Principles for creating effective education programmes

Any education programme should aim to provide the highest standards of learning for young people and set high expectations. These standards are measured in both quantitative and qualitative terms – by the programme’s popularity and success with participants, its appeal to diverse groups and contexts, by the outcomes and achievements engendered for young people and by longer-term factors such as their career destinations. So how are high standards and expectations attained through education-industry partnerships?

Suggested below are some features that help define what needs to be accomplished:

  • A cohesive, evolving, progressive and dynamic programme of learning
  • Mutual knowledge exchange
  • Effective collaboration
  • Reciprocal benefits
  • Stimulating and engaging challenges
  • Setting high expectations
  • A positive mindset
  • Influential role models
  • Parental engagement and building ‘science capital’ [Reference 4] in STEM programmes.

A cohesive, evolving, progressive and dynamic programme – the education programme should be relevant to all those involved and align closely to the curriculum. It should have an overall strategic vision; develop in logical stages; embed progressive learning; and never become static.

Mutual knowledge exchange – strong education-industry partnerships require a mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise, a reciprocal relationship recognising and paying heed to professional qualities and perspectives on each side. Providing opportunities for professional learning for education/industry practitioners and teachers (who are key influencers of young people) will help to bring about systemic and lasting change.

Effective collaboration – collaboration should be based on co-operative approaches, openness, sharing and joint ownership so that the potential of the partnership is fully realised. This approach relies on trust, mutual respect, integrity, conscious inclusion, equality and support. Effectiveness is measured in terms of the overall success of the programme and appropriate negotiation of different perspectives.

Reciprocal benefits – each partner should benefit from participation and the partnership/programme should satisfy the varying needs of all. Benefits can be seen to accrue, for example, from co-operating on a venture that meets organisational or policy objectives or is compatible with the demands of government strategy. Further benefits derive when the partnership/programme is put into effect – from the actual sharing of knowledge and expertise and from witnessing the professionalism of partners.

Stimulating and engaging challenges – the programme should provide genuine opportunities to challenge participants. Programme events should be stimulating, offering varied learning experiences that require new ways of thinking, acting and problem-solving at different levels. This applies not only to the young people on the programme, but also to those who plan and deliver events. Boundaries and capabilities should be tested for all. Experimentation/trialling should be embedded. Appropriate levels of risk should be welcomed. Participants should be encouraged to ‘have a go’.

Setting high expectations – conveying high expectations to young people helps engender high levels of achievement.

A positive mindset – effective education programmes should impact on participants’ skills, capabilities, attitudes and perspectives on learning. A desirable outcome is that participants become more confident, resilient and motivated because of their involvement. Appropriately designed challenges and problem-solving opportunities engender a positive mindset in which belief in oneself and one’s own attributes is re-affirmed and reinforces motivation and aspiration.

Influential role models – the programme should include positive role models. These might be young industry professionals leading and facilitating classroom events, sharing their personal career pathways and experiences, or it might involve senior pupils acting as mentors to assist younger pupils’ learning. Role models can challenge traditional stereotypes (e.g. about gender, careers, black and minority ethnic background, disability and those who are care-experienced). Role models feature as part of the key recommendations in the Developing the Young Workforce Programme, where all materials and visits demonstrate the diversity of the workforce. (for guidance on improving e.g. the gender balance in STEM, see the suite of materials on Education Scotland’s National Improvement Hub. [Reference 5])

Parental engagement and building ‘science capital’ in STEM programmes – The Aspires Research programme [Reference 6] and Improving Science Participation programme [Reference 7] both reflect the importance of engaging with parents and families in STEM interventions. Parents and families are key influencers over young people’s subject and career choices and efforts to increase science capital within families and communities is crucial if we are to persuade increasing numbers of young people to pursue STEM careers. This research also points to other important findings such as the relatively young age at which many young people make career choices and how young people perceive STEM subjects as being only for the ‘very brainy’.

Adopting these principles and practices provides a foundation for creating effective education programmes. Genuinely collaborative partnerships between education and industry can be a catalyst for transforming approaches to learning. If this is combined with promoting a positive mindset that instils resilience, confidence and inquisitiveness, these programmes will contribute to developing a young workforce that is well-equipped to embrace the challenges of the future.

References

4 The concept of ‘science capital’ refers to “all of an individual’s science-related resources – their attitudes and understanding of science, science-related interests and activities and social contacts,” as defined in Archer, L., Dewitt, J., King, H. (2018), Improving Science Participation – Five evidence-based messages for policy-makers and funders, Available at:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/sites/ioe/files/improving-science-participation-policy-overview.pdf

5 Education Scotland, Improving Gender Balance 3-18. Available at:

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/Improving%20gender%20balance%203-18)

6 Aspires: Young People’s Science and Careers Aspirations, aged 10-14:

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/education/research/aspires/ASPIRES-final-report-December-2013.pdf

7 Improving Science Participation: Five evidence-based messages for policy-makers and funders:

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/education/research/aspires/ASPIRES-final-report-December-2013.pdf

References and bibliography

Archer, L., Dewitt, J., King, H., (2018), Improving Science Participation: Five evidence-based messages for policy-makers and funders, London: UCL Institute of Education – available at:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/sites/ioe/files/improving-science-participation-policy-overview.pdf

Dweck, C. (2006), Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, New York: Ballantine Books.

Education Scotland, Improving Gender Balance 3-18 – available at:

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/Improving%20gender%20balance%203-18)

Education Scotland/Smarter Scotland (2015), Developing the Young Workforce – School/Employer Partnerships, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government – available at:

https://education.gov.scot/documents/dyw_guidanceforschoolemployerpartnerships0915.pdf

Education Scotland/Smarter Scotland (2015), Developing the Young Workforce – Work Placements Standard, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government – available at:

https://education.gov.scot/documents/dyw_workplacementstandard0915.pdf

Education Scotland/Skills Development Scotland/Smarter Scotland (2015), Developing the Young Workforce – Career Education Standard (3-18), Livingstone: Education Scotland – available at:

https://education.gov.scot/Documents/dyw2-career-education-standard-0915.pdf

Education Scotland, What is Curriculum for Excellence? available at:

https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-thestatement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/What%20is%20Curriculum%20for%20Excellence

Education Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence – Experiences and Outcomes, available at:

https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-thestatement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes

Education Scotland (2019), Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks, available at:

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/Curriculum%20for%20Excellence%20Benchmarks

Education Scotland (2018), National Improvement Hub learning resources, available at:

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/practice-exemplars/dyw47-profiling-skills-and-achievements-in-the-context-ofcareer-education

Education Scotland (2019) Implementing the National Improvement Framework – available at:

https://education.gov.scot/what-we-do/Implementing the National Improvement Framework 

Enterprise & Skills Strategic Board (2018), Working Collaboratively for a Better Scotland – Strategic Plan, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/working-collaboratively-better-scotland/

King’s College London (2013), ASPIRES – Young people’s science and career aspirations, age 10 –14, London – available at:

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/education/research/aspires/ASPIRES-final-report-December-2013.pdf

Lowden, K., Hall, S., Lusk, D. and Van Amersfoort, D. (2018), Raising Aspirations in Science Education – Interim Evaluation Report, The University of Glasgow & The Robert Owen Centre for Education Change – available at:

https://www.thewoodfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/RAiSE-Interim-Report-ROC-29April18.pdf

The Scottish Government (2009), Curriculum for Excellence – Building the Curriculum 4: Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work, Edinburgh – available at:

https://education.gov.scot/Documents/btc4.pdf

The Scottish Government (2014), Developing the Young Workforce: Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/developing-young-workforce-scotlands-youth-employment-strategy/

The Scottish Government (2014), Education For All! Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce – Final Report, June, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/education-working-commission-developing-scotlandsyoung-workforce-final-report/

The Scottish Government (2016), Delivering Excellence and Equity in Scottish Education: A Delivery Plan for Scotland, June, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/delivering-excellence-equity-scottish-education-delivery-plan-scotland/

The Scottish Government (2017): Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: An Education and Training Strategy, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education-training-strategy-scotland/

The Scottish Government Learning Directorate (2017), STEM strategy: minister’s speech (Delivered by MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville – Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science), The Scottish Parliament: Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/stem-strategy-ministers-speech/

The Scottish Government (2018), Developing the Young Workforce: Fourth Annual Progress Report 2017-18, December, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/developing-young-workforce-fourth-annual-progress-report-2017-18/

The Scottish Government (2018) Economic Action Plan 2018-2020 – Supporting business, accelerating growth and prosperity for all, Edinburgh – available at:

https://economicactionplan.mygov.scot

The Scottish Government (2018), Fairer Scotland Action Plan: Progress Report 2018, December, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/fairer-scotland-action-plan-progress-report-2018/

The Scottish Government (2018) Formative Evaluation of the DYW Regional Groups – A report to the Scottish Government, June, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/formative-evaluation-dyw-regional-groups-report-scottish-government-june-2018/

The Scottish Government (2018), No One Left Behind: Review of Employability Services, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/one-left-behind-review-employability-services/

The Scottish Government (2018), Scottish expert advisory panel on the collaborative economy: evidence paper, January 2018, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-expert-advisory-panel-collaborative-economy-evidence-paper/

The Scottish Government (2018), State of the Economy: October 2018, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/state-economy/pages/12/

The Scottish Government (2019) National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan Summary Document, Edinburgh – available at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/2019-national-improvement-framework-improvement-plan-summarydocument/