Evidence justifying statement on an Education Scotland poster: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/01743
Date received: 22 June 2018
Date responded: 18 July 2018

Information requested

Information about the scientific evidence or advice used by Education Scotland to justify the statement that "boys and girls are just different", and that "gender differences are learned, not innate".

I am referring to the poster pictured below, which can be viewed here: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Documents/sci38-posters.pdf

Please provide:

  1. Correspondence with any experts regarding advice sought or received about whether these statements are accurate.
  2. Details of all scientific studies considered to inform making the claims.
  3. Any internal or external discussion involving Education Scotland staff about whether this claim is accurate


Point 2

The Improving Gender Balance (IGB) Programme was a three-year pilot led by Skills Development Scotland, Education Scotland and the Institute of Physics. The programme ran between 2015 and 2018 and involved close partnership working with early learning and childcare centres and schools within six school clusters.

A suite of materials has been developed to support the ambitions of the IGB programme, namely, to help early years centres and schools address unconscious bias, tackle stereotyping and improve gender balance within STEM education. The programme has aligned closely to the wider ambitions of the Developing the Young Workforce Programme and also the STEM Education and Training Strategy.

The poster in question was one of a suite of posters that had been designed to stimulate discussion and provoke thinking around gender balance and bias. This particular poster was developed to help our audience understand the influence that cultural norms, expectations, language, toys and the learning environment has on the development of children and young people. The poster aims, therefore, to empower key influencers and help them understand that they can take practical steps within their own settings to challenge stereotyping and bias and to promote gender balance.

The poster and other materials were developed following careful consideration of the research in this area and following more than three years of action-based research in educational settings across the UK. A list of references has been included with this response (see Appendix). Our view is that the statements made in the poster are supported both by this body of research, and by our experience of leading action research in school settings.

Points 1 and 3

The Improving Gender Balance officers who led on the development of the materials, although employed by the Institute of Physics, are co-located in Education Scotland. The posters were developed through a process of professional dialogue and collaboration. There was no requirement for these conversations to be minuted or recorded. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that Education Scotland does not have the information you have requested.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Appendix FOI-18-01743.pdf


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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