Date lodged: 9 February 2017
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the report, Global Gaps by the Sutton Trust, which suggests that the scores of the highest achieving pupils in science have seen large declines since 2006, whether it considers that this decline could have been prevented in the last decade.
Answered by: John Swinney 24 February 2017
As set out in our draft STEM strategy, the Scottish Government and its agencies are taking a range of actions to improve STEM learning experiences. These include a comprehensive range of support for science teaching made available by Education Scotland. We are providing £855,000 per annum to the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre to develop the science skills of primary and secondary teachers and technicians. In addition, a 3-year £1 million fund has been established, in partnership with the Wood Foundation, to boost science learning in primary schools.
All children will develop a strong grounding in science through their broad general education. Our draft STEM Strategy consultation, published in November 2016, will set out our approach to raising levels of STEM enthusiasm, skills and knowledge across the education, training and lifelong learning landscape.
The Global Gaps report identifies a small decline in performance among the highest performing science pupils in Scotland in 2015. The performance remains in line with OECD average and we remain committed to ensuring excellence in science education as part of our wider Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) approach.