STEM Education and Training Strategy for Scotland has now been published
A STEM (Sciences Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics) Education and Training Strategy was launched in the Scottish Parliament last week by Ms Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science. The Strategy, together with a STEM Evidence Base Report, is now available to download from: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/10/1386/downloads
A central focus on the strategy is to enable everyone to develop STEM skills for learning, for life and for work. It provides a new emphasis on career pathways within STEM sectors and to grow successful partnerships between schools and employers through the Developing the Young Workforce Programme. The strategy also includes a commitment to expand Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeship Programmes to enable many to pursue jobs and careers in STEM through these pathways. This strong focus on skills and careers will further enhance national efforts to Develop the Young Workforce (DYW) and embed employment and career management skills in the curriculum through the Career Education Standard.
A wide variety and resources including exemplars around DYW and STEM can be accessed on the National Improvement Hub here.
The Institute for Engineering and Technology (ITE) has launched a campaign entitled ‘Engineering Work Experience for All’ in order to raise awareness of the value of high quality, practical work placements in helping to develop future engineers with the practical skills they need for the workplace.
According to the IET 2016 Skills and Demand in Industry report, 62 per cent of engineering employers say graduates don’t have the right skills for today’s workplace, while 68 per cent are concerned that the education system will struggle to keep up with the skills required for technological change. To address these growing concerns over skills gaps in the engineering workforce, particularly among graduates and school leavers, 91 per cent of companies agreed that more employers need to provide work experience for those in education or training.
In response to these statistics, the IET has launched the Engineering Work Experience for All campaign to champion the need for more employers and universities to collaborate to offer quality work experience to engineering students. The campaign is designed to rally employers, universities, Government and students to make a range of different, quality work experience opportunities more widespread.
FUTURE AS5ET – A one day free conference for S5 schoolgirls, open to all secondary schools in Scotland.
22 September 2017, Edinburgh International Conference Centre
The organisers, financial education charity Didasko and various investment management firms coordinated by Stewart Investors, are especially keen to encourage attendance of schools from outside Edinburgh,. They are offering generous financial contributions towards travel for schools based outside of Midlothian area, and accommodation for those located more than 100 miles away.
The conference programme offers a wide range of seminars and key note presentation from inspirational speakers all around career opportunities in the financial sector.
A blog by Lorna Harvey, Acting Senior Education Officer
for Numeracy and Mathematics
Last year ( August 2016), we published draft Benchmarks for literacy and English and for numeracy and mathematics with the aim of providing clarity on the national standards expected at each level of the Broad General Education. We wanted to make clear what learners need to know and what they need to be able to do to progress through the levels, and to provide guidance that would support consistency in teachers’ and other practitioners’ professional judgements.
By publishing the Benchmarks in draft, we wanted to ensure we had time to consult with the very people who would be using the Benchmarks. We were committed to developing guidance that would hit the mark and achieve our aim of providing clarity.
From the outset we were keen to hear from as many practitioners as possible and we wanted to make sure anyone wishing to provide feedback felt confident that they could be as open and honest as they wished. To achieve that we set up an anonymous online consultation, but we also planned a number of face-to-face sessions allowing for more depth to our discussions and the opportunity for people to ask questions.
A number of National Network events provided opportunities for practitioners from across Scotland to contribute to this consultation process. This included the National Literacy Network, the National Numeracy Network and the Principal Teacher/Faculty Head Forum for Mathematics. Colleagues from SQA were involved in many of these discussions.
Some people decided to get together with colleagues and offer suggestions, while others wanted to provide their individual response. Whichever way people chose to provide feedback, it was extremely valuable. It was great to receive insight based on practitioners’ engagement with the Benchmarks in their education setting.
Together with my colleagues across Education Scotland , I worked on collating the results and analysing the feedback before making relevant changes to the Benchmarks. A number of stakeholders had offered to be involved in further consultation so we shared the updated Benchmarks and gathered more feedback as part of the process.
And then we had them. The final Benchmarks, shaped by practitioners and providing the clarity that we had been aiming for. A real collaborative effort.
We have now published the Benchmarks on our National Improvement Hub and would encourage practitioners to familiarise themselves with the documents before they begin using them in their setting. It’s also worth having a look at the ‘change’ documents we developed which clearly show where changes have been made from the drafts. There is also a frequently asked questions document.
We have uploaded a broadcast on the National Numeracy and Mathematics Hub which provides background information, advice and guidance on using the Benchmarks. The majority of this broadcast is relevant for all practitioners and there is a specific numeracy and mathematics input also. This broadcast could be used at an In-Service day in August to raise awareness of the Benchmarks and support professional discussion and planning.
We will be providing seminars at the Scottish Learning Festival in September as well as a Yamjam – where practitioners are invited to engage in an online discussion about the Benchmarks.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the practitioners who supported the consultation process, working with us and engaging with the drafts to provide valuable feedback to help shape the final documents
Frank Devine, SDS Careers Adviser at Uddingston Grammar School, tells us more about a recent event supporting teachers to encourage young people to consider STEM careers. ‘We understand the influential role teachers play in young people’s careers choices.
Part of our role as Scotland’s national careers service is to ensure we work closely with, and support teachers to, offer the support young people need to make informed career decisions. That was the main driver behind our recent Career Gap event. Working with South Lanarkshire Council’s Developing the Young Workforce co-ordinator as well as a group of local teachers, our aim was to give teachers across the area help to support pupils to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
More than 50 attended, from 18 local area secondary schools.
By tapping in to the wealth of expertise and knowledge on offer across SDS, we were able to offer a full day programme looking at the subject from a variety of angles – equalities, career management skills and employer need.
Our National Training Programmes team supported the day to raise awareness of the ways unconscious bias could be stopping some pupils, especially young women, progressing in STEM.
They brought in Improving Gender Balance Scotland project officer Charlotte Govan to give some cold hard numbers on subject uptake, and the impact that has further down on employment, as well as practical ways of combatting unconscious bias.
Our employer team helped to put us in touch with employers and apprentices to tell teachers their stories, offer ideas on support that could be helpful to pupils now, and talk about what it’s really like to work in STEM industries. BT, BAE and Scotland Energy and Utility Skills all attended on the day.
My colleague Donna Robertson and I were able to give more information on career management skills, career long professional learning modules we offer, the support resources available to teachers via My World of Work and more detail on SDS careers services in schools.
All the teachers who attended took away packs with more information on the support SDS offers, and we’ll be creating further lesson plans and resources to share with all the teachers who attended.
This wasn’t just a chance at CPD for teachers, but offered us the chance to develop the skills of young people from the area too. Recent graduate Stephen Benedetti lent his sound engineer skills for the podium and round table mics, and sixth year Uddingston pupil Adam McKibben snapped pictures for us on the day which were used on the SDS website and social media.
Partnership working was key to the success of the event, as it is to all the work SDS is involved in.
Donna and I are really proud of the strength of the partnerships we have here in South Lanarkshire. We work closely with all members of the school staff, including subject teachers, pastoral care teachers and the senior management team, the local authority and with partner organisations working within education and with our customers across the area.
It’s those strong partnerships that allow us to stage not just major one-off events like this, but to ensure day-to-day we are offering the best service we can to our customers.
If you want to find out more about the support SDS can offer teachers, speak to your school careers adviser for latest information and events and find out about support resources we offer at My World of Work here.
You can also access CLPL modules on the Career Education Standard, labour market information, career management skills and My World of Work at this page.
Road Safety Scotland have developed a suite of free road safety learning resources for specific age groups from 3-18 years, with a view to developing responsible road use among young people. All their resources link to Curriculum for Excellence, incorporating experiences and outcomes in health and wellbeing; literacy and English; maths and numeracy, and many other subject areas.
The resources offer different learning styles to engage teachers and learners, and make the learning appropriate, relevant and challenging at every level, and may also help maintain the important link between school and home, allowing key road safety messages to be shared throughout the wider community. You can now access the online resources through the App Library available in Glow.
Are you looking for creative ways to develop children and young people’s learning about the world of work?
To inspire you have a look at our Interesting Practice area that highlights the many creative ways schools like Broxburn Academy are providing opportunities for young people around entrepreneurship and enterprise.
Interesting practice exemplars from Fife Council
The Raytheon Quadcopter Challenge is a partnership between the Council and Raytheon UK. The programme brings STEM Ambassadors from Raytheon UK to deliver lessons in classrooms to second year pupils, on a variety of engineering topics, bringing contextualised learning to young people. Another great example from Fife is The Enterprise Game. The game is a developmental tool helping pupils to learn about business. Initially created as a board game, it allows young people to use their entrepreneurial skills to make, sell and deliver products to customers around the board. It has been customised to incorporate the names of many major employers throughout Fife which helps players to increase their understanding not just of enterprise, but of the wider Fife economy.
If you would like support to embed enterprise within your school’s curriculum Scotland’s Enterprising Schools can help. Have a look at our resource area for ideas or contact us to arrange for a member of our team to get in touch with you. You can also expand your knowledge around enterprise and get support to embed the Developing the Young Workforce strategy by attending one of the freetwilight professional learning sessions we are delivering across Scotland. You should hear about these opportunities from your Local Authority shortly. The next sessions will be held as follows:
Fife Twilight Session (venues and times tbc):
26th April 2017 – West Fife
2nd May 2017 – Central Fife
8th May 2017 – North East Fife
Aberdeen City Twilight Session (venue and time tbc): 10th May 2017
Inverness All Day event (for senior leaders) at Smithton-Culloden Free Church – 1st June 2017
If you would like more information about these sessions or opportunities in your area please contact us.
The Big Bang Near Me programme plays a vital role in inspiring the UK’s future scientists and engineers at a regional, local and school level. We encourage more people to take these subjects, as well as celebrating young people’s achievements in science and engineering through displaying their STEM projects and letting them talk with engineers and scientists, face to face.
The UK needs many more scientists and engineers and equipping young people with skills in science, technology, engineering and maths is key to their future employability. Students attending a Near Me fair really enjoy themselves too – with nine out of ten rating the event they attended as “good” or “very good”.
Zones will include:
Food and Drink
Science and Maths
Career Zone – Companies to provide careers advise in their sector.
15 minute presentation slots available to address small groups of young people.
There will also be a chance to experience a selection of STEM challenges available to schools including the ‘turbo charged’ National Final of the Bloodhound Scotland Rocket Car Challenge and Scottish Big Bang Competition final.
The ability to work with numbers is an essential part of being financially capable. This has been recognised recently in a number of support materials recently published by Education Scotland. The first of these is the National Numeracy and Progression Framework. This includes a progression pathway on money (linked to the experiences and outcomes for money in Curriculum for Excellence) One of the key aspects of this framework is the concept of understanding finance in a digital world.
As well this there is also a set of benchmarks that will support teachers in assessing learning. These Benchmarks were published in August 2016 as draft documents. There is currently an online consultation which can be accessed via the National Improvement Hub. This consultation will close on 31.3.17 and the final Benchmarks will be published in June 2017.
There are many activities that will support young people’s learning across a number of different levels to ensure that financial education can provide memorable experiences and powerful messages. In a number of practical situations the following opportunities can be provided
investigating value for money
deciding on costings for design and manufacture
discussing types of bank cards and costs involved
designing coins/notes – shapes, patterns, etc
taking part in money games
investigating exchange rates
discussing various methods of payment and costs involved
using tally sheets and producing graphs/pictograms
engaging with money transactions – different combinations of coins and notes
using Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and other ‘money’ machines
In addition to this engaging with numeracy and mathematics helps young people make the jump from dealing with concrete examples to the much more abstract nature of ‘money in the digital age’.
Much has been done over the past ten years or so to improve the quality and quantity of the financial education delivered in our schools. This has been achieved by working across the financial, education and cultural sectors to raise the status and profile of financial education but also to improve the confidence of teachers to address the issues in this area of the curriculum. The main reasons for a continued focus on financial education are the ever changing economic, political, social and environmental issues that continue to have a wide-ranging impact on all our lives. These contexts are a central feature of ‘learning for sustainability’ . Financial education has an important role in tackling poverty, reducing financial and social exclusion and improving the employability skills of all our young people. This will benefit both the individual and society in general.
Financial education is about helping young people meet the financial and economic challenges, now and particularly in ‘post-Brexit Britain’. The best way to do this to make sure they receive powerful messages about money and their experiences in and out of the classroom are memorable. Economics, politics and philosophy are at the heart of the development of financial capability underpinned by numeracy and literacy skills. It should be recognised that developing financial skills will make a contribution to an individual’s economic wellbeing which in turn improves physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. Issues such as
High levels of personal debt (including student debt)
Increasingly sophisticated financial products
Pay day and other high cost lending
‘Food banks’ and increasing levels of poverty
High pressure advertising particularly around gambling
Probable increase and fluctuations in interest rates
Changes to taxes and benefits
mean that there is an even greater need for individuals to take a much more active and informed interest in their own financial futures. Low levels of financial capability can be a cause and a symptom of poverty with the resulting impact on all aspects of health and wellbeing. It is really important that schools work with a range of stakeholders including credit unions to improve the financial skills of our young people.