Tag Archives: Parental Involvement

Education Scotland STEM Conversation Day, May 12th

STEM Conversation Day

09:30 – 15:00, Monday 12th May 2014    

Venue: Optima Building, 58 Robertson Street, Glasgow

Education Scotland would like to invite you to take part in the Stem  Conversation Day.

The day will commence with a presentation about STEM, followed by four discussion activities exploring STEM in education.

 If you wish to attend please contact Louise Morton, STEM Development Officer at Louise.Morton@educationscotland.gov.uk

 You may find it useful to familiarise yourself with some of the documentation relating to Science, Technologies and Mathematics, all online at Education Scotland.

Royal Institution Summer Schools

Running throughout July and August, The Royal Institution Summer Schools bring to life all areas of science, mathematics, computing and engineering.

With over 50 sessions to choose from, covering topics from climate change to acoustics, earthquakes to rocket science, forensics to 3D printing, crash-testing to ancient history, there is something for everyone.

The two week long Summer Schools, ‘Computer-based mathematics’ start on Monday 28th July and ‘Introduction to robotics’ starts on Monday 11th August.

Booking is now open and places can be booked online via the Ri’s What’s On calendar or by calling our Public Programmes team on 020 7409 2992.

Please read on for just a snapshot of the different activities on offer.


Bucksburn Academy Conversation Day 4

Delegates attending our fourth conversation day at Bucksburn Academy identified three key themes for improving science education.

Discussions focussed on:

 Priorities for sciences education

Identifying partnerships that work

 What does great learning in the sciences look like?

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views regarding the third theme, addressing what great learning in the sciences looks like.

What does great learning in the sciences look like?

Science education is important for every child and not just for those who may be headed toward a scientific or technical career.

Great learning in the sciences encourages young people to make sense of the world around them, to be scientifically literate. It develops skills enabling them to analyse, evaluate, think critically, justify conclusions and be creative and innovative; skills required to thrive and succeed in an increasingly globalised and technological society.

Delegates identified factors contributing to great learning in the sciences:

  • relevant and purposeful (real life) teaching through engaging activities, which occur in and out of the classroom environment
  • learning environment has motivated and enthusiastic teachers and pupils
  • lessons have variety, depth, challenge and are interactive, delivered by inspirational teachers with a passion and enthusiasm for the subject and who convey a love of learning
  • consistent and firm discipline
  • learners are taught the skills they need through a variety of methodologies e.g. active, visual, audio and concepts are revisited in  different ways
  • progression is evident                                 
  • subjects are interlinked and connected
  • great learning is different in different schools and classes, and good teachers are still learning.

The final part of this discussion addressed the question, how do we get it right for every child and young person?  Delegates’ suggestions included:

  • good communication between primary and secondary
  • establish where the “starting point” for every child is and identify children who need to extend their knowledge
  • ensure learners feel safe enough to ask for help/guidance
  • quality provision must be evident all the time
  • teaching should be delivered in different order/style depending on the needs of the learner.

National Science Engineering Week 14th–23rd March 2014

National Science & Engineering Week (NSEW) is a ten-day national programme of science, technology, engineering and maths events and activities across the UK aimed at people of all ages.

Anyone can organise an event or activity and the British Science Association supports organisers by providing:

Activity packs

National school poster competition

Mass participation in Flusurvey project

Case studies

How to guides

Our new activity packs include: 

Explore the future- for primary schools

Community garden challenge – for secondary schools 

Get engineering II – in partnership with Engineering UK (coming up)

Cracking chemistry, in partnership with Royal Society of Chemistry

This year organisers can celebrate anything related to science, technology, engineering and maths. The sky is the limit!

However, for schools, Explore the Future will be the common theme across competitions, new resources and online projects, to encourage teachers and other educators to look forward to the world their students will lead.

For further information :


Bucksburn Conversation Day

Delegates attending our fourth conversation day at Bucksburn Academy identified three key themes for improving science education.

Discussions focussed on:

  1.  Priorities for sciences education
  2. Identifying partnerships that work
  3. What does great learning in the sciences look like?

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views regarding the second theme which addressed identifying partnerships that work.

Identifying partnerships that work

Delegates identified various partner organisations that they were engaging with including subsea 7, forest rangers, ABC, mentoring John Lewis, STEM ambassadors, car safety, BP renewable, Forvie Nature reserve, university medical students, Zoo lab, forensic scientists, “curious about chemistry”. Learners at Bucksburn Academy had also set up a programme of advanced level lunchtime lectures in relation to STEM.

Delegates put forward suggestions for successful partnership working. It was agreed that this had to be mutually beneficial, providing support, resources and expertise for the school, whilst meeting the business needs of the organisation. In addition delegates highlighted the following:

  • organisation must provide support in the classroom and visit the school (not the other way)
  • partnerships should be innovative, curriculum led, embedded in the curriculum
  • personnel involved are enthusiastic individuals with a willingness to commit extra time to establish short/long term working relationship
  • investment and funding through the partnership provides opportunities for all

Delegates identified areas of partnership working which they regarded as requiring further development:

  • not enough organisations/partnerships to support early years
  • more visiting scientists lecturing at a high level – aspirations needed to be raised
  • speakers need to be able to pitch talk at right level for young people
  • mixture of input needed for different levels of interest required

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views. Click on the title of this blog post to leave a comment

Sciences Conversation Day 4

Following the publication of the updated 3-18 Curriculum Impact Report for Sciences in October 2013, Education Scotland hosted a series of conversation days to engage stakeholders in discussions around the findings of the report and to collectively identify priorities for action to secure improvements in science education nationally.

The fourth conversation day took place in Bucksburn Academy, Aberdeen, on 12th December 2013 and brought together around 40 participants from the local authority, Satrosphere Science Centre, Aberdeen University and representatives from industry, universities and schools. Delegates heard presentations from Kittybrewster Primary School, Bucksburn Academy, Glaxo Smith Kline and the University of Aberdeen.

Following the welcome presentation participants split into small discussion groups to identify the key priorities for improving science education. Discussions focussed on three themes:

  1. Priorities for sciences education
  2. Identifying partnerships that work
  3. What does great learning in the sciences look like?

 Priorities for sciences education


Delegates recognised:

  • initiatives have been undertaken to address the gap in attainment however more was required to ensure those from the most deprived backgrounds are not disadvantaged further by their educational experience
  • the importance of support at home which had to be encouraged through good communication between parents and staff
  • developing good numeracy and literacy skills in primary helped access the sciences curriculum. This did not appear to be continuing at secondary, why?


Delegates suggested:

  • local authorities should lead and coordinate science in all sectors. They should be providing early years and primary teachers with high quality, sustained science CPD opportunities
  • every primary school should have a science coordinator/nominated teacher with responsibility for science.


  • Delegates highlighted the lack of confidence in science knowledge and expertise which can affect learning and teaching in the primary sector.
  • Practitioners are fully aware of the  importance of  bringing the real world into the classroom to motivate and engage learners and believe this can be achieved if they have access to relevant,  high quality CPD and are given time to commit to CPD.
  • Authorities should provide financial support to assist practitioners in accessing resources to facilitate and support their teaching.
  • In the primary sector qualified teachers in the STEM subjects would be advantageous

Cluster working

  • Delegates viewed that early years, primary and secondary colleagues should work as a team and there should be greater use of cross – sector links e.g. primary pupils should be invited to the secondary science club

Learners attending the conversation day highlighted the areas they regarded as being the key priorities in sciences education:

  • key to accessing the sciences curriculum is the relationship between learner and teacher and good communication ­– they needed to feel confident about asking for help
  • active learning in the sciences should be a priority
  • Practical activities helped engage learners and develop higher order thinking skills
  • homework should be relevant to the learning at the time and coordinated better between departments to avoid overloading learners
  • learning through real life contexts is extremely important
  • practitioners had to address the variety of learning styles and offer a variety of teaching experiences to engage and motivate pupils.


Delegates highlighted a number of concerns relating to the secondary sector which they viewed as being key priorities in teaching the sciences:

  •  inadequate amount of time to deliver content within the new CfE qualifications – the issue of pace in learning and teaching has to be addressed to avoid putting learners under pressure
  • sequencing of teaching is a concern
  • Timescales for publishing of guidance documentation, support materials and resources has to be brought forward
  • Examples of assessments and tracking for the broad general education would be helpful
  • Difficulties of teaching N4 and N5 in the same class
  • Clarification is still required with regards to some aspects of assessment within the new national qualifications
  • Can universities help with the added value units?
  • Address gender bias within subjects – must address the image of  women in the sciences to get more girls to take physics.

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views. Click on the title of this blog post to leave a comment.

Calling all young Citizen Scientists!


The British Science Association are delighted to be partnering with EDF Energy for year one of their five year citizen science programme, The Great EDF Energy Experiment. In collaboration with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, we will be inviting schools and families to take part in the Big Bumblebee Discovery, to help scientists understand more about bumblebees across the UK.
This nationwide project will be a huge opportunity for kids to get hands-on experience of conducting scientific research, and we’ve linked up with the Pod to provide loads of free educational resources and activities.

Find out more

Let science into your heart with the Edinburgh International Science Festival

Edinburgh International Science Festival 2014 celebrates ‘Science at the Heart of Everything’, inviting audiences of all ages to discover the science all around us over two weeks from 5th – 20th April:

  • GastroFest – a mini-festival about the science of food and drink
  • Making It – a celebration of Maker culture and DIY Science
  • Scotland Decides – a series examining the political questions shaping our scientific future
  • Science at the HeART of Things – an exhibition and installation programme showcasing artists inspired by science
  • The Reading Experiment – a campaign celebrating science writing in all its forms
  • Summerhall announced as major new venue partner, hosting a brand new programme of events for all ages
  • Prof Mary Abukutsa-Onyango announced as recipient of the Edinburgh Medal 2014 
  • Last year’s Edinburgh Medal recipient and Nobel Prize winner Prof Peter Higgs to appear in discussion, one of many leading scientists and speakers visiting the Festival

Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Director of Edinburgh International Science Festival, said: “This year’s Science Festival will see hundreds of the best and brightest minds in science and technology gather in Edinburgh to debate and celebrate some of the biggest, and sometimes controversial ideas in science. For two weeks the city becomes the perfect melting pot for discussion, as we explore the ideas that place science smack-bang at the centre of all of our lives”.

The 2014 programme unlocks the many ways in which we are unquestionably connected to science and technology. With events examining the science in food and drink, politics, art and literature, and even DIY, audiences can discover science in new ways and surprising places, question the ever-increasing prominence of technology in our lives and how this shapes all aspects of our society.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival runs from Saturday 5 to Sunday 20 April 2014. Full details of the 2014 programme can be found at www.sciencefestival.co.uk. Tickets for all events can be booked online via the website or through the Box Office on 0844 557 2686 from 11am Thursday 13 February 2014.

Scotland’s Environment Web competition, closing date extended until 31st March 2014

The Youth Discussion competition is still open; why not enter this weekend for a chance to win a unique prize?

What is the competition about?

What needs to change in your local community that will make a difference to your environment and what role can you play in making it happen?

We want you to answer the question and tell us how you can make your environment better.

Gillian from Keep Scotland Beautiful explains the prize they are offering – with a little help from her furry friends!  vimeo.com/84878949.  

Who can enter?

The competition is open to all young people throughout Scotland between the ages of 5-18 whether through your school, as part of a group or as an individual. Prizes to be won include a backstage tour of the Hydro, tickets to the Irn Bru Carnival 2014/2015 and the Teen Drive electric car event at Knockhill and gadgets like tablets!

 Get your entry in soon and don’t miss out!

Safer Internet Day 2014


If you could ask Facebook, Twitter, Xbox or BT a question, what would it be?

Do you want to know what Xbox game ratings mean? Not sure how to report abusive comments on Twitter? Do you know how to set parental controls in your home provided by your ISP?

Through Safer Internet Day TV you can now ask these questions directly of the people, who make these decisions. We have a panel of experts from Facebook, Twitter, Xbox & BT who will be answering questions about keeping children and families safe on the internet on 30 January in Belfast! The film will become part of our SIDtv programme on Safer Internet Day, 11 February 2014.

We are calling parents, carers and grandparents to send in their questions to be answered by these experts, who are involved directly in shaping privacy, safety and content rating features on Facebook, Twitter, Xbox & BT in the UK.

To see your questioned answered, just tune in to SIDtv on 11 February from 3 pm or 7 pm at www.saferinternetdaytv.com

To send your question email sidtv@saferinternet.org.uk BY 23 JANUARY! Just state your first name and how old your children/ grandchildren are and we will try and respond to as many questions as we can.

SIDtv will have special programmes for young children and young people aged 11 -16 too on the day, so encourage them to tune in too to find out more about being safe on the internet! www.saferinternet.org.uk

Join the Safer Internet Day supporters list
Join the Thunderclap – register now to join the tweet campaign on #SID2014