New appointment will help develop STEM subjects in primary schools

Midlothian Council has appointed a Primary Science Development Officer (PSDO) to lead on the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) learning in primary schools.

Welcome Donna

Donna Hanley has joined the national RAiSE network of PSDOs.

Raising aspirations

RAiSE (Raising Aspirations in Science Education) is a programme of The Wood Foundation, Scottish Government, Education Scotland, and participating local authorities which empowers primary practitioners with the confidence, skills, and networks to develop and deliver motivating and engaging STEM experiences.

Working together

Laura McCafferty, National Education Officer for RAiSE, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Midlothian to our network as we expand our footprint throughout Scotland.

Natural curiosity

“In our collective drive to become a STEM nation, we firmly believe that stoking the natural curiosity of our youngest learners can inspire them with the confidence to continue their love of STEM through their education and beyond. 

Bringing STEM to life

“To do that we need teachers with access to the right training, resources, support, and opportunities to bring STEM to life in their classrooms. RAiSE lays these foundations in a very local way, supported by a national network and strategy.”

Empowering next generation

Michelle Strong Education Chief Operating Officer at Midlothian Council, said: “We are pleased to be embarking upon the RAiSE investment. As an authority, we fully recognise that STEM is hugely important to our region’s success now and in the future. We must act strategically in order to empower the next generation.”

Among 22 authorities benefitting

Twenty-two of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have now benefitted from the investment which funds the secondment of PSDOs for a two-year period to develop a strategy, action plan, build networks and partnerships, develop resources, and deliver professional learning, acting as a central point of contact for STEM learning locally. 

Enthusiastic children

Donna Hanley said: “From my time as a teacher, I know just how important it is to identify high-quality training, resources, and partnerships which bring the curriculum to life in a very accessible way. With so many competing priorities, STEM can be seen as an add-on. It is our role to showcase that it can in fact be a driver to achieve a range of priorities, while really playing to children’s natural enthusiasm to figure out the world around them.

Realising opportunities

“I am really looking forward to better understanding the needs of Midlothian teachers and working together to realise opportunities which support improved STEM experiences for our young people.”

Building confidence, skills and knowledge

Through recent surveying, more than 80% of practitioners said the programme challenged pupils in their learning, and that they had received support for developing pupils’ skills for learning, life, and work. They also said pupils’ aspirations had increased and that they had received support to build their own confidence, skills, and knowledge of STEM. 

More information

Find out more about RAiSE and follow Donna’s Midlothian STEM news

7 Oct 2022