciting and large-scale aviation project.

| by Matthew Brown

Manchester United Foundation partner school pupils have helped to construct an aircraft made from recycled materials as part of a series of interactive STEM workshops delivered alongside the University of Manchester.

The young people from Manchester Academy spent a day on campus with University of Manchester students who are a part of the Giant Foamboard Aircraft Society.

The society, an engineering, research and outreach programme, enables young people to get involved and develop a passion for different aspects of STEM industries, alongside the university students.

One of the pupils taking part, Andrew, 13, said: “I learnt about teamwork and that it’s key here for building an aircraft. All of us built it together with the help of the staff and the students. It was great.”

Another pupil, Alan, 14, added: “I enjoyed making different parts of the plane. The staff helped us and I really enjoyed it a lot.”

The Foundation’s work with the University of Manchester has also seen other workshops delivered to support pupils from across our partner school network, including to celebrate International Women’s Day and British Science Week.

The society also supported pupils from another of our partner schools, Dixons Brooklands Academy, to construct a foamboard aircraft last year.

With some refinements by students from the society, the plane will – as it was last year – be taken to Mount Snowdon this summer, for a test flight to display its effectiveness and celebrate the input of our partner school pupils.

Our pupils can look forward to receiving footage of the expedition this summer, while members of the GFA society will explore the possibility of taking the plane back to Manchester Academy, post-flight, to showcase to pupils later this year.

Auvni Patel, the society’s outreach manager, said: “The aim is to spread key aerospace research and we want to have an impact on the wider community of Manchester.

“If you can build a plane in a day, it puts into perspective of what they can achieve, whether they study a STEM subject at the University of Manchester, or anywhere else.”

The Foundation’s student life skills manager, Niccola Massey, said: “Our partner school pupils have experienced amazing educational workshops thanks to our work with the University of Manchester.

“Our pupils have learned so much, and been immersed in STEM subjects with a relevance to real-life situations, so that they can understand the importance of relevance of some of their newly found knowledge.

“For our students from Manchester Academy in particular, the sight of this amazing foamboard aircraft coming together is a powerful demonstration of what they could go on to achieve in the future as a result of their hard work.”

Across three dedicated STEM workshops with the University of Manchester during March, more than 130 pupils were involved in the enrichment activities.