STEM @ university contacts

As part of the Scottish Universities Deans of Science and Engineering education groups work to support Scottish Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in schools many Universities in Scotland have recently set up a single e-mail address for teachers who have STEM related enquiries. It is not expected that the person receiving the initial e-mail at the University will always give a direct response but it would be expected that they ensure a response is made from a related department within the University or to direct you to the appropriate contact within the University.
University of Aberdeen –
University of Abertay –
University of Dundee –
Glasgow Caledonian University –
University of the Highlands and Islands –
University of Glasgow –
University of Edinburgh –

For a brief overview of STEM study options within each University please refer to the following brief document. (Please always refer pupils to University prospectus and websites as this document may not always be up to date).
Please feel free to share this information with other colleagues in STEM departments.’

EDF Energy – Award winning Education Programme

EDF Energy has three main aims:

  • inspire young people to choose more sustainable life style
  • promote STEM as a career choice
  • demonstrate the importance of having low carbon energy supply

EDF have produced a variety of resources to support STEM education which can be accessed through The Pod

The most recent resource supports the WW1 centenary year.  

Many schools are looking at what the war meant for the country in 1914 and the impact it had on people’s lives at the time and in the following years.
Engage your learners using a power point presentation showing how electricity was used during both World Wars.

The slides describe how some of the equipment developed during the wars – such as radar and the enigma machine has gone on to shape our modern world.

Further information can be accessed through

Award for Leadership in Gaelic Medium Education (GME)

There are still a few places left on the Award for Leadership for those teaching in GME.  On this programme, you will gain a valuable insight into what it takes to be an effective leader.  This course gives an opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

The programme will be delivered in two sessions, 4 & 5 December  and 26 & 27 February on the Isle of Skye.  For more information and to apply, please contact Kate McArdle on 01463 238 088 or

Tackling bureaucracy in schools

This article by Education Scotland Chief Executive Bill Maxwell was published in The Herald on 4 November 2014.

As anyone with an interest in education will know, this past year has been hugely significant in the re-shaping of learning experiences for our young people as we continue to implement Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).  Teachers should be proud of the successes achieved in delivering the new National Qualifications whilst simultaneously delivering the highest number of Higher passes ever awarded. The scale of change has certainly been challenging, but I think we can all take heart that we are now seeing learners benefitting increasingly from a curriculum that will equip them better than ever before with the skills and knowledge they need in the modern world.

As we chart our way through the next stages of this journey, it will be vitally important that we keep our intended destination in focus. That means keeping the big picture of the overall aims of the CfE at the forefront of our plans. We have seen issues arise where there has been a tension between a natural desire for structure and reassurance through a period of change and the need to realise some of the key aims of CfE. This has been crystallised, for example, in instances of over-complex planning or assessment practices, standing in clear contrast with the core aim of CfE to create a learning environment in which teachers have more time to teach more flexibly, and pupils have more time to deepen their learning.

Two reports published by the government in the past year have set out recommendations for addressing this issue. We were able to respond quickly to these reports with a range of enhancements to the programme of national support being provided by the key national bodies. These were set out fully in an updated national implementation support plan, provided to all local authorities last month.  We all know, however, that action at local level, drawing on national support, is absolutely key to ensuring success. We know that the quality of support which local authorities and their headteachers provide to their schools has a huge influence on the experience of teachers, pupils and parents and so the national implementation plan also highlights a range of expected local actions. Further research into this issue will be considered by the Tackling Bureaucracy Working Group in the coming weeks.

I am determined Education Scotland will play our part in promoting effective implementation to the full.  It is extremely important that our inspectors are consistently challenging overly-bureaucratic approaches whenever they see them in schools. Where we do find them, we are offering practical assistance to schools and local authorities to help them revise their approaches. We have a growing range of good examples on our website to help schools learn from their counterparts elsewhere.

On the key issue of assessment, our assessment team, working closely with the SQA, has provided advice to support teachers’ understanding and confidence in the new process of assessment. We intend to continue to do this until every school in the country has a clear, simple, effective process in place matched to their curriculum model.

One of the challenges in any major change process can be navigating the increasing range of guidance and support which tends to accrue over time. That is why one of our priority actions over the last year has been the creation of an easily accessible online portal for advice and support materials, which guarantees easy and comprehensive access to the latest support available.

In the year ahead, we are continuing on a journey which will no doubt have its own challenges but I am confident that all the partners involved in this transformational reform programme are committed to ensuring its success. Teachers, parents, young people and the public at large can rest assured that if we stick to the task these changes have the potential to move our education system from being good to being truly great.