As many as 90% of primary school pupils enjoy science and more than 85% of Scottish primary school pupils believe it is important to study science at school.
These are the findings of the Raising Aspirations in Science Education Interim Evaluation Report, commissioned by The Wood Foundation for its Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) programme. The report also found that some of their favourite science related activities included experiments, group working and visiting science centres. Writing about science in school was the least enjoyed activity in P2-P4 pupil responses.
P2 -P7 pupils were most likely to indicate ICT, PE and Science as the subjects they liked the most, with Science ranking third. Despite these positive findings, the report also revealed that less than 30% of pupils envisaged themselves working as a scientist when they grew up. P5-P7 pupils indicated they were less likely than their P2-P4 peers to rate their enjoyment of science activities in the highest category (really enjoy), showing a decline in popularity with older students.
Positive Early Engagement Will Help Encourage Pupils to Study STEM
Commenting on this Gayle Duffus, national education officer for RAiSE, said: “What we need to do is harness the potential and motivation of learners at this formative stage and ensure they have exciting and creative opportunities to learn about science. Through positive, early engagement with Science and STEM, we can equip the next generation with both the skills and the desire to become Scotland’s STEM workforce of the future.”
The RAiSE programme, which was launched in partnership with the Scottish Government is a four-year pilot designed to improve children’s breadth of learning in new contexts. Led by Education Scotland, RAiSE equips teachers with the skills to confidently teach STEM to primary school children, incorporating it with wider curriculum objectives.
There are eight local authorities participating in the pilot programme. According to The Wood Foundation website, 960 primary schools will benefit during the pilot with £879k committed to the project over a three-year period. Key delivery partners for RAiSE include Education Scotland, the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC) and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland.