Aberdeenshire Council has committed to a partnership which will support improved STEM experiences for primary pupils across the region’s 151 schools.

Dr Kim Aplin has been appointed as Primary Science Development Officer (PSDO). This new role will lead upon professional learning, network, and partnership opportunities to bring STEM learning to life.

Aberdeenshire has embarked upon RAiSE (Raising Aspirations in Science Education), a programme of The Wood Foundation, Scottish Government, Education Scotland, and participating local authorities. The investment funds the PSDO posts and gives Aberdeenshire the opportunity to join a national network which has engaged 20 of Scotland’s local authorities to date.

Dr Kim Aplin, formerly Head Teacher at Cairney Primary School and known advocate for developing STEM education locally, said:

“I am delighted to be in post. Children absolutely love experimenting, having chances to be curious and figuring out how the world around them works. There is a lot that teachers need to deliver within the school day. It’s my role to realise how STEM can be a real asset for addressing many priorities, while developing the opportunities that really help to bring learning to life in Aberdeenshire.

“We know that many teachers lack confidence in STEM. It can be a daunting concept and be seen as a significant additional undertaking. I am looking forward to helping dispel many of the myths and make STEM fun and impactful for teachers and pupils alike.”

RAiSE supports teachers to develop the skills, networks, and confidence to develop and deliver motivating and engaging STEM learning experiences which align with local priorities, as well as national drivers.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, said:

“As an authority, we know developing a STEM skills pipeline is incredibly important in terms of our economic future. There are many benefits in getting young people engaged with STEM from an early age. We are pleased to receive this funding and join a network which can support our practitioners to really excite and engage our learners.”

Laura McCafferty, National Education Officer leads the RAiSE programme. She said:

“It is wonderful to continue expanding our network and to welcome Aberdeenshire. There is a lot of great work to build upon and we’re looking forward to developing a plan which reflects the local needs and context of Aberdeenshire.”

The PSDO post is funded for a period of two years.

Kim can be contacted at kim.aplin@aberdeenshire.gov.uk. Follow @AbshireSTEM on twitter for more information.