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Supporting children in school

In Fife, we are committed to supporting all children to achieve their full potential.

Broad general education (3-15 years)

STEM education can be used as a highly motivating and relevant way to learn, within the broad general education phase of Curriculum for Excellence. It can be used to support all four contexts for learning:

  • Curriculum areas
  • Ethos and life of the school
  • Interdisciplinary learning
  • Opportunities for personal achievement

STEM contexts can also support learning across all eight curriculum areas, and in particular within sciences, technologies and mathematics. Areas which are the responsibility of all, especially numeracy, but also literacy and health and wellbeing, can also be supported through STEM contexts and approaches.

Cross-cutting themes such as learning for sustainability, digital skills and creativity support STEM. Outdoor learning provides learners with opportunities to learn about the impact and contribution STEM makes to their lives, their communities and society.

What is STEM?

There is no single definition for STEM. STEM can be conceived as a set of interrelated disciplines and required skills. STEM-related education and training seeks not only to develop expertise and capability in each individual field but also to develop the ability to work across disciplines and generate new knowledge, ideas and products through inter-disciplinary learning. The different components of STEM are defined as follows in the STEM strategy:

Science enables us to develop our interest in, and understanding of, the living, material and physical world and develop the skills of collaboration, research, critical enquiry, experimentation, exploration and discovery.

Engineering is the method of applying scientific and mathematical knowledge to human activity and Technology is what is produced through the application of scientific knowledge to human activity. Together these cover a wide range of fields including business, computing science, chemicals, food, textiles, craft, design, engineering, graphics and applied technologies including those relating to construction, transport, the built environment, biomedical, microbiological and food technology.

All of STEM is underpinned by Mathematics, which includes numeracy, and equips us with the skills and approaches we need to interpret and analyse information, simplify and solve problems, assess risk and make informed decisions. Mathematics and Numeracy develop essential skills and capabilities for life, participation in society and in all jobs, careers and occupations. As well as providing the foundations for STEM, the study and application of mathematics is a vast and critical discipline in itself with far-reaching implications and value.

Digital skills also play a huge and growing role in society and the economy as well as enabling the other STEM disciplines. Like Mathematics, digital skills and digital literacy in particular are essential for participation in society and across the labour market. Digital skills embrace a spectrum of skills in the use and creation of digital material, from basic digital literacy, through data handling and quantitative reasoning, problem-solving and computational thinking to the application of more specialist computing science knowledge and skills that are needed in data science, cyber security and coding. Within digital skills, as noted above, computing science is a separate discipline and subject.

Why STEAM in Fife?

In Fife we believe that:

  • Arts education is a key to creativity
  • Creativity is an essential component of and spurs innovation
  • Innovation is agreed to be necessary to create new industries in the future
  • New industries, with their jobs, are the basis of our future economic wellbeing

We think that there is magic to scientific discovery, beauty to mathematics and enormous creativity in the problem-solving of technology and engineering.

The arts: visual art, craft, design, music, drama and dance, can hone the creative sensibilities required to appreciate STEM and moreover, the creative methods intrinsic to the arts, can help young people to exploit the delight of discovery in the STEM subjects. The arts can be the tools with which to mine this gold so that young people can truly enjoy STEM.

Related publications:

Child Protection & Safeguarding Information for Parents/Carers leaflet