This strategy sets out our vision of a Scotland where everyone is encouraged and supported to develop their STEM capability throughout their lives, enabling them to be inquiring, productive and innovative, both in order to grow STEM literacy in society and to drive inclusive economic growth. – Ministerial Foreword, STEM Strategy
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Strategy emphasises the ‘crucial early years’ where STEM skills can be promoted and enthusiasm for STEM can be fostered. The Scottish Government recognises the need to close the equity gap in participation and attainment in STEM.
In order to allow children to develop STEM skills and interest, Scottish Government will work to ensure that early learning and childcare professionals have the ‘skills, knowledge and confidence to support children in relation to STEM’. Practitioners will give children and families a grounding in STEM, providing an ‘inspiring offer of STEM activity’. They acknowledge the need to improve ‘confidence and fluency’ in Maths for children and their families. Scottish Government recognise the need to support and resource practitioners in early years and school for this task.
The Scottish Government highlight the importance of building the skills, knowledge and confidence of families to promote and encourage STEM learning at home. This is part of what they describe as ‘STEM Capital’.
The STEM Strategy promotes partnership working to promote these aims to children and their families. Community Learning and Development (CLD) is recognised as having a key role in supporting equity by engaging with disadvantaged families.
The STEM Strategy supports the suggested focus of Regional Improvement Collaboratives to promote effective strategies and approaches for parental engagement and family learning in STEM in early learning and childcare settings and schools.
The Peep Learning Together Programme supports practitioners to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to support families to improve STEM learning at home. The Programme is used in a variety of settings including ELC settings, schools for transition into primary school, community centres, health centres and others. It is often delivered in partnership between these disciplines.
From 2018, there will be a requirement for public STEM sector to work with CLD to engage disadvantaged people where they are funded by Scottish Government. The Peep Learning Together Programme can be used to build on the skills and resources of CLD and the STEM ‘public engagement sector’ (museums etc.) to promote STEM in partnership.