Feb 192019
 

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?

  • Approaches impacted positively on practitioners’ practice, including but not limited to, language used, interactions, pedagogy and resources used in learning
  • The programme developed awareness and understanding of stereotypes and a willingness to challenge this among learners
  • Interventions led to a greater ethos of inclusiveness and fairness felt by learners in schools
  • There was an increased awareness of gender stereotypes and unconscious bias among practitioners and learners
  • The support provided through the programme was flexible, tailored and was aligned with all aspects of the curriculum

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:

  1. Featuring glamourous/attractive/successful/aspirational/healthy people or particular lifestyles
  2. One gender only, including ads for products developed for and aimed at one gender
  3. Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their negative effects

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 heather.earnshaw@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk. 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

Oct 112018
 

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week  provides a unique opportunity for engineers, employers, universities and schools to help inspire the next generation of engineers.

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.

Oct 112018
 

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

#PSECchildrensconf

Join our ‘PSTT Children’s Conference at PSEC’ Facebook group

Aug 222018
 

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.

SLF 18 STEM LIVE Demo Programme

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.

Aug 202018
 

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.

Jan 242017
 

Gender Balance logoImproving Gender Balance Scotland, the partnership project between the Institute of Physics, Education Scotland and Skills Development Scotland, has recently launched part of their suite of resources for schools looking to counter gender stereotyping.Primary child putting work on a board

The resources include PSHE lessons on gender and stereotyping, classroom interaction monitoring templates and a poster of top tips on inclusive learning. The resources can be found on the IOP’s website here.

As part of this launch Skills Development Scotland have released a short film including some work by Duloch Primary School, as well as a written case study of the work to date. The project page and the film can be seen on SDS’s page here, and the case study here.

 

 

 

Jan 042017
 

£1 million to develop teacher education options

Innovative new ways of developing teachers of the future are to be created, backed by over £1 million from the Scottish Government Attainment Scotland Fund.

The proposals include:

  • Moves to get new teachers into the classroom more quickly for priority Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects
  • Targeted help for former teachers looking to return
  • The development of teachers able to work in both primary and secondary
  • Fast track routes combining post-graduate education with the probation year
  • Offering more joint degrees in teaching and specialist subjects such as chemistry

The plans, which will bring more than 200 new teachers into the profession, have been put forward by the Scottish Council of Deans of Education and are aimed at helping tackle teacher recruitment challenges being experienced in some subjects in certain parts of the country.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has revealed the plans on a visit to the University of Dundee. He said:

“Teachers are the bedrock of Scotland’s education system and I want to ensure we do everything we can to attract talented graduates to a career in teaching. The quality of teaching is key to helping pupils achieve and to our aspiration of closing the attainment gap.

“These innovative proposals are designed to do just that while, crucially, maintaining the traditionally high standard of teaching in Scotland. We will not change the standard we expect new recruits to attain before they become fully-fledged teachers, but we are determined to broaden the routes into the classroom and speed up the process.

“This is exactly the sort of collaborative approach we need if we are to realise our ambition of achieve excellence and equity in Scottish education, and I am pleased to support it with £1 million from our Attainment Scotland Fund.”

Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council Scotland, said:

“Flexibility is crucial when trying to attract new people into the teaching profession and to address the issue of teacher shortages. GTC Scotland is at the forefront in promoting a wide range of new and innovative routes into teaching for those wishing to join the profession in Scotland.

“As the accrediting body for teacher education programmes in Scotland, GTC Scotland has the important role in ensuring that these new routes maintain and enhance the high standards of teaching and teacher education expected within our graduate teaching profession.

“It is important that these routes have been developed by the ITE Universities with partnership working in mind and GTCS stands ready to fast-track their accreditation as part of our work to enhance teacher professionalism that will benefit children and young people across the country.”

Background

 The proposals include:

Accelerated routes combining PGDE and Induction Year

  • University of Dundee – fast track training that combines post-graduate education with the probation year focusing on STEM graduates
  • University of Strathclyde – STEM graduates would complete a PGDE and achieve the Standard for Full Registration alongside a Masters degree

Joint degrees with a secondary specialism

  • University of Stirling – adding Technology to the subjects Stirling already works with Heriot Watt to deliver shared concurrent degrees for Physics and Chemistry
  • University of the West of Scotland – extending their concurrent degree programme to include Physics and Chemistry.

Primary specialism

  • University of Stirling – qualify more primary teachers with additional subject specialisms including Literacy, Numeracy, Additional Support Needs and STEM subjects
  • University of Glasgow – qualify teachers to work between P6 and S3 in Mathematics

Current Local Authority employees into education

  • University of Aberdeen – expand to all authorities Aberdeen’s distant learning programme for local authority staff becoming qualified primary teachers
  • University of Dundee – expand Dundee’s Learn to Teach programme to include secondary teacher education, and to all local authorities

Returners to teaching

  • University of Edinburgh – develop and expand their course that helps prepare qualified teachers who have been out of teaching for a while, or who have never taught in Scotland, for the classroom

Newly qualified teachers from Ireland

  • University of Glasgow – recognising high level of teacher unemployment in Ireland, recruit recently qualified teachers, such as those with STEM qualifications, to undertake further study while they work in a partner local authority
Nov 112016
 

for_powerpoint3

Concept Cartoons – 6th February 2017

(17:00-18:30)

SSERC, Dunfermline

stuart_nStuart Naylor, one of the principal authors of Science Concept Cartoons Set 2, is due to deliver this ‘twilight’ professional development session. Aimed at learners in the age range 10-16, this new resource for Chemistry, Biology and Physics covers topics including earth and space, living things and their environments, physical and chemical changes.

Concept Cartoons are designed to introduce science concepts in everyday settings. Each character has a different opinion about science being discussed. All of the possible answers are plausible and highlight common learner misconceptions. Learners are invited to join in with the discussion happening in the science Concept Cartoon.

science-cc-set-2-book-cd

The book and CD of Science Concept Cartoons Set 2 both contain 156 Concept Cartoons covering the main areas of science. Background text, written in pupil-friendly language, is available for each Concept Cartoon. A blank speech bubble on each Science Concept Cartoon encourages learners to add additional ideas.

Fee: The fee for the course is £135 to include a copy of the book and CD of Science Concept Cartoons Set 2 as well as a site license meaning that all teachers can use the resource in their teaching. Light refreshments will be provided on arrival.

Applications: The closing date for applications is 25th January 2017.

 

Jun 022016
 

SEPA LogoSEPA is looking to expand its existing volunteer rainfall observer program. This work includes the development of an online data entry portal and data visualisation facility.

To complement this work, SEPA is piloting collaboration with around 40 schools nationally. For the pilot we would like a good mix of both primary and secondary educators.

As well as providing useful data for SEPA and the Met Office, the project will hopefully develop a variety of skills and educational opportunities

What’s involved?

SEPA will supply a raingauge and the school will be required to find an optimal location within the school grounds. The raingauge is supplied with a bracket that will need to be attached to a wooden post using screws and a screw driver. Each morning as close to 9am GMT as possible, someone from the school is required to record the rainfall that has accumulated in the gauge. The rainfall measurement can then be entered in the data entry website whenever it is convenient. Although it is most beneficial for us to have a measurement be taken every day, it is OK to have some periods of no measurement such as over weekends and holidays so long as the next entry made reflects that it is a cumulative reading.

The value of the data record increases with age and so ideally we would like our volunteer schools to view this as a long term, ongoing venture. More detailed information will be disseminated to schools taking part. The data entry website can be viewed at https://envscot-csportal.org.uk/rainfallobs/

If you are interested in taking part please contact Cordelia Menmuir at email: cordelia.menmuir@sepa.org.uk Tel: 01738 448 835

Further resources to download:

SEPA Rainfall_Citizen Science

Rainfall Observer_Project Overview

Jun 022016
 

SEWeb-Logo-Two-Lines-with-backgroundWhy we built the portal

Citizen Science is really important to the partners in Scotland’s Environment. It generates data which are used to make decisions, set priorities and debate issues, but just as importantly, it promotes citizen education, empowerment, health and wellbeing. By building this portal, we want to improve the support that is available to Citizen Science projects, especially in relation to gathering data, making it easy to view and understand, and easy to discuss.

What the portal does

The portal helps us to bring information on a variety of projects into one place, covering topics as diverse as weather, soils, air quality, water quality and protected species. We want to make it easier for participants to take part in projects, find a home for new projects they have created, see their contribution and discuss it with others. The portal also provides a place for us to try out new approaches towards data gathering and engagement, new tools and new resources.

Visit the portal at: https://envscot-csportal.org.uk/

Visit Scotland’s Environment website at: http://www.environment.scotland.gov.uk/get-learning/

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