STEM strategy for education and training: second annual report

Second annual report on progress with the STEM Education and Training Strategy which shows how we have built on progress in the first year to start to deliver benefits for educators and young people.

3. Progress towards Outcomes

The Strategy identifies a number of key outcomes we expect to see by 2022. These are:

  • 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 (Excellence and Inspiration);
  • increased numbers of people who understand the benefits and value of STEM for themselves, their families and their communities (Inspiration);
  • increased practitioner confidence in supporting STEM learning in the early years, primary years and in Community Learning and Development (CLD) settings and increased practitioner engagement in STEM professional learning opportunities (Excellence);
  • increased collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers (Connection); and
  • significant reductions in the equity gaps in participation and achievement in STEM learning, engagement, study, courses and training across all sectors in relation to gender, deprivation, rurality, race, disability and for care leavers (Equity);
  • increased employment in STEM-related occupations and employers are more satisfied with the STEM skills and capability of the people they employ from schools, colleges, universities and from apprenticeship programmes (Connection).

In its second year, delivery partners have been building on infrastructure and resources put in place in year one to drive forward delivery of the aims and actions of the Strategy. Key activities and achievements in year two have been:

  • An online professional learning module was produced for the early learning and childcare sector and teachers working within the early level in primary school in January 2020. The module promotes child-led and play-based approaches to early learning in STEM and tackles gender bias in learning.
  • Refreshed national early years practice guidance - 'Realising the Ambition: Being Me' was published in February 2020. This resource sets out how to facilitate playful interactions and experiences in outdoor and indoor spaces that stimulate children's curiosity in the world around them.
  • We have awarded a further 111 STEM Bursaries to encourage career changers into STEM teaching in shortage subject areas.
  • Education Scotland has awarded a total of £1.9 million of STEM professional learning grants in financial year 2019-20, supporting 162 projects.
  • Eight STEM Advisers are in place and are working within Education Scotland's regional teams to support schools to deliver quality STEM learning. There are also eight Numeracy and Mathematics Officers and eight Digital Officers in the regional teams.
  • Six Improving Gender Balance and Equalities (IGBE) Officers are also embedded within Education Scotland's regional teams. Up to December 2019, the officers engaged directly with 50 school clusters, and had over 2,200 engagements with practitioners.
  • We are continuing to support SSERC to up-skill teachers and technicians, providing £865,000 in 2019-20.
  • SSERC delivered their pilot of the Young STEM Leader programme across 72 centres in school and community settings to support young people to inspire each other to get involved in STEM.
  • Colleges are continuing to develop the 13 regional STEM Hubs to strengthen collaboration between partners including universities, science centres and employers.
  • We are providing funding of £2.625 million across Scotland's four science centres in 2019-20. Science centre support includes a school transport subsidy and a community subsidy to enable engagement with a greater diversity of people.
  • In 2019-20, funding of up to £250,000 is available to support science festivals taking place across Scotland between August 2019 and June 2020.
  • In 2019-20 we are providing funding of £100,000 to support Generation Science and Young Engineers and Science Clubs that support young people's STEM learning at schools throughout the country.
  • A national engagement campaign 'Aye for Ideas' was launched in June 2019 with the purpose of inspiring and engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with STEM. The campaign will run for life of STEM Strategy and will be monitored to review social media and wider impact.
  • Over 80 early learning and childcare settings and schools piloted the new STEM Awards and a celebration event is being held in March 2020 to recognise their progress and achievements.
  • Education Scotland are developing an online directory of STEM inspiration activities to help co-ordinate the way STEM partners engage with schools. The directory will be available during 2020.
  • The first annual community learning and development (CLD) STEM conference, What's STEM Got to Do with It, was held at Glasgow Science Centre in February 2019.

The following chapters provide more detail on each of these and other activity under the Strategy in year two.

As we enter the third year of implementation of the Strategy, we will expect to see an increased momentum and level of activity, for example, through the impact of the STEM professional learning grants and the work of the new Education Scotland teams that have been put in place. The high level of engagement with the STEM Nation Award pilot and the Young STEM Leader Programme will bring new opportunities and energy that will further raise the engagement and profile of STEM.

In year three, we will:

  • Continue to deepen engagement with schools and other partners regionally through Education Scotland's STEM Advisors and IGBE Officers.
  • Continue the Enhancing Professional Learning in STEM Grants Programme informed by the findings from the Annual STEM Practitioner Survey and STEM data gathering exercise.
  • Roll out the Young STEM Leaders programme so that it is available nationally.
  • Continue to build on the STEM Nation Award pilot.
  • Finalise and pilot a self-evaluation framework for Improving Gender Balance in early learning and childcare settings and schools.
  • Publish the STEM Nutshell Guide on the Parentzone Scotland website.
  • Launch the Idea No. 59 innovation exhibition to inspire young people to think about STEM careers in the future.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure progress against the aims and key outcomes of the Strategy. These indicators are long-term targets, reflecting the ambitions and five-year lifespan of the programme from 2017 to 2022. We are keeping the KPIs under review to make sure that they are still relevant. This year, we have updated the KPIs as a result of new analysis.

We have linked activities to the KPIs throughout the report and the full indicators and summary data are set out in Annex B. Tables showing the full background data for the KPIs are being published separately on the Scottish Government website.

2019-20 £1.9m supporting 162 projects : Funding for the Enhancing Professional Learning in STEM Grants in 2019-20 totalled £1.9m, supporting 162 projects.

We are also gathering anecdotal and other evidence of progress through evaluation and monitoring of activity under the Strategy so that we can ensure our actions are delivering change and make any changes to our approach if necessary.

For example, SSERC has conducted an external evaluation of their Primary Cluster programme which covers all local authorities and which is based on empowering science and technology mentors in participating local authorities. 85% of the 430 mentors indicated an increased level of confidence for teaching science and technology, and 91% indicated an increased level of enthusiasm for science and technology. The programme now moves into phase 2 of delivery.

This programme complements the work of the Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) which also received a very positive evaluation in April 2019, with 71% of teachers involved in the programme reporting an increase in their confidence in relation to the pedagogy of science and 76% in relation to the content of science. A national invitation to join the programme has now been extended to all local authorities, with fourteen authorities benefitting from the programme to date. A further four authorities are scheduled to join in 2020.

An external evaluation of the impact of Education Scotland's activity under the Strategy will start this year. This impact study will shape the direction of interventions and regional and national activity, including the STEM Grants programme and improving gender balance activity, through to the conclusion of the STEM Strategy in 2023.



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