Sciences Conversation Day 2

Delegates attending our second conversation day at Bishopbriggs Academy identified four priority theme for sciences:

  1. Equity in education – science for all
  2. The importance of planning across school clusters
  3. Career long professional learning and support for practitioners
  4. Partnerships

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views regarding the fourth priority which addressed partnerships.

Delegates viewed that:

  • Need to ensure STEM is added to local authority plans as a priority, with weight added by national government:
  • Competing demands of secondary schools is a particular issue – work on new national qualifications is a priority
  • Schools have been getting to grips with some of the key aspects of CfE, including the ‘responsibility of all’ areas
  • East Dunbartonshire had offered a presentation on the 3-18 Sciences report to its schools, which had then prompted primary schools to integrate sciences into their planning.
    • Need to consolidate all of our efforts and join up our business (especially in the context of dwindling resources).
    • Partnerships tend to depend on postcode lottery – need coherent approach and consistency across the country.
    • Partners should move towards provision of long-term support – in some areas they are already queuing up to be involved. They also need to move from promoting their own interests to promoting a common purpose.
    • Activity with partners still tends to be an add-on – we need to embed it within learning.
    • The business case is compelling but is not being communicated in terms of the impact on children.
    • We need to celebrate success stories from the STEM Ambassador network for instance.
    • Teachers are a vital source of career information but their knowledge about jobs in science in inconsistent – we need to address this.
    • It is important that everyone has a sense of the existing landscape – the new SSAC Coordinator can help with this task. This will bring coherence and a sense of common purpose to our activities.
    • Education Scotland has a role to help make connections between schools, partners and different organisations and needs to consider the validation or endorsement of providers.
    • We need to consider the role of specialists to support STEM activity within clusters:
      • Connection with STEM  Ambassadors
      • Work with the science centres and HE
      • Ensuring partnerships are meaningful and not ‘one-off’ – they should dovetail with on-going learning.
  • The example of the Department of Geosciences at Edinburgh University was cited as a model for partnership working – final year undergraduate students have been working with a school cluster. The schools have gained but also the university students have gained too in terms of employability skills, communication skills etc. This work provides them with 20 credits towards their degree qualification.

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