Response 186442741

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Name
Carlyn McNab

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Glasgow Kelvin College

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Questions

1. Do you agree with the definition provided of STEM for the purposes of this Strategy?

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Do you agree with the definition provided of STEM for the purposes of this Strategy?
The definition encompasses the breadth of STEM activity and highlights the importance of Mathematics as an underpinning concept in STEM provision. However, a balance must be achieved between ‘pushing’ mathematics and raising the awareness of its importance. There is a risk of disengaging young people in STEM before they have become inspired by it. There is a need to ensure that STEM activities are contextualised appropriately to provide effective and positive learning experiences.

2. Do you think the aims of this Strategy and the four priority themes are the right ones to address the challenges identified?

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Do you think the aims of this Strategy and the four priority themes are the right ones to address the challenges identified?
Identification of deprivation and gender within the ‘Equity’ priority produces an exclusivity in relation to other protected characteristic groups. Therefore it would be beneficial if further consideration was given to a more inclusive approach to addressing the equalities agenda.

3. Are these success criteria right?

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No
If not, tell us what criteria we should use instead.
Our focus group decided that these criteria were generally correct, but with some concerns. The criteria focus on young people and families but omit significant parts of the community which cannot be accessed through school links. As there will be a need to upskill those currently in employment to meet the challenge of technological change, further work requires to be undertaken to develop criteria which reflect this imperative.

4. Do you think the scope of the Strategy is right? Tell us if you think it should exclude something or include anything else. For example, should it include training and development that employers provide for their workforce?

Do you think the scope of the Strategy is right? Tell us if you think it should exclude something or include anything else. For example, should it include training and development that employers provide for their workforce?
The scope of the Strategy specifically refers to girls and women and will not address inequity of other protected characteristic groups in STEM activity. There is a clear need to ensure that those in employment have access to appropriate STEM education and training to ensure that skills are developed to meet the needs of the economy. Furthermore, employers, particularly SMEs, will not have the capacity to provide part or all of this provision. Therefore, consideration should be given to highlighting the role of colleges in providing education and training to those in employment. More specific reference to the role of work-based learning to support this aspect of the strategy would also be beneficial.

5. Give us your views on whether you think the actions already underway across the sectors on STEM fit well with the Strategy and will contribute positively to it.

Give us your views on whether you think the actions already underway across the sectors on STEM fit well with the Strategy and will contribute positively to it.
Actions already underway fit well with the Strategy, however continued review of skills and actions will be required to ensure positive outcomes. STEM teaching in early years and primary schools requires development with support from appropriately qualified subject specialists from other education sectors including colleges. Upskilling this workforce is crucial to deliver this Strategy. The limited funding for Colleges is an on-going concern to meet the requirements of a highly progressive technology based sector.

6. Tell us about activity currently ongoing – either included in this document or not – that you think could be adapted or stopped and why.

Tell us about activity currently ongoing – either included in this document or not – that you think could be adapted or stopped and why.
International activity brings opportunities for staff and students. This should be continued and best practice disseminated.

7. Do you agree with the principles set out for implementation?

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No
Do you agree with the principles set out for implementation?
The principles include equity, review of skills and monitoring of performance.

8. What else should Government do to ensure a more coherent approach and maximise impact?

What else should Government do to ensure a more coherent approach and maximise impact?
STEM skills will continue to change rapidly and the importance of understanding and responding to these changes is essential. Consideration should be given to a more flexible qualifications framework which would enable awarding bodies to quickly revise course descriptors to reflect more appropriately technological change and the needs of the labour market.

9. Overall, do you think this Strategy is clear and action focused? Do you think that the actions that we propose to take nationally will achieve the aims and intended outcomes?

Overall, do you think this Strategy is clear and action focused? Do you think that the actions that we propose to take nationally will achieve the aims and intended outcomes?
No. The Strategy must be more action focused with greater emphasis on SMART targets.

10. Will this Strategy improve equity of outcomes? If not, tell us what else it should include, in particular for women and girls and other groups of people – disabled people, care leavers and minority ethnic communities.

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Ticked Yes
No
Will this Strategy improve equity of outcomes? If not, tell us what else it should include, in particular for women and girls and other groups of people – disabled people, care leavers and minority ethnic communities.
Yes, but it requires a consistent approach to terminology. Focusing on women and girls produces exclusivity to other protected characteristic groups. In addition the role of employers in ensuring equality of opportunity in terms of employment for under-represented groups requires to be considered more fully.

11. What could schools, colleges, universities, community learning and development, the voluntary sector, science engagement providers and museums do to support the areas for action?

What could schools, colleges, universities, community learning and development, the voluntary sector, science engagement providers and museums do to support the areas for action?
Focused partnership working provides excellent examples of support for areas action. Best practice events ensure that the lessons learned from these projects are disseminated to the STEM community. Community-based Youth Access programmes may provide a platform for engagement in a community setting and with secondary parents. A joined up approach is required to curriculum design and cross sector professional learning. Further engagement with employers is essential to inform curriculum design and delivery and the content of professional learning.

12. What could professional organisations and bodies and third sector organisations do to support the areas for action? This includes, in particular, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the CLD Standards Council, the teaching unions and representatives and the Learned Societies.

What could professional organisations and bodies and third sector organisations do to support the areas for action? This includes, in particular, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the CLD Standards Council, the teaching unions and representatives and the Learned Societies
All organisations should have STEM as a priority outcome. This Strategy will hopefully produce a joined up approach.

13. What more could science centres and festivals do to complement and enhance STEM formal education, to inspire scientists of the future, and to ensure their activities support those of the Scottish Government and its agencies?

What more could science centres and festivals do to complement and enhance STEM formal education, to inspire scientists of the future, and to ensure their activities support those of the Scottish Government and its agencies?
Science centres and festivals should engage with community groups to promote STEM within the communities, therefore providing access to STEM activities within our more deprived communities.

14. Should this Strategy identify more actions for particular sectors, for example in relation to workplace and work-based training and development? Please make suggestions on what these actions could be.

Should this Strategy identify more actions for particular sectors, for example in relation to workplace and work-based training and development? Please make suggestions on what these actions could be.
Awareness of required skills in particular sectors would help to meet the aims of this Strategy. However, the sector is diverse and it would be difficult to cover all areas. Identification of skills gaps would be more beneficial for training providers, employers and the public. Support for SMEs and micro-businesses will be required to ensure effective engagement.

15. Tell us what you think about this Improvement Framework. How can we best ensure uptake of this Framework in early years learning settings, schools and clusters?

Tell us what you think about this Improvement Framework. How can we best ensure uptake of this Framework in early years learning settings, schools and clusters?
The framework provides a focus for developing STEM activity but requires to be embedded within planning. Support from partnership activity and best practice events is required to ensure that STEM remains a priority in all areas.

16. Tell us what you think of our proposal for developing a model of collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers. How should we now take this forward?

Tell us what you think of our proposal for developing a model of collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers. How should we now take this forward?
Partnership models have been very successful with staff from all institutions gaining from the sharing of good practice. Lead staff require to be identified for area clusters and resource put in place to set up and maintain partnerships based on a thematic approach.

17. Tell us what you think of our proposals for a Scottish STEM ambassador network. How should we now take that forward?

Tell us what you think of our proposals for a Scottish STEM ambassador network. How should we now take that forward?
STEM ambassadors have been successful in raising the profile of STEM in schools. However, care is required as industry partners for schools can give a limiting view of STEM fields and obscure other potential pathways. The success of existing networks has been in the organisational support provided in setting up and maintaining partnerships. Lead staff require to be identified and resource put in place to allow set up and maintenance of clusters and partnerships – see also Q16.

18. What other groups, organisations or people need to be involved in delivery of this strategy?

What other groups, organisations or people need to be involved in delivery of this strategy?
- Community and youth groups - Industry partners - Small businesses, particularly SME and micro businesses - CBI

19. Tell us about what you are doing in your organisation, establishment or community that supports the aims and priorities of this Strategy.

Tell us about what you are doing in your organisation, establishment or community that supports the aims and priorities of this Strategy.
Glasgow Kelvin College achieved STEM Assured Status by reflecting on its STEM provision across all areas of the College. It has developed its STEM Strategy and Manifesto and contributed to development of the Glasgow Colleges Regional STEM Strategy. The College has developed a wide range of partnerships with employers and professional associations to ensure provision is aligned with industry and give learners employment opportunities.

20. What could employers do to attract and retain more diverse STEM talent?

What could employers do to attract and retain more diverse STEM talent?
Employers need to engage actively with schools, colleges and universities to ensure provision meets their requirements, as well as ensuring that prospective employees have a good understanding of roles and responsibilities.