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.

6. Inspiration

To help create a strong pipeline of STEM talent into the labour market and ensure that everyone develops STEM skills and knowledge we will promote Inspiration for STEM 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 under this theme, 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)

This section provides an overview of progress on individual actions under the Inspiration theme.

Creating positive STEM role models, mentors and coaches

Education Scotland is working with others to support early learning and childcare settings to engage positively with STEM and tackle gender stereotypes through parental and family engagement. An estimated 2,446 early learning and childcare practitioners will benefit from Round 2 of the STEM Grants programme in 2019-20 with early learning and childcare being identified as a priority sector for the grants. This was as a result of the findings from the 2018 Annual STEM Practitioner Survey which showed that early learning and childcare practitioners do not have the same access to professional learning that meets their needs as other sectors.

Similarly, the early learning and childcare sector is being supported through the activities of the Regional STEM Advisors and IGBE officers. Early learning and childcare settings are also involved in the pilot of the STEM Nation Award to help shape the development of this new programme to ensure it meets the needs of the early learning and childcare sector.

Parents and carers play a significant role in influencing decisions and supporting learning at home. Education Scotland's Parentzone Scotland website now contains more STEM and gender balance and equalities content to help parents talk to their children about STEM. The National Parent Forum of Scotland, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland, is due to publish a STEM Nutshell guide in Spring 2020 which will also promote understanding of STEM and gender balance.

As well as engaging with schools, STEM Ambassadors have been increasing their engagement with sectors that require more support, such as early learning and childcare, families and community learning and development. In the financial year 2019-20, there were 2,736 active STEM Ambassadors in Scotland, delivering 6,374 activities and volunteering over 51,450 hours. SSERC lead co-ordination of the STEM Ambassadors in Scotland, and have been piloting the use of 'Skype a STEM Expert' with two local authorities that have significant rurality issues as a means of increasing engagements with young people.

61% of respondents to the 2019 Young People in Scotland survey said they had chosen or thought they would choose to study a STEM subject. (KPI IV a)

The new Young STEM Leader (YSL) programme, led by SSERC, was piloted in 72 centres from June 2019. Almost 500 Young STEM Leaders are delivering a range of STEM activities, events and interactions in their school, community or youth group to inspire other children and young people to take up STEM. As we approach the academic year 2020-21, the Young STEM Leader programme will be scaled up to increase centre participation. A Youth Steering Group has been actively involved in offering advice on the content of "activity packs" used by centres when delivering the programme. The University of Stirling is evaluating the impact and effectiveness of the programme.

These actions will contribute to progress being measured under both KPI I and KPI IV. However, it will take time for the programme to build momentum and start to see the impact on these KPIs. In the meantime, the monitoring and evaluation of the Young STEM Leader programme will guide the progress of this action, and we will review the activity above in light of the 2019 Young People in Scotland survey.

Promoting the opportunities and benefits of STEM learning and careers

Our national STEM engagement campaign, 'Aye for Ideas', was launched in June 2019 and campaign resources have been shared with key stakeholders. The aim of the campaign is to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds, with a particular focus on community network to engage with STEM, and improve the visibility and impact of the range of activities that take place annually across Scotland.

STEM Ambassadors - Putting the M in STEM

#Inspiration #STEMAmbassadors #CLPL #Mathematics #Numeracy

In August and early September 2019, Education Scotland worked in partnership with the STEM Ambassador Hubs and Maths Week Scotland to deliver a series of training sessions for STEM Ambassadors focussing on numeracy and mathematics. The development opportunity was well received with over 100 STEM Ambassadors signing up to attend sessions in Aberdeen, Ayr, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The sessions introduced ambassadors to the concept of science capital, provided an overview of the current Scottish curriculum and exemplified a range of hands-on activities that could be used to support schools and community groups. Attendees worked collaboratively to develop new ideas to showcase maths in careers such as geological research, chemical engineering and farming. Feedback from participants showed that as a direct result of these training sessions STEM ambassadors went on to deliver a FunMaths Roadshow to a Brownie group, another ambassador was successful in applying for funding to help them deliver a new maths-based activity and others felt more confident in delivering activities with an increased understanding of the curriculum. Planning for further sessions in a wider range of locations is underway for 2020.

Maths Week Scotland again took place in September 2019 to promote and encourage greater enthusiasm for and increase participation in mathematics through showcasing the application of mathematics in everyday life and work. Participation and activity continues to grow year-on-year with events in every local authority area involving over 100,000 people across Scotland. A funding partnership between the Scottish Government, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and the Glasgow Mathematical Journal Trust issued £70,000 of Maths Week Scotland small grants to schools, communities, early years centres, parents councils, universities and third sector organisations to deliver a diverse range of events and activities promoting engagement with the relevance and joy of numeracy and mathematics.

Activities such as these are contributing to KPI Ib to increase the number of passes at SCQF Level 5 in Mathematics by 10% by 2022. SQA results in 2019 saw a 6.1% increase (from a 2017 baseline) with 29,873 passes at SCQF Level 5 in mathematics (Mathematics and Application of Mathematics combined). We hope to see this positive progress continuing with increasing recognition of the value of SCQF Level 5 Applications of Mathematics and the development of Higher Applications of Mathematics to offer a progression route.

In 2018-19, Skills Development Scotland's My World of Work Live (MyWoW Live!) programme expanded, with the aim of engaging more young people across Scotland. This programme offers a set of fun, interactive exhibits and activities that inspire young people, helping them to understand future careers and opportunities. Face-to-face delivery has expanded with regional delivery staff now in post and virtual delivery being piloted, extending the reach of the programme to more remote and rural locations. 14,046 young people participated in an inspiring activity with 90% saying their MyWoW Live! experience had increased their understanding of jobs and careers in science/technology. 94% of parents/carers said the MyWoW Live! activity was likely to increase their child's motivation to study STEM subjects and 88% of teachers said the activity increased their motivation and enthusiasm to teach STEM subjects.

Skills Development Scotland also works with industry to inspire young people about careers in cyber security. The Discover Cyber Careers programme streams online, live and interactive cyber security lessons into schools and in its third year, more than 45,000 pupils and teachers have enjoyed the programme.

Through the Skills Development Scotland Digital Champions network, careers staff are also being trained by industry through regular insight sessions to be confident in talking

In 2018-19, 14,046 young people participated in an inspiring activity with 90% saying their My World of Work Live! experience had increased their understanding of jobs and careers in science/technology.

100,000 people across Scotland were involved in Maths Week Scotland in September 2019, with events in every local authority area.

Colleges and universities have been encouraged to promote higher levels of progression from school to further education and onward to higher education through their Outcome Agreements. Analysis of data by the Scottish Funding Council has shown a rise in the proportion of total activity allocated to STEM in colleges. Further analysis will focus on student success and retention in STEM subject areas.

The College Progress & Ambition Report has details on outcomes and targets for the college sector. The SFC's previous ambition for the proportion of credits delivered to learners enrolled on STEM courses in colleges was to increase from 24.8% in 2016-17 to 26.6% in 2018-19. This has been achieved ahead of schedule, with 27.7% of college credits being utilised for STEM courses in 2017-18. SFC aim to increase this to 28.5% in 2019-20.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) is also promoting awareness of the full range of funding streams available for taught postgraduate study, including STEM, at open days and through social media channels. In 2020, opportunities will be explored to highlight support to women.

In addition, the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB), and its short-life STEM working group, will develop a sample of case studies promoting the benefits of apprenticeship careers in STEM to key influencers of young people. The case studies will be shared by SAAB member organisations across agreed channels.

Each of these actions will contribute to progress being measured under KPI I and KPI IV, promoting both Excellence and Inspiration themes. Under KPI IV, results from the 2019 Young People in Scotland survey show a drop in the proportion of respondents who said they had or would choose to study STEM from 65% in 2017 to 61% in 2019. Although it may take time for the actions in the strategy to affect this KPI, we will review our activity on inspiring young people for STEM in light of these results.

Recognising and celebrating success

During 2019, Education Scotland piloted a new STEM Nation Award to encourage and support whole setting approaches to STEM. 82 school and early learning and childcare settings have been participating in the pilot. The award scheme celebrates and builds on achievements in five key areas: leadership, family and community learning, employability and partnership working, curriculum and learner pathways, and equity and equality in STEM. Participating establishments range from a very rural and remote primary school on the Isle of Islay to large secondary schools in central Scotland. The evidence of practice will be shared and made available more widely online.

The success of early learning and childcare settings and schools also continues to be celebrated annually through the Scottish Education Awards. The Early Learning and Childcare Innovation Awards, which were launched in 2018-19, have also provided an opportunity to celebrate good practice in supporting early STEM skills. One of the settings achieving this award in 2019 was Clober Nursery in East Dunbartonshire, which was commended for developing an outdoor play area where the children were able to grow food and take part in woodwork and other construction activities.

Education Scotland also held the first annual community learning and development STEM conference, What's STEM Got to Do with It, at the Glasgow Science Centre in February 2019 to showcase inspirational lifelong learning and STEM practice. Over 100 Community Learning and Development (CLD) managers and practitioners took part, with learning materials including short films from the day shared on the National Improvement Hub. It raised awareness of the important contribution that CLD makes to engaging young people, adult learners, families and communities in STEM-related learning.

Nine CLD-led programmes funded through STEM professional learning grants are engaging over 300 CLD practitioners (in local authorities, colleges and third sector organisations) in STEM professional learning. Education Scotland will continue to support the CLD sector to build STEM capacity.

Progress against these actions is being specifically measured against KPI I g around participation in STEM related Youth and Adult Awards, where we have seen an increase in the number of youth awards from 39,900 in 2016-17 (representing 43% of all youth awards in that year) to 45,787 in 2017-18 (representing 49% of awards) and 48,574 in 2018-19 (representing 42% of awards).


#Inspiration #ClimateChange #CLPL

The MTa STEM kit was designed with the RAF to run fun and thought provoking activities. Each kit contains 24 tasks which develop STEM skills. Additionally, ESP has designed an activity to build a wind turbine. This activity coincided with the release of the Netflix biopic "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind". The kits are suitable for both primary and secondary pupils and have also been used successfully for apprentice development and as a team building activity. Teacher training has been run via a number of colleges and the kits are rotated around colleges where they can be booked by local schools and demand has been high. The kits were show cased at the Scottish STEM Learning Festival and have been promoted by regional Developing the Young Workforce teams as a free STEM resource.

Dundee Science Centre - engaging communities in science

#Inspiration #Connection #ScienceCentres #CLD

Building on the success of the Glasgow STEM conference, Dundee Science Centre delivered their first STEM in the Community session for community learning and development practitioners in September 2019. The session brought together a range of partners including DeafLinks, the Science Ceilidh and the University of Dundee to explore topics such as science capital, communication for all and using local community funds of knowledge to help shape and influence the curriculum for learners. Participants provided very positive feedback on the event and were keen to see the event repeated in 2020 with further input and sharing of practice from local community learning and development practitioners.



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