STEM strategy for education and training: first annual report

Overview of progress in the first year of the five year STEM Strategy for Education and Training in Scotland.


65% of respondents to the 2017 Young People in Scotland survey said they had chosen or thought they would choose to study a STEM subject. (KPI IVa)

In 2018, 77% of 8,684 young people who participated in MyWoW Live! said that, as a result, they are more likely to think about studying science/technology subjects at school

We will promote Inspiration by:

  • Creating positive STEM role models, mentors and coaches.
  • Promoting the opportunities and benefits of STEM learning and careers.
  • Recognising and celebrating success.

As a result of the actions in this section, by 2022, we expect to see:

  • Increases in the proportion of people undertaking STEM-related learning, engagement, study and training across all sectors including in school-level qualifications and awards and participation in apprenticeship programmes. (KPI I)
  • Increased numbers of people who understand the benefits and value of STEM for themselves, their families and their communities. (KPI IV)

Creating positive STEM role models, mentors and coaches

We have initiated a new Young STEM Leaders programme to support young people to inspire each other to get involved with STEM. The Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC) is leading the development and management of the programme, working in partnership with the Science Centres and Festivals, and youth organisations, including Young Scot. The Scottish Government has committed a total of £500,000 to the programme over financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The focus will be on providing training and support for young people to enable them to effectively carry out a STEM mentoring role, and the development of accreditation routes, to help ensure young people’s participation is valued and recognised. Young people in both school and community learning and development settings will be supported. The impact of the programme will be externally evaluated.

This action will contribute to progress being measured under both KPI I and KPI IV. It will take time for the programme to build momentum and start to impact these KPIs. In the meantime, the monitoring and evaluation of the Young STEM leaders programme will guide the progress of this action.

Promoting the opportunities and benefits of STEM learning and careers

The second annual Maths Week Scotland took place in September 2018 to promote and encourage greater enthusiasm for, and increase participation in, mathematics through showcasing how mathematics counts in everyday life and work. The Deputy First Minister, in partnership with the Scottish Mathematical Council, created a school holiday ‘maths challenge’ which was issued to all primary 6 children in Scotland initially at Christmas 2017, and then at Easter and Summer holidays and Christmas in 2018 to encourage family enjoyment of maths and problem-solving puzzles outside the classroom.

The role of parents, both in influencing decisions and supporting learning at home, is key to delivering many of the ambitions within the Strategy. Work is underway to develop an accessible guide on STEM for parents and new STEM content for the Parentzone Scotland website. Parental Engagement will also be a focus for the Regional STEM Advisors and the Improving Gender Balance and Equalities team.

In 2018, we brought together representatives from the many sectors that deliver STEM engagement events and content. As a result, a steering group of volunteers was formed to develop a national STEM engagement campaign. The aim of the campaign is to improve the visibility and impact of the wide range of activities that take place annually across Scotland. This will be done by bringing them together under an umbrella identity in a similar way to Scotland’s Themed Years. This identity for STEM engagement activities is under development and will be launched and implemented with the support of sector partners during 2019.

In 2017-18, Skills Development Scotland’s My World of Work Live (MyWoW Live!) programme, a hands-on experience of science and technology learning linked to STEM careers, continued across three sites in Glasgow, Shetland and Inverness. In the period April – September 2018, 8,684 young people participated in MyWoW Live! and 77% said, as a result, they are more likely to think about studying science/technology subjects at school. 93% of parents said that after experiencing MyWoW Live! they believed their child would be more motivated about STEM subjects in school and 97% of teachers said MyWoW Live! increased their awareness about careers in STEM.

Skills Development Scotland is building on the success of MyWoW Live! with a revised offer that includes virtual and mobile face-to-face delivery through recruitment of regional delivery staff to extend the reach of the programme to more remote and rural locations. A review of the first phase of the revised programme delivery will be undertaken with recommendations for further expansion by December 2019. Next steps for programme expansion are to be agreed by March 2020.

Colleges and universities are now being encouraged to promote higher levels of progression from school to further education and onward to higher education through Outcome Agreements.

Each of these actions will contribute to progress being measured under KPI I and KPI IV, promoting both Excellence and Inspiration themes. It will take time for these actions to impact the measurement of participation in STEM and young people’s attitudes being looked at in these KPIs. In the meantime, more detailed progress with these actions will be monitored by the Strategy Implementation Group.

Recognising and celebrating success

A key focus for 2019 will be the introduction of new STEM Awards with an initial focus on early learning and childcare, and schools, to recognise and build on activities in these sectors. We will also hold the first annual community learning and development STEM conference to showcase inspirational lifelong learning STEM practice.

This action is being specifically measured against KPI Ig around participation in STEM-related Youth and Adult Achievement Awards, with baseline data to be collated in 2019.


Email: Frank Creamer

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