Stem: Inquiry explores impact of science teaching on nursery children

Young children have natural enthusiasm for Stem and quickly form views about it, says convener

Henry Hepburn

Inquiry explores impact of Stem teaching on nursery children

The importance of teaching science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) to young children will be explored by MSPs.

The Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee has today launched an inquiry to examine the impact of Stem subjects on children aged three to seven, and how successfully they are being delivered. It will also consider the impact Stem teaching at this stage has on broadening children's horizons about possible careers.

Quick read: One in 10 primary teachers should have science master’s, MSPs hear

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Exam statistics: Fall in girls passing key science subjects

Teacher recruitment: Are we getting the Stem teachers we need?

The committee will consider whether teachers have the skills, confidence and resources to teach Stem subjects, as well as the success of different Stem initiatives, barriers to success and also how best practice can be shared.

Last month, the committee was told that one in 10 of all primary teachers should have a master’s-level qualification in science. They also heard that improving the experience of Stem subjects in primary school is essential because attitudes towards science careers have hardened before pupils reach secondary school.

Earlier in the year, in a parliamentary debate, MSPs heard that there had been "no real progress" in tackling Stem gender stereotypes and that there was "worrying evidence" of falling numbers of girls and women taking some Stem courses in Scotland.

There have also been long-running problems in the recruitment of Stem teachers, with new routes into the profession not having had the impact that had been hoped for.

Clare Adamson, convener of the Education and Skills Committee, said: "There is little doubt about the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths in early-years education.”

"Our young people are natural engineers. Their enthusiasm for how things work and solving problems peaks at a young age, and their perceptions of what future disciplines or careers could be for them becomes set at a young age.

"So our inquiry will explore how from this early age we can create a lasting legacy of Stem skills in Scotland.”

Ms Adamson added: "To help us, we want to hear from those who have experience of Stem in early-years education, as well as those who have been involved in promoting and supporting this work."

Details of how to make a submission to the inquiry can be found on the committee’s section of the Scottish Parliament website. The deadline is 13 May.

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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