Falkirk embarks on programme to improve STEM lessons for primary pupils

A programme which empowers teachers with the confidence and skills to deliver inspiring and motivating STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) lessons to primary pupils has launched in Falkirk.

RAiSE (Raising Aspirations in Science Education) and Falkirk Council have seconded two Primary Science Development Officers (PSDO) to develop and deliver professional learning, create STEM networks and organise community events for the authority’s 48 primary schools.

RAiSE is a programme of The Wood Foundation, Education Scotland, Scottish Government and participating local authorities. Falkirk is the 13th region to embark upon the programme.

Laura McCafferty, RAiSE PSDO in Falkirk, said:

“In Falkirk, we are committed to ensuring that all primary pupils have the opportunities to benefit from lessons which create the bedrock upon which later learning and, eventually, work will be based upon. STEM is a vitally important component to develop creative thinkers and problem solvers.

“Professional learning is key to increasing confidence. As a teacher myself, I understand the pressures we face in delivering a varied curriculum with a number of different drivers and priorities to strive towards. Rather than viewing STEM as an add-on, I will be working with teachers to develop opportunities which make STEM a vehicle to address existing goals in a way that really excites and engages learners.”

David Mackay, Head of Education at Falkirk Council, said:

“Across Falkirk we are committed to ensuring our children and young people have innovative, engaging and challenging opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills to enable them to take up their future role as contributors and leaders of our local companies and organisations, particularly in the areas of STEM.

“Our learning pathways have been designed taking into account local labour market intelligence, to maximise the opportunities for our young people to acquire these skills and knowledge. Working with the Wood Foundation to develop the capacity within our schools will afford our children and young people to experience high-quality learning experiences the STEM.”

An external report into the success of the pilot element of the programme earlier this year found that three quarters of teachers were more confident in their science teaching following involvement with the programme. The same figure stated that pupils’ STEM career aspirations had also increased.