Case Studies

3D Printing Programme 2020 - COVID PPE


In April 2017 Glasgow City Council developed a 3D Printing programme for early years, primary and secondary establishments with the aim to raise attainment and achievement through teaching technology. There was a high lack of confidence from teachers in covering this area of the curriculum with many practitioners wishing for a wider variety of technology CLPL that covered curricular areas beyond coding and digital literacy. To date the programme reached over 80 establishments across Glasgow working with learners from as young as 2 years old to the latter stages of secondary. Teacher feedback from the programme has been overwhelmingly positive with over 90% of practitioners feeling more confident when teaching technology as well as multiple establishments investing in their own 3D printer to use long term with pupils. It was evident from the work learners produced that the programme supports authentic learning (such as learning through play and tinkering) while encouraging all learners to build upon their skills for life, learning and work.


Data collected from practitioners across early years, primary and secondary sectors during the National STEM Project identified a 40% low confidence in teaching technology. This data was in line with the national average and these results have been reaffirmed through evaluations taken at STEM Glasgow CLPL sessions and the findings from the Aspires Report. To help tackle this issue Glasgow City Council invested in a number of 3D Printers and developed a programme mapped to a Curriculum for Excellence that would be offered to all establishments across the city.

The programme was developed with a cluster approach in mind to both support and improve collaboration between establishments and raise teacher confidence and pupil attainment across sectors. Head Teachers from all establishments in a cluster were contacted ahead of the start of the programme inviting their school to take part. Once confirmed a member of staff would attend a half day CLPL event. During this session practitioners were trained on how to operate the printer, use 3D CAD modelling software and given details on the different projects available for schools to complete.

One of the aims of this project was to encourage engagement and progression in the Technology experiences and outcomes. The Technologies curriculum has always been heavily linked to the economy and the world of work so a key feature of this programme was to have strong ties to Developing the Young Workforce with a focus on skills development. Although the programme has resources and activities mapped to the curriculum schools were encouraged develop their own resources, trial with learners and then share with the wider cluster.                                                                                                    


Practitioners were evaluated at the beginning and end of the programme to measure the impact on teacher confidence and the wider approach to STEM in each school. This also provided an opportunity to highlight and share how the 3D printers were used to support learners across the cluster. By March 2020 over 80 establishments across 15 clusters had taken part in the programme with a further 3 clusters confirmed for 20/21 session.

 ‘The programme as a whole is great to use as a focus of IDL as it covered so many areas of the curriculum. There has been a genuine enthusiasm for the printer across all stages within the school, especially among the teaching staff’

Class Teacher, Glasgow City Council

COVID-19 PPE Production

Roll out of the programme was halted in March 2020 due to COVID-19 however, practitioners and establishments that had previously been involved put their skills to use to aid the effort of manufacturing PPE for NHS and frontline staff. Glasgow City Council established 3 manufacturing hubs which were staffed by volunteers from early years, primary and secondary schools across the city. Fully trained staff used 3D printers, laser cutters and resources that had been loaned and donated by STEM Glasgow, Technical Support Services, local schools and nurseries to produce face shields that would be used in hospitals and in the city’s additional support for learning schools. 

The Glasgow City council hubs produced over 2000 visors that went to support ASL schools and Pre-5 establishments and over 400 clinically approved reusable visors for the NHS. It was an outstanding contribution in response to COVID-19 and helped protect staff, pupils and families across Glasgow.