Response 407669801

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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
Do you think the aims of this Strategy and the four priority themes are the right ones to address the challenges identified?
I worry when you mention investment in education because as a head of a science department we are run on a shoestring budget year after year unable to replace equipment or buy textbooks. We have only one science technician who does not have full time hours and our region is currently trying to rationalise their spending so I really worry about the impact of this on the technician service. Furthermore on building new schools we are never given sufficient classrooms to each have our own; we are not corporate, we are not a business and this is inappropriate if you desire science teachers to prepare properly and set up quality experiments with our classes.

3. Are these success criteria right?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, tell us what criteria we should use instead.
They are naïve however and do not encapsulate the fact that students often do not take STEM subjects because it is more challenging to gain a high grade in them due to their level of difficulty. Often students are choosing subjects that are easier to gain better grades in because there is no advantage in choosing a STEM subject other than if it is a University requirement or they intend to go into that field.

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?
I think you need to ensure that all stakeholders have an input into this with people who are willing to give honest opinions about subject choices within secondary schools and the prejudices that people still have towards specific choices.

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.
There are nice flashy things on offer out there but we could do with more happening at basic levels e.g. every school should have a repair and replacement budget. We often have to 'bid' for essential pieces of equipment and I don't feel it is appropriate for departments to get an item for their pupils because a certain principal teacher is better at constructing and argument than another.

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.
Primary staff are much more willing to undertake science education now than they ever were but sadly because they are embracing a wider curriculum students are coming to secondary less able in literacy and numeracy. Whatever the statistics tell you the average child of 20 years ago was better prepared for STEM education in secondary than they are now. Statistics can be manipulated to show anything you want and I really do not believe the standards are the same today. We are getting levels of illiteracy that are shameful in a developed nation like Scotland. I have SQA papers for my subject from the 1980's and they are much more challenging than the exam of today so it is no wonder that we are struggling to move forward in Global terms in STEM subjects.

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

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

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?
Ensure high quality teacher training backed up by an exam body that exemplifies clarity. At the moment they have just, for example, released a marking scheme for the Nat 4 AVU for Chemistry but it is not on the secure website for staff, it's embedded in a paper on the open website. How are staff meant to know it's there? There are also many errors in their documents. If a government body does not model excellence how can you expect it from your teachers?

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?
I think it's a lovely idea but I will believe in support when I see it in the classroom. We are losing classroom assistants who are there to support those pupils who struggle and get nothing to replace them. It's all very well having lovely ideas and strategies but if nothing changes at the coal face they are pointless.

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

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?
We live so far away from the central belt and there is no provision for that. Transport costs are the major issue not addressed by governments that are entirely focussed on where the majority of their electorate live.

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
Provide quality CPD.

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?
They actually do quite a lot but when I contacted Glasgow University recently for the use of their Planetarium they were reluctant to travel to Dumfries and their costs were very high. With barriers in place of that ilk we will struggle to change attitudes.

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?
We already collaborate but you need to actually have dedicated people in place to facilitate this as workloads in school are at bursting point.

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?
They need to visit schools and make us aware of their presence on a one-to-one basis. Only by forming real connections not just virtual ones will this move forward.

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?
Schools Universities Employers Charity groups Councils

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.
Transition work with primary schools. Collaboration with local university Science centre visits Invitations to outside agencies e.g. talks from science based groups pupils investigating STEM careers and giving talks to other year groups offering new STEM based subjects

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?
Ensure students know of the wide range of careers that STEM subjects offer.