Comment by Ali MacLachlan, UK Director of The Wood Foundation
“The world is changing at an incredible pace. It has been estimated that two-thirds of today’s primary pupils will work in jobs that don’t yet exist*.
“How can young people be prepared? How can they learn the skills necessary for their own personal success and to ensure societal economic prosperity? How can we invest in education which will have enduring relevance in an ever-changing world?
“We strongly believe that inspiring and motivating young people and giving them the space to create, innovate and discover is central to developing them as the workforce, changemakers and contributing members of society of the future.
“Teachers must be supported in developing the confidence, networks and skills necessary to offer impactful STEM lessons from the earliest stages of education. This is a vital component in the efforts to strengthen Scotland’s wider STEM capital.
“Our Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) programme, which is delivered through a partnership of Education Scotland, Scottish Government and participating local authorities, is doing just that. A recent external evaluation of the pilot of the programme found that more than three-quarters of teachers who engaged with the programme were more confident with the content of their STEM lessons, with 71% more confident in the pedagogy related to science subjects.
“Following the success of the pilot, RAiSE will now be offered on a rolling basis to all local authorities in Scotland to support STEM education in primary schools.
“Exciting young people about STEM is not simply about memorising formulas or the periodic table. Learning which is contextualised crosses traditional subject boundaries. It is about nurturing enthusiasm. It is about problem-solving. It is about understanding and engaging with the world.
“Unlocking this potential is only possible if teachers are confident and have the tools to guide pupils through the opportunities of STEM, challenging embedded stereotypes and misconceptions with fun and engaging activities.
“RAiSE is increasing the aspirations of learners, teachers, parents and learning communities in STEM. Avoiding silos and working in truly collaborative partnerships within the public, private and voluntary sectors has ensured the success of RAiSE.
“The programme is clearly aligned with key drivers including the STEM Education and Training Strategy, National Improvement Framework and Developing the Young Workforce.
“It is also vitally important that interventions such as RAiSE are designed to be sustainable and systemic to truly empower improved STEM capital in learning communities. The Primary Science Development Officers deployed in local authorities through RAiSE not only deliver professional learning, they create networks among learning, business and wider communities and tailor opportunities for local context. Establishing and nurturing these opportunities will promote lasting relationships and meaningful collaboration.
“We must continue to be innovative as we navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The fundamental way to improve experiences and outcomes for young people is by investing in their education and we believe that investment must begin with the professional workforce.”
For more information about RAiSE, contact Gayle Duffus.