Response 28307005

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Questions

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

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

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

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

3. Are these success criteria right?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, tell us what criteria we should use instead.
I'd only emphasise the STEM skills and capability a little bit further by referring to the ability of employees to gain - and retain - employment using STEM skills, and for CPD in STEM to be inbuilt in employment, not an afterthought if this happens in any sector.

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 strategy should absolutely include training and development provided by employers. I have been trying to persuade my own employer to let me upskill my current SQA Core Skills Numeracy Level 4 to Level 5 - admittedly, not the best qualification in the world and a small step on the ladder compared to other, more intensive and higher level qualifications - but I feel it's hugely important given the job I do, in order to give me more confidence and competence in my numerical ability. I work in the community learning and development sector, for interest.

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.
I think the place which STEM has within Curriculum for Excellence provides a good basis on which to build. My own son loves science and maths at primary school and shows huge enthusiasm for the subjects and the way they are taught. I think that teaching staff should be encouraged to look right across the curriculum for ways to embed STEM into daily teaching wherever possible. I only wish this enthusiasm would translate into other sectors outside school, for instance my own sector, which is CLD. I don't feel that there are enough STEM opportunities for learners here, and this should be addressed.

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.
I wouldn't stop anything - I'd build on it, especially anything which helps to reinforce numeracy skills. I know from personal experience how vital it is both to have the skills and to feel confident in their application, especially when working with others in a learning setting.

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

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Do you agree with the principles set out for implementation?
Keep the Adult Literacies in Scotland (ALIS2020) strategy in mind all the time, because involving people in ALN and upskilling them whilst they are in ALN provision is absolutely key, in my view.

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?
More joined-up working between sectors would be really helpful. Some standardisation in the ALN sector would be welcome. For instance, when measuring progress in order to maximise impact of ALN provision, why doesn't the sector make any use - consistently, nationally, across the board - of the new Benchmarks for Literacy and Numeracy which were published last year? There is no current standardised measure of assessment of progress in our sector, and this is a big gap. These comments may not be in the correct section but I feel they are relevant.

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?
Yes.

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.

Please select one item
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.
On the face of it, the Strategy should improve equity - but only if every sector buys into STEM and really works hard, in partnership, to make it succeed for the current and future workforce.

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?
As I mentioned, a focus on ALN work and its contribution would be really welcome from the Scottish Government. Perhaps the sector could be given a set of STEM indicators to work towards, and a more coherent approach to measuring learner progress against outcomes would also be really helpful. We can't make a coherent contribution in the long term until we know whether our current provision is meeting any benchmark - and at the moment, our ALN sector has no benchmark.

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
I'd like to see more upskilling on offer in STEM subjects, together with relevant accreditation if possible - and associated CPD - from professional bodies. This would be of huge benefit to staff.

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?
Encourage everyone to look at STEM and see it as part of their everyday lives - and encourage more intergenerational work wherever possible.

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.
Just as before - more opportunities for staff to achieve accreditation in STEM subjects if they don't have it already, or to build in CPD to organisational training, with a recommendation from government that organisations would benefit from offering this to their workforce.

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?
It reads well. I like the mention of the numeracy network - I used to attend meetings of the numeracy network which Education Scotland facilitated, some years ago, and these meetings were always valuable and never a waste of my day away from work. I like the mention of the Read Write Count campaign and fully support its extension to parents - and let's not forget carers because they weren't mentioned here. Why not extend it nationally? I understand the need to focus on areas of high deprivation (I live and work in two areas which have high SIMD scores for income and employment deprivation, as well as skills) but why not extend it nationally, too?

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?
By emphasising what should be very obvious - that all sectors should work closely together to make this work, because future national prosperity depends on it.

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?
It's a good idea - and there are lots of talented individuals in the CLD sector who could also play a vital role here, and help make the link with adult learning.

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?
I can't think of any, since the vital ones are all here. Would social enterprise organisations also be worth considering, especially those which work to reduce carbon footprint, have an environmental focus or contribute heavily to tackling poverty in local communities? Just a thought.

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.
Involvement in ALN provision, particularly in terms of upskilling learners in numeracy. This is an area which really needs to be addressed. We offer Core Skills qualifications in Literacy and Numeracy which we need to promote more widely. Homework clubs for parents and children, with all work targeted towards increasing competence in essential literacy and numeracy.

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?
Always offer CPD on the job, because this really attracts employees and helps to retain them.