Talk with us…improving sciences education 3-18 conversation days

Now that we are into the second half of January we are setting in motion our planning for the second of our series of face-to-face conversation days about improving sciences education 3-18 in Scotland.

We were delighted to be joined on our first day in December by young people and parents, practitioners from early years, primary, secondary and special schools, representatives from further and higher education, and a range of partners, with representation from a wide range of geographical areas across Scotland.

Following presentations from young people and practitioners, delegates joined in discussion in groups to review the key strengths and aspects for development from the Sciences 3-18 Curriculum Area Impact Project report. Groups were asked to consider, what are the priorities for transforming sciences education over the next 3 to 5 years? Groups discussed key priorities for sciences education, reflecting on the report’s findings and on their own views.

The priorities identified, in the delegates’ own words, included:

Planning for high-quality learning and teaching

The need for high-quality learning and teaching leading to highly-motivated children and young people. Within this priorities were given as: implementing planning which ensures a coherent curriculum and seamless learning from 3-18, across transitions at all stages, within levels, across sectors and from broad general education (BGE) to senior phase, with communication to ensure effective progression and taking account of prior learning; ensuring all practitioners plan learning across the four aspects of the curriculum, including interdisciplinary learning; ensuring BGE continues until the end of S3 in secondary schools; regular feedback to children and young people, and as part of planning for learning, so that they know how to improve their learning and know what success looks like; building confidence in assessing progress in the sciences in the BGE and towards qualifications; supporting young people in making successful transitions to positive and sustained destinations with the right skills including  literacy, numeracy and scientific skills.

Confidence of practitioners

Boosting the confidence of every / any practitioner teaching the sciences in the broad general education, and in all sectors. Giving colleagues the confidence to share courses and programmes, developing ideas and work.

Professional learning

Highly-skilled professionals and leadership at all levels. Professional development of practitioners in post being updated and monitored through robust systems which encourage and ensure participation. High-quality professional learning linked to personal and departmental improvement plans. Professional learning to support practitioners in developing knowledge and understanding of relevance and purpose of learning in the sciences, linked to transferable skills.


Developing genuine partnerships with parents, industry, colleges


Sciences for all, through a motivating and challenging curriculum. We need to ensure that all learners are aware of strengths and recognise successes to keep them engaged with the sciences throughout and beyond school.

In the afternoon session, groups selected one of the priorities to explore in more depth, using the Implento tool. Almost all groups chose the same issue – raising confidence of practitioners teaching sciences in the broad general education – and through the afternoon sessions identified actions to help achieve this were discussed.

The groups’ conversations, and those from future conversation days, will be instrumental in helping us to shape our priorities for the forthcoming sessions, to help us all work together to achieve transformational change in sciences 3-18 education in Scotland.

Our second face-to-face conversation day will take place in Spring 2013, with further conversations planned for Summer 2013. If you are interested in participating, or in hosting a conversation day please contact Lisi Kama (

You can find out more about the first of the conversation days on this blog:

Talk with us…about what makes a good science teacher

Talk with us…improving science education 3-18 conversation days

Talk with us…about inspiring girls in STEM

Talk with us…about sharing practice

Talk with us…about exemplification

Education Scotland has licensed the Transition Leadership tools and the Three Horizons toolkit for the specific and sole purpose of improving Scottish Education and the partner services that support it. We are delighted to have partnered the following people and organisations in this venture: Executive Arts Inc.; James R. Ewing, ForthRoad Ltd.; International Futures Forum and Graham Leicester.