Last Updated: Monday, April 25, 2022

STEM Family Learning at Larbert High School, Falkirk

What is this?

This practice exemplar demonstrates how Larbert High School in Falkirk worked with young people and their families through skill-based learning challenges over a number of weeks. This family learning project was designed to raise families’ STEM capital, develop skills for learning, life and work through a community approach supported by learning at home.

Who is this for?

This exemplar is relevant to staff within primary and secondary schools who wish to include STEM within their family learning. It may be of particular interest to STEM co-ordinators, principal teachers, depute head teachers and headteachers.

Improvement questions

This exemplar could be used by practitioners and school leaders who are considering incorporating STEM into their approach to family learning. The exemplar could be explored individually or as a team.

STEM family learning programme logoThese reflective questions will support you as you consider your approach to developing family learning in STEM:

  • How has the school identified the need to build STEM capital among families?
  • How does this opportunity support families to engage in STEM in a meaningful and impactful way?
  • How can the school and families continue to remove barriers to engagement and build STEM capital for all?
  • How can the school build on the success from this family learning course to further support young people and their families with STEM skills and future
  • career opportunities?


PDF file: STEM Family Learning Programme Poster (290 KB

PDF file: STEM Family Learning Session 1 - Team-building (1.9 MB)

PDF file: STEM Family Learning Session 2 - Infectious diseases (1.8 MB)

PDF file: STEM Family Learning Session 3 - Design and refine (1.8 MB)

PDF file: STEM Family Learning Session 4 - Model making (633 KB)

PDF file: STEM Family Learning Session 5 - Evaluation and testing (1.2 MB)

PDF file: STEM Family Learning Programme Feedback (530 KB)

PDF file: STEM Family Learning Programme Block 2 Analysis (3.2 MB)

Explore this exemplar

What was done?

Over the course of session 18/19 two blocks of STEM Family Learning took place in Larbert High School. This approach was supported by PEF funding with each block lasting six weeks featuring 40 families in each culminating in a celebration event with industry partners. Families engaged in STEM learning by working together to solve a challenge in school. Families were then provided with a STEM toolkit to take home and work on a new challenge in an unfamiliar context. They returned to the school to share their models and research findings with industry professionals. Prizes were awarded and achievements were recognised at the celebration event. Young people were accredited with a CREST Discovery award through their engagement in the programme.

The resources shared by the school explain the approach taken in STEM Family Learning and the difference it made.

What brought the change?

Building on the existing success of the STEM Academy within curricular time, staff wanted to further support young people and their families and looked to PEF funding as a means of achieving this. Staff identified young people and their families who they felt would benefit from the opportunity and invited them to take part. Families were engaged in practical activities each week and asked to comment on how the family learning course had impacted their relationships, STEM-related discussions at home and STEM Capital.

What was the impact?

Families who took part in the STEM Family Learning were confident they had an increased awareness of the importance and relevance of STEM skills for life and for future work. Families reported increased confidence in their children, improved relationships and a deeper understanding of the relevance of STEM and how it is used in life. Participants stated that they felt part of a community within the school and actively looked out for other parental opportunities.

This project is one example of the school’s practice which led them to win the 2019 Scottish Education Award for Parents as Partners in Learning Award.

What are the next steps?