West Partnership Primary STEM Leaders 2019-2020
West Partnership Primary STEM Leaders 2019-2020
In December 2019 STEM Glasgow, funded by Education Scotland’s Enhancing CLPL grant, expanded the already established GCC Primary STEM Leaders programme across three local authorities from the West Partnership. 54 practitioners from 44 different establishments in South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire participated. The aim of the programme to increase practitioner confidence levels delivering and leading excellent STEM teaching and learning, create a supportive peer network for sharing STEM practice and to increase knowledge of the STEM Education and Training Strategy. The recruitment of these participants was the responsibility of each local authority.
The programme consisted of a mix of full day and twilight CLPL sessions. Each session consisted of professional learning, networking opportunities, personal reflection tasks and recommended STEM resources to help lead STEM in their own establishment. Although mainly delivered by STEM Glasgow, the programme featured sessions from a number of external partners including STEM Ambassadors, Improving Gender Balance and Equalities and Education Scotland.
The STEM Education and Training Strategy for Scotland highlighted the importance of effective career long professional learning to develop capacity in practitioners to deliver excellent STEM teaching and learning. Previous studies including the ASPIRES report, identified teacher confidence levels in delivering STEM lessons as being low. The aim of the West Partnership Regional Improvement Collaborative is to ensure excellence and equity across the region and this programme was to help deliver and help maintain a practitioner STEM network that would encourage further collaboration across the Regional Improvement Collaborative.
Feedback from participants highlighted that the time given to network, share practice and learn from each other was a highlight of the programme. Most commented on feeling more confident delivering STEM based lessons and felt better equipped to lead STEM in their establishment and deliver CLPL to colleagues. Many stated that their understanding of the importance of ensuring equity in respect to increasing STEM Capital, links to Developing the Young Workforce and Improving Gender Balance and Equalities would have one of the most immediate impacts on their practice.
“I found the data on the difference between what parents and children think about STEM jobs so interesting. It’s sad they don’t think these careers are for them. I didn’t realise STEM was such a big employer but now I’m going to share this information with my colleagues.” Class Teacher, South Lanarkshire.
Evaluations have shown that nearly all Primary STEM Leader's feel more confident delivering CLPL and are now sharing the PSL programme with colleagues in their establishments. Evidence from Twitter and email correspondence has shown that many schools are using STEM Glasgow activities to deliver STEM in their setting and due to this children are experiencing more varied STEM learning experiences. Some PSL's have developed whole school play pedagogy-based approaches to STEM following training on Tinkering and have created resource boxes for every class. Others have used their PEF funding to buy digital technology resources after attending the coding workshops. As demonstrated during the Teachmeet and through discussions with participants all have used aspects of the CLPL to develop STEM learning in their establishment. Now that these networks and relationships have been established they continue to share knowledge with others both at cluster, geographical cluster and through own personal networks. The PSL's from the more rural South Lanarkshire schools have now made a Whatsapp group where they share information about local STEM employers and opportunities that relate best to their settings. Some of the PSL's who teach STEM as NCCT have formed their own network and are sharing progression planners with each other. Another across local authority network exists for PSL's working in early years and an ASN setting. This group have been sharing how to adapt STEM Glasgow resources to best suit their learners and share other early level resources. These networks that are likely to continue independent of STEM Glasgow as the personal relationships now exists and work will continue to be developed without our input.
“Networking with colleagues from different authorities has been great. It’s good to share resources and contacts.” Class Teacher, South Lanarkshire.
“Honestly this has been the best STEM CLPL I’ve ever attended. I’ve learnt so much but more important than that I’ve met so many people who I’ll continue to be in touch with. I really feel passionate again about STEM.” Class Teacher, East Dunbartonshire.
The remaining sessions of the West Partnership Primary STEM Leader programme had to be suspended in March 2020 due to COVID-19, however the network continued through the use of Microsoft TEAMs and an evaluation and next steps CLPL session was delivered online in June 2020.