YPI Scotland

East Renfrewshire Council has appointed a Primary Science Development Officer (PSDO) to lead upon the development of STEM learning in primary schools across the area.

Caroline Collins has joined the national RAiSE network of PSDOs.

RAiSE (Raising Aspirations in Science Education) is a programme of The Wood Foundation, Scottish Government, Education Scotland, and participating local authorities which empowers primary practitioners with the confidence, skills, and networks to develop and deliver motivating and engaging STEM experiences.

Laura McCafferty, National Education Officer for RAiSE, said:

“It is a pleasure to welcome East Renfrewshire to our network as we expand our footprint throughout Scotland.

“In our collective drive to become a STEM nation, we firmly believe that stoking the natural curiosity of our youngest learners can inspire them with the confidence to continue their love of STEM through their education and beyond.

“To do that we need teachers with access to the right training, resources, support, and opportunities to bring STEM to life in their classrooms. RAiSE lays these foundations in a very local way, supported by a national network and strategy.”

Mark Ratter, East Renfrewshire Council Director of Education, said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to appoint a Primary Science Development Officer to further enhance the educational offer we provide for our pupils. STEM learning is hugely important for all our pupils and by increasing the opportunities in this area we are setting our pupils up for success, both now and in the future.”

Twenty-two of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have now benefitted from the investment which funds the secondment of PSDOs for a two-year period to develop a strategy, action plan, build networks and partnerships, develop resources, and deliver professional learning, acting as a central point of contact for STEM learning locally.

Caroline Collins said:

“From my time as a teacher, I know just how important it is to identify high-quality training, resources, and partnerships which bring the curriculum to life in a very accessible way. With so many competing priorities, STEM can be seen as an add-on. It is our role to showcase that it can in fact be a driver to achieve a range of priorities, while really playing to children’s natural enthusiasm to figure out the world around them.

“I am really looking forward to better understanding the needs of East Renfrewshire teachers and working together to realise opportunities which support improved STEM experiences for our young people.”

Through recent surveying, more than 80% of practitioners said the programme challenged pupils in their learning, and that they had received support for developing pupils’ skills for learning, life, and work. They also said pupils’ aspirations had increased and that they had received support to build their own confidence, skills, and knowledge of STEM.