Scotland’s education body has announced a £430,000 investment to support professional learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Education Scotland has said the Scottish Government funding is being provided to support the recommendations in its STEM education and training strategy and the making maths count report.

It will also address the actions outlined in a thematic review of Education Scotland – multiplying skills, adding value.

Over £200,000 of the fund value is being allocated to support specific improvements in numeracy and mathematics.

This third round of funding will also enable an estimated 11,000 practitioners from 740 establishments across the country to access high-quality professional learning to further enhance teaching skills.

Education Scotland’s ‘enhancing professional learning in STEM grants programme’ builds the confidence and skills of practitioners in a wide range of sectors including: early learning and childcare, primary, additional support needs, and secondary.

School-based technical support staff and practitioners in community learning and development settings will also benefit.

According to Education Scotland – which has dual inspection and curriculum development roles – there continues to be a very high level of interest in the STEM grants programme with over 190 applications being received this year.

A total of 84 bids are being supported across Scotland in 2021/22 which offer a wide range of local, national and online professional learning opportunities including:

  • Training for teachers in Cumbernauld Cluster in North Lanarkshire Council to help them teach STEM through outdoor and environmental approaches, including Learning for Sustainability (LfS).
  • Support for Glasgow English as an additional language service to upskill practitioners so learners who have English as an additional language, or who are asylum seekers or refugees, can develop STEM-related skills and be prepared for the world of work.
  • An online programme of professional learning led by e-Sgoil in Stornoway to build capacity for practitioners participating in a Gaelic early years STEM network.
  • A programme led by the four local authorities in the south west regional improvement collaborative to train community learning and development practitioners to inspire families by using fun and relevant contexts for learning mathematics.
  • Support for learning and teaching in numeracy and mathematics in Angus Council, with resources made available digitally so many teachers can benefit.
  • A professional learning programme led by the Scottish technicians advisory council and SSERC which will benefit up to 1000 school-based technicians across Scotland.
  • Support to allow primary and secondary science, maths and technical teachers in Fraserburgh cluster to engage in professional learning alongside college and university staff to better prepare learners, especially those most in need, for the STEM industry in the north east.
  • Training for community learning and development staff in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to help them tackle gender bias in STEM learning and to lead inspiring STEM activity with minority ethnic groups including new Scots; those in recovery; people who have lived experience of disability and those supporting care experienced young people.
  • A programme of professional learning in digital skills for teachers in Morgan Academy in Dundee and its associated primary schools to improve their understanding of emerging technologies.

This latest round of the enhancing professional learning in STEM grants programme builds on two previous rounds of funding.

Since the grants programme started in 2018, a total of just under £3.5 million has been awarded.

Upskilling teaching staff and practitioners is a “key strategy” to help Scotland become a leading STEM nation and to ensure learners have the skills required to access a wide range of exciting and rewarding STEM jobs, Education Scotland has said.