Response 467232009

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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
Yes
Ticked No
Do you agree with the definition provided of STEM for the purposes of this Strategy?
I disagree with the definitions of engineering and technologies. The different technologies are different fields of engineering just as biology, physics and chemistry are different fields of science. Engineering is the creative use of technologies and scientific knowledge and understanding to extend human capabilities and to help satisfy human needs and wants in the context of the real physical world and the society we live in. Technologies involve the application of knowledge and skills to successfully use technology in human endeavour. This covers business, computing science, chemicals, food, textiles, craft, design, graphics and applied technologies.

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?
However: Under the theme 'Excellence' the word 'understanding' must definitely be included - it is a far higher priority that knowledge. Knowledge becomes out-of-date as technology changes, but understanding forms the solid basis of science and engineering. Similarly - in 'Connection' it is definitely good for education to be up-to-date but very difficult to predict the future. Again, understanding is fundamental to people having the confidence to adapt to future change whatever that may be.

3. Are these success criteria right?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

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 it is most important to get children enthused and interested at school to generate a desire for STEM learning and the main focus on the strategy should be just that. Most employers will enable enthusiastic employees to train more if there is a need. However, I also agree that the strategy should include training/retraining of adults, especially where they are not in work.

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.
One of the actions states the 'The early and primary years are particularly crucial for STEM'. I undertook a PGDE teacher training course last year in secondary science with physics. As an option on the course I attended a basic maths class with a mixture of primary/secondary trainee teachers. Many of the primary teachers were themselves hugely lacking in confidence in their own maths understanding and ability. I feel that maths and science should be a mandatory part of all PGDE primary teacher training courses - especially if trainees do not have a good higher maths qualification. You cannot teach enthusiastically and successfully without having confidence that you, yourself understand numeracy. That lack of confidence is passed straight on to the children in the class. The primary science course was also optional - again I believe that science should be a mandatory part of all primary teacher training courses. The option to use CPD to gain numeracy skills should be open to all existing primary teachers - possibly couched in terms of improving your ability to deliver numeracy in the primary school classroom.

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
Yes
Ticked 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.
The senior science courses and assessment as defined by the SQA are too pedantic and restrictive. They encourage teaching to the test which invariably dampens enthusiasm for a subject. Completing all that is required for national 5 assessment in a year leaves little time for creativity, experimentation and science trips which are essential parts of science learning. There are many great resources on offer in the outside world, but little time in the packed curriculum to take them up.