Our partners STEM Learning are dedicated to ensuring every young person benefits from a world class education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The Lloyd's Register Foundation is supporting STEM Learning to run an intensive programme of ENTHUSE partnerships, bringing schools together to raise achievement in STEM and stimulate interest in and enthusiasm for engineering.
As soon as school closures were announced in the UK, the whole STEM Learning team went into action, working intensively to develop support for teachers, parents and families, so that young people could still receive the best possible STEM education.
Meeting immediate needs
STEM Learning knew they needed to work fast to meet immediate needs - so their education experts curated a collection of top notch resources from their huge e-library of free high quality STEM education resources. They have built two new webpages so that people could find what they needed quickly:
- “Home Learning” page - stem.org.uk/home-learning - launched on 19 March and quickly became the “go to” place for science, a top Google pick for “home learning” that received over 100,000 views in its first 10 days. This page is focused on family activities and materials, including a ‘Parent Survival guide for Home Learning’ with top tips and “how to”, plus daily STEM activities.
- “Home Teaching” page - stem.org.uk/home-teaching - provides teachers and schools with easy to find high quality resources for the remote teaching of science subjects for each age group.
They are regularly updating the Home Learning and Home Teaching pages, including a new online course on the “Science of Learning at Home”. Visitors to their website can also get instant access to expert advice from their education team, who have trained up on “LiveChat”. STEM Learning have responded to over 1000 LiveChat queries in the last 10 days and the numbers are steadily increasing. The majority of questions came from teachers but they are also seeing increasing engagement from parents, carers and the students themselves.
STEM Learning will shortly be launching new “remote lessons” to support students learning science and computing. They are working with expert teachers and facilitators across the UK to create online video science lessons covering priority topics, each designed for a specific age group. Each lesson will link to high quality resources in their e-library and be accompanied by timetabled ‘live chat’ teaching sessions providing secure 1:1 support for teachers, parents and learners.
They are also transforming how they deliver CPD (continuing professional development) for teachers. CPD is vital because quality of teaching has a greater impact than any other factor on young people’s engagement, enjoyment and attainment in STEM – but teachers will find it hard to take time off for CPD in the coming months, even as they face fresh challenges in the classroom, including helping students catch up once schools reopen. Building on their experience of delivering short online CPD courses and understanding of what schools need, STEM Learning have launched 26 “remote delivery” CPD courses, offering substantial CPD that responds directly to what schools need now. They have also launched a course to train STEM Club leaders to run online STEM Clubs, which is proving very popular.
STEM Learning manages the UK’s flagship “STEM Ambassador” programme, mobilising over 33,000 STEM Ambassadors to bring STEM to life. With schools are closed, they have developed our platform to enable “virtual volunteering” by STEM Ambassadors so that our volunteers can respond to requests across the UK. They are also innovating new ways for STEM Ambassadors to volunteer, for example contributing articles and blogs; participating in podcasts; appearing at their virtual festival in May, when they will be broadcasting half hour sessions throughout the day for schools and home learners.
Enhancing resilience with ENTHUSE Partnerships
STEM learning coaches have been in touch with each of the Lloyd's Register Foundation ENTHUSE Partnerships, to ensure they are accessing the support they need to adapt to school closures and continue developing and delivering STEM – especially engineering - education. They have found that the networks developed by the Partnerships increase resilience, e.g. allowing teachers to share ideas and resources across departments and schools. Despite the challenges of school closures, many of the Partnerships have chosen to adapt rather than pause their plans – for example accessing STEM Learning’s online and remote delivery CPD so that they can continue to improve their students’ STEM education and embed greater awareness of engineering and the role of engineering in securing a safe and sustainable future.
The 20 Lloyd's Register supported 'ENTHUSE Partnerships' have brought together 93 schools and colleges from across the UK, and they're already seeing measurable impacts on young people, teachers and schools. Their evaluations provide evidence that:
- Attainment in STEM has risen, 94% of girls and 98% of boys are at least working at age-related expectations compared to 88% and 69% at the start of the partnership;
- Interest in STEM has increased, both male and female students have increased their interest towards learning about STEM;
- Student knowledge of STEM career routes has improved, with a significantly higher proportion now aware of the qualifications they need to progress and the routes available to them;
- Self-efficacy has increased, almost half of students are now more likely to consider themselves as the kind of person who could have a career in STEM, a rise of 8%.
- Motivation for future STEM study has increased, 4 in 10 female and 6 in 10 male students intend to study STEM subjects in future;
- STEM career intentions have increased and STEM careers information is now embedded in teaching, almost one third of female and half of male students would like a career in STEM. Teachers are more frequently and more confidently using careers information to provide a context for their STEM subject teaching.
- Enrichment opportunities are more prevalent, Teachers have increased awareness of the opportunities offered for enrichment provided by STEM employers and are more able to work effectively with employers to support STEM education.
- Cross-curricular collaboration has increased, Teachers and schools are more likely to collaborate across different STEM subjects to support the teaching and learning of students.
It's clear that due to the inspriring work of STEM Learning and the effectiveness of the Lloyd's Register Foundation supported ENTHUSE Partnerships, interest, attainment, motivation and careers knowledge have all increased, while teaching and leading of STEM subjects is also improving. The innovative new methods and adaptability shown to continue delivering STEM Learning mean that despite school closures, the long-term benefits of the programme, including increased subject uptake and engagement with STEM careers, remain achievable.