This resource provides an overview of the Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) programme and provides links to key documents including the interim evaluation of the RAiSE programme.
Education Scotland is pleased to share details of the twenty-four successful applicants who have been awarded a total of £187,000 grant funding through the Enhancing Professional Learning in STEM Grants Programme.
Launched in October 2018, the grants programme aims to to build the capacity and confidence of practitioners and to support the implementation of the STEM Education and Training Strategy for Scotland. These exciting opportunities have been developed by a wide range of national partners to support practitioners working in early learning and childcare, primary, secondary and community learning and development settings. School-based technical support staff will also benefit from new professional learning. The programmes of professional learning that are being supported are aligned to the needs of practitioners as outlined in the 2017 annual STEM practitioner survey findings.
To find out more information about the exciting and varied professional learning opportunities being supported by the grants programme, please download to the STEM Grants Overview document available below.
We’ve arrived! Introducing the new Improving Gender Balance and Equality (IGBE) team within Education Scotland. We are a team of 6 officers (5 in post and 1 on their way) with a focus to embed the learning from the Improving Gender Balance pilot across all schools within Scotland. The pilot, supported by Skills Development Scotland, the Institute of Physics and Education Scotland, explored ways of addressing unconscious bias and tackling stereotypes. Its aim was to make education inclusive and accessible for all, regardless of gender.
What was the learning from the pilot?
We have until 2022 to support all schools and early learning and childcare centres (ELCs) to ensure gender balance and equality is at the heart of learning and teaching. The timing couldn’t be better. Scotland is making great strides to tackle gender imbalances and inequality. In March 2017 the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG) was initiated. The council brings a variety of women and girls, from the age of 15 years, together to raise awareness of gender inequalities in Scotland. The purpose of the Advisory Council is to champion positive progress and policy change and to be a catalyst for change by providing a challenging voice to the First Minister and her team. Regionally, the Developing Young Workforce (DYW) Programme and the STEM Education and Training Strategy have received great support and continue to strive to develop skills for learning, life and work. Both of these areas have provided strong support for IGBE learning and have proven to provide excellent contexts for tackling gender imbalance and unconscious bias. Nationally, the Scottish Government has committed to become the first country to include LGBTI+ issues and topics within its curriculum.
UK-wide we are seeing progress too. The cracking down on sexist stereotypes in the media reflects the shift in public perception and understanding of the potential harm of perpetuating gender stereotypes. In 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) issued new rules regarding the content of adverts portraying gender stereotypes which could cause harm or offence. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) released a statement in December 2018 stating that advertising has a key role to play in the depiction and reinforcement of gender stereotypes. The new rules not only apply to newspapers, magazines, television, cinema, leaflets and adverts on the internet, but also to paid-for promotional posts from celebrity endorsers or influencers on Instagram. CAP clearly states that the new code of conduct is not intended to prevent adverts from the following:
ASA conducted research which found that the roles and aspirations depicted were often reinforcing gender stereotypes.. Girls were often portrayed in a caring role and boys were shown being more energetic. Further information and research from ASA is available online.
Education Scotland is committed to improving gender balance and equality across Scotland. Our shiny new team, who come with a wealth of experience both within and outwith the education sector, would love to hear from you. If you have done some work on improving the gender balance and/or equality within your setting and want to share that with us, please email us or tweet using the hashtag #IGBE. If you are seeking a fresh pair of eyes to come and support you on your journey, then we would love to hear from you. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a wealth of information and support available at the national improvement hub. The IGBE team look forward to hearing from and working with you.
Literature used to form this Blog;
Improving Gender Balance Scotland Pilot. Summary of Key findings along with other supporting documents can be found at https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/Improving%20gender%20balance%203-18
National Advisory Council on Women and Girls, https://onescotland.org/equality-themes/advisory-council-women-girls/
UK advertising watchdog to crack down on sexist stereotypes, 14th Dec 2019, The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/dec/14/uk-advertising-watchdog-to-crack-down-on-sexist-stereotypers
Advertising guidance on depicting gender stereotypes likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence, CAP. https://www.asa.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/f39a881f-d8c9-4534-95f180d1bfe7b953.pdf
Depictions, Perceptions and Harm, The full report including supporting research documents from ASA is available at https://www.asa.org.uk/resource/depictions-perceptions-and-harm.html
This programme is one of a range of initiatives being launched to further the aims and ambitions of the STEM Education and Training Strategy for Scotland.
The grants programme has been established to meet the professional learning needs of practitioners in a number of sectors including: early learning and childcare, primary, ASN, secondary and community learning and development. School-based technical support staff are also a key target audience for the scheme.
The grants have been developed following extensive consultation with practitioners and technicians regarding their priorities. Surveys and focus groups in 2017 revealed a clear demand from practitioners for more localised support and more opportunities to work collegiately within their schools and clusters. Working in partnership with employers, colleges and other providers over a sustained period was also recognised as having a high impact on practitioner confidence. In addition, there was strong support for modular, online learning to give technicians and practitioners easy access to the professional learning they need, at a time that suits them.
Engagement with stakeholders has helped to identify a number of priority themes for professional learning activities such as:
In the initial phase of the grants programme, bids for funding are being invited from organisations and providers that can deliver professional learning support strategically at regional or national level. Should further funding be available in financial year 2019/20 then it is hoped the grants programme can be opened up to school clusters and other organisations to bid for funding.
To find out more about the Enhancing Career-Long Professional Learning in STEM Grants please refer to the grant Guidance document.
To bid for funding, please return your completed grant Application Form to email@example.com by 09:00 on Monday 26 November 2018.
Any questions about the grants programme should be directed to Ian Menzies, Senior Education Officer, Education Scotland on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 0131 244 4799.
Download toolkits of ideas on how to take part.
This year’s plans include the first Tomorrow’s Engineers Week Big Assembly; offering schools across the UK the chance to take part in the same assembly at the same time.
The PSTT Children’s Conference at PSEC is an exciting and unique opportunity for schools to participate in a dedicated primary science conference. The event will take place on Friday 7th June 2019 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre as part of the international Primary Science Education Conference (PSEC).
The theme of the conference is Climate Change, Sustainable Living and Environmental Science. Schools will be encouraged to develop their own projects focused on finding a local issue and developing solutions for it and then share their work: either by attending the Conference or submitting a poster/film of their activity.
Schools can register their Interest at https://www.primaryscienceconference.org/childrens-conference and download the free Climate Change Teachers’ Project Pack. The pack has ideas for projects in ten different areas; as well as advice on developing partnerships, planning projects and a Climate Change Special Topical Science Update.
Look out for more information in late 2018 when schools will be able to apply to present their projects at the PSTT Children’s Conference at PSEC in June 2019.
Keep up to date with what’s going on:
Follow @pstt_whyhow on Twitter
Join our ‘PSTT Children’s Conference at PSEC’ Facebook group
I’m a postdoctoral researcher (and STEM Ambassador) working on antibiotic resistance and drug discovery at the University of Strathclyde. I’m very honoured to have been selected as part of Homeward Bound, a year-long, global women in STEM leadership initiative culminating in a 21 day voyage to Antarctica with 80 other women from across the planet. The programme will enable me to build skills in leadership, science communication and visibility. It will enhance my capacity as a microbiologist working in Scotland and enable me to be a more effective leader and communicator – skills that will also help me in my role as STEM Ambassador. Part of my reason for doing this program is to inspire young people that they can do anything they want to do and that anything is possible – I never believed I would go to Antarctica as a little girl from small west coast town in Scotland.
As part of my Homeward Bound mission in relation to science communication and visibility, I would like to collect questions from school children (primary and secondary) relating to STEM subjects, climate change, sustainability and Antarctica. I will take these to Antarctica and try to answer the questions in a video. Anything goes really. If I don’t know the answers I will interview one of the 80 other women on the ship with me. When I come back in February (we have no internet in Antarctica) I will upload the videos to Vimeo and send the link to the schools so they can get their answers.
For more information and to submit questions, see below:
In June 2017, Education Scotland issued an online survey to the early years, primary and secondary sectors to find out more about the STEM career-long professional learning (CLPL) landscape and to identify the needs and priorities of practitioners and school-based technical support staff.
The survey findings provided important information and evidence which helped to shape the development of the national STEM Education and Training Strategy. This was published in October 2017 and is available from the following link: http://bit.ly/STEMstrategy
Key findings include:
· Lack of funding, time, workload and geographical barriers remain the biggest barrier to practitioners and technicians accessing career-long professional learning
· Strong support for online learning and modular learning to allow people to access professional learning flexibly anytime, anywhere
· More localised support including from mentors would be welcomed
· Practitioners and technicians want more opportunities to learn and collaborate with peers in their schools and clusters
· Partnerships with employers are an important source of professional learning and learning about STEM careers is seen as a high priority.
The information provided by practitioners and technicians through the survey responses has been extremely valuable. The findings have helped to inform decisions about the ‘coherent national offer’ of professional learning that is being planned in relation to STEM subjects.
Education Scotland is excited about the potential for increasing support in relation to STEM over the course of this academic year and beyond. We are already in the process or recruiting a team of new STEM Education Officers and Numeracy officers to support this. We are also just about to recruit a new team of Improving Gender Balance and Equalities officers to provide further support within the new Regional Improvement Collaboratives.
We’ll be releasing further details in the months ahead as plans are finalised and approved and as new resources and programmes go live. In the meantime, we’d like to give a sincere ‘thank-you’ to all those who promoted and completed the survey. In doing so, you have played a significant role in shaping the plans and decisions that will help to make Scotland a STEM nation.
Download the key findings:
SLF 2018 is taking place this week and we cannot wait for our STEM Live Expo! – a fantastic new, interactive experience with STEM demonstrations and inspirational keynote speeches.
Please note: the sessions below may be marked as ‘full’ when you register but stand-by places are usually available – just stand outside the relevant room on the day to make use of the free spaces!
Hosted by award-winning science communicator, Dr Heather Reid, the action starts at 09.30 on Thursday 20th September in the Lomond Auditorium, and the programme is as follows:
09.30 – 10.15: ‘Making Scotland a STEM Nation’
Hear the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, set out the Scottish Government’s vision for STEM and the ambitious plans in the national STEM Education and Training Strategy published last year.
You’ll also hear from three inspiring young people who’ll share their STEM experiences with you.
10.45 – 11.30: STEM Expo – Part One
Get STEM-inspired! Take part in our wide range of STEM demonstration sessions; hosted and delivered by children, young people, practitioners and experts from across Scotland. In a first for this festival, these sessions are packed full of practical ideas to inspire and motivate STEM learning across early years, primary, secondary and community learning settings.
12.00 – 12.45: ‘Improving engagement with STEM: A science capital approach’
How do we improve, increase and widen engagement with STEM – particularly once learners leave formal education? Join Professor Louise Archer from University College London to hear more about an exciting ‘science capital’ approach which is having a significant impact on young people’s understanding of and engagement with STEM.
13.15 – 14.00: STEM Expo – Part Two
If you enjoyed Part One, then be sure to come along to Part Two to take part in even more interactive demonstration sessions from another selection of inspirational children, young people, practitioners and experts from across Scotland.
14.30 – 15.15: ‘The Art of Science Communication’
Join Dr Jamie Gallagher – scientist, science communicator and salsa dance teacher – as he explores how to make STEM subjects memorable, exciting and accessible for all. Discover how fusing STEM with storytelling, art and dance can empower everyone – including even the most STEM-phobic learners and practitioners! – to connect with STEM in new and interesting ways.
15.15: Closing remarks
STEM Live! 2018 will be brought to a close by Gayle Gorman, the CEO of Education Scotland.
Click here to find out all you need to know about STEM Live! and the 2018 Scottish Learning Festival.
Just weeks after unveiling the outcome of a £2M fundraising campaign, in the form of a new exhibition and science learning suite, Dundee Science Centre has secured £1.45M to transform the visitor attraction into an even more accessible community hub.
The Inspiring Science Fund is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome. The scheme supports science centres to rethink what they do and what they offer to the public. Dundee Science Centre is currently fundraising for an additional £340K to reach its ambitious targets.
The news comes hot on the heels of the re-opening of the top floor following an ambitious redevelopment which doubled the upper floor space through a mezzanine extension, now housing the Medical Marvels exhibition and much improved facilities for the Science Learning Institute.
This latest tranche of funding will transform Dundee Science Centre into an inspiring community hub and lifelong learning resource which brings people together and attracts new audiences within the region. The spaces and programmes will be co-designed with communities from the design stage right through to prototyping and testing, and influenced by their needs to ensure it will feel welcoming, safe and accessible for people of all backgrounds.
Rebecca Erskine, Head of Development, Dundee Science Centre said, “We are incredibly excited to build on our existing relationships with our dynamic partners and community groups and invite in new audiences who may feel as though science isn’t for them to join us on a journey to truly shape and co-design exhibits, environments and programmes which are all influenced by their needs.”
Not only will the ground floor be developed into a custom-built hub with improved scope for events, talks and workshops celebrating community work, but made more user-friendly to those affected by sensory and other conditions.
The transformation will also see the creation of a brand new welcome / reception area, dedicated under 7’s exhibition area focused on child development, a sensory zone and new exhibition space with exhibits which encourage social interactions.
The coffee shop will also be replaced by ‘The Gathering Place’ where visitors can socialise and relax with intriguing injections of science, again all shaped by the community.
Linda Leuchars, CEO, Dundee Science Centre said, “We are absolutely delighted to have secured this new funding which will allow us to take all the work we’ve done over the last 18 years to the next level. We are already proud to be leaders in the field of community engagement but now it’s about exploring where we can take that, and really pushing the barriers of science engagement.”
Echoing the sentiment of inclusion is Paul Clancy, Executive Director of Children and Families Service from Dundee City Council, one of Dundee Science Centre’s partners – “Dundee Science Centre’s ambitious plans will play an important role our aims to tackle social inequalities and provide our children and young people with the best start to life. CONNECT will be an excellent opportunity for Dundee Science Centre and Dundee City Council to explore new and greater ways of working together and to learn from each other’s practice. CONNECT will firmly place Dundee Science Centre and science within the tourism, education and cultural fabric of the city and we are excited to be involved in this journey.”
In addition to the physical transformation, a new website will also be developed, again underpinned by the themes of CONNECT – inclusion, accessibility and diversity. The Science Centre team will also be trained by specialist organisations to ensure that the products and programmes on offer are fit for purpose, accessible and address local needs.
It is hoped that talks with local community groups will commence during Dundee Science Festival in October 2018. The new look Centre should be unveiled in Spring 2021.
The project partners bring expertise from a range of sectors from community learning and development, academia, formal education and health care. They are – Dundee City Council, Education Scotland, Dundee and Angus ADHD Support group, V&A Dundee, University of Dundee, Abertay University, University of St Andrews, Dundee and Angus College and NHS Tayside.
For more information, telephone (01382) 228800 or visit www.dundeesciencecentre.org.uk.