Policy actions  1 of 6

STEM education and training

We are improving education and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Scotland's schools, colleges and universities.

This will enable and encourage more Scots to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for helping to grow Scotland's economy.

STEM strategy

We published our STEM Education and Training Strategy on 26 October 2017, having consulted on the Strategy between November 2016 and January 2017.

The Strategy aims to build Scotland's capacity to deliver excellent STEM learning, and to close equity gaps in participation and attainment in STEM. It also aims to inspire young people and adults to study STEM, and to provide a better connection between STEM education and training and the needs of the labour market in Scotland.

A set of STEM Strategy key performance indicators will be used to measure and monitor progress with the delivery of the STEM Strategy.

We established a STEM Strategy Implementation Group in December 2017 to oversee delivery of the Strategy and bring together data to help the process of implementation.

Annual reports

The first STEM strategy annual report on progress in the first year of the five year strategy, a spreadsheet showing the full set of key performance indicator data and a STEM definition paper were published in February 2019

STEM education in schools

STEM education is a core part of our Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).


We are expanding and improving STEM learning in schools by:

  • implementing the recommendations of the Making Maths Count report, and supporting maths teaching through the National Numeracy and Mathematics Hub
  • supporting a three-year £1 million fund to boost primary science learning in schools in partnership with the Wood Foundation
  • continuing to provide grant funding to the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre for their programmes of teacher professional learning for primary teachers, secondary specialists and school science technicians

Young STEM Leaders

In line with the STEM Strategy, we have initiated a new Young STEM Leaders programme. The peer mentoring initiative is designed to support and inspire young people to get involved in STEM.  The programme will commence later in 2019. 

Supporting the curriculum through science engagement

In the year 2015 to 2016 we invested £135,000 in four Scotland-wide, school-based science engagement initiatives:

  • £50,000 in the Generation Science shows for primary schools, run by Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • £40,000 in Young Engineers and Science Clubs at primary and secondary schools, run by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • £25,000 in British Science Week at primary and secondary schools and community organisations, run by the British Science Association
  • £20,000 in the GeoBus activity and learning days for secondary school pupils, run by the University of St Andrews

STEM education in colleges

We are working with colleges to bring the number of full-time college places in STEM subjects in line with regional employment needs.

This will benefit the economy by helping to improve students' employment prospects and to fill skills gaps in the labour market.

Young People in Scotland Survey 2017

We have published a report, Young People in Scotland Survey 2017: STEM and language findings, to present data collected by Ipsos MORI on the choices young people make regarding STEM and language subjects at school.