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

March NQ Science Update

Nominations for the next three rounds of cross authority working groups are due by 5pm on Monday 10th of March. If you’re interested in attending please contact your local authority organiser.

Glow TV events:

Ask the Expert – Neil Kermode      11 March 10.30       http://bit.ly/1g9zh90

As part of the Get Energised with the ScottishPower Foundation project, this series of broadcasts from the National Museum of Scotland will help N4/5 students in STEM subjects to learn more about renewables in Scotland. Hear from leading experts in the field and ask them about their work. 

Past papers identified by Education Scotland and SQA as appropriate for N5 Biology have been collated and shared by Invergordon Academy. These are posted on the Sciences Glow 365 site.

Geneious software suitable for case studies, a free download suitable for case studies in the Genome key area of DNA and the Genome unit at cfe Higher Biology is available from.


A free online Environmental Studies textbook, Earth’s Dynamic Systems is available at http://earthds.info/ particularly good for Geosphere, Hydrosphere etc.

 Dave Edwards from the Open University asked Education Scotland to publicise this MOOC.

The OU’s free Moons MOOC is at; https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/moons  and I am gearing up to facilitate some of the discussion.  It starts on 17 March.

We envisage it taking around 3 hours per week, for the eight week presentation.

Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre have a S1-3 poster competition running currently, copies can be downloaded from their website under secondary education – ttp://www.abdn.ac.uk/biodiversity/education/secondary/cfe-support/

Family Learning in Perth and Kinross: A Local Authority Case Study

Education Scotland in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council set up a project to explore the issues around, and identify current practice in, family learning within a local authority. Family learning is seen as a powerful method of learning which can challenge educational disadvantage, promote socio-economic resilience and foster positive attitudes towards lifelong learning. The project team wanted to identify family learning in different contexts (both rural and urban), and see if there was a consistent, needs-led approach being taken towards engagement and learning.

A report has now been published on the Education Scotland website outlining the findings of this project along with case studies reflecting current practice within this area. For more information and to download this report follow the link below.

Family Learning in Perth and Kinross: A Local Authority Case Study