An education pilot successfully trialled in Fife and Angus is to be rolled out across Scotland.
A study has found more than 70% of primary teachers are more confident teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects through their involvement with the Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) programme.
The evaluation found 87% of pupils enjoyed more challenge in their STEM learning and 77% had increased aspirations in terms of STEM careers.
Now RAiSE, which has been trialled in eight local authorities, will be made available on a rolling basis to the rest of Scotland to improve primary teachers’ confidence and skills to deliver motivating lessons.
Karen Doherty, RAiSE primary science development officer in Fife, said: “It has been a pleasure empowering teachers in Fife to better understand what they can achieve in their classrooms and across their school communities through STEM education.
“Creating local opportunities and networks, as well as identifying enthusiastic teachers, has been vitally important.
“It’s great that this evaluation has proven these efforts to be a success.”
RAiSE is delivered through a partnership of Education Scotland, the Wood Foundation, Scottish Government and local authorities.
Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s further and higher education and science minister, said he was pleased to see the positive results from the pilot, particularly in raising the confidence among teachers in delivering STEM subjects.
“It is clear that the programme has brought benefits to those in the initial eight local authorities that participated,” he said.
“I am sure these benefits will also be seen in the four authorities who joined the programme this year and I look forward to more authorities taking advantage of the flexibility of the programme to suit their local needs.”
Gayle Gorman, chief executive of Education Scotland, added: “This is an exceptional example of how working collaboratively with local authorities can deliver real outcomes for our schools – most notably in boosting the confidence of teachers in delivering STEM education to our children.
“The evidence shows us that pupils are really taking the messages of the programme on board, with children telling us that they think that STEM should be taught in primary schools and that anyone can have a job in STEM-related careers.”
Ali MacLachlan, UK director of the Wood Foundation, said: “Motivating and engaging young people in STEM is vital for their continued education and developing their skills to prepare them for the world of work.
“Upskilling teachers and increasing their confidence is vital if they are to influence, inspire and educate pupils with the skills needed for today and the future.”
More than £1 million to deliver “”inspirational teaching” in STEM subjects
The roll-out comes on the same day as £1.3 million has been made available to help deliver “inspirational teaching” in STEM subjects across Scotland.
The fund, led by Education Scotland and supported by the Scottish Government, aims to boost teachers’ confidence and skills in delivering lessons.
Education Scotland Chief Executive Gayle Gorman said a survey of teachers delivering these subjects revealed a lack of funding was often a barrier to accessing STEM professional learning.
The new fund is dedicated to equipping them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to develop and deliver high-quality STEM teaching, she said.
Deputy First Minister and education minister John Swinney added: “Effective career-long professional learning is vital in allowing teachers and practitioners to develop their STEM knowledge and skills.
“This funding will enable a variety of collaborative projects to provide resources and support for practitioners and teachers to deliver high quality and inspirational learning.
“This is critical to the aims of the STEM strategy and ensuring that our children and young people are equipped with the STEM enthusiasm and skills needed for later life, and empowering them to gain a greater understanding of the world around them.”