The Scottish government has welcomed a report which calls for an increase to the number of hours of continuing professional development (CPD) that STEM teachers are required to complete each year
The report by the independent Science and Engineering Education Advisory Group (SEEAG) considers a wide range of issues around science education and engagement. It identifies research evidence about which methods are effective in improving education and makes 63 recommendations for future action to enhance science teaching in Scotland.
Themes covered by the recommendations include initial teacher education, challenges created by the new Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and support structures for teachers and learners. Within the theme of professional development there are 14 recommendations, a significant one being 'that the Scottish government ensures effective implementation of CfE by providing funding to support an increase in the time provision for CPD to 50 hours per year for all STEM teachers'. If this is implemented this would be an increase of 15 hours per year on the current statutory requirement.
SEEAG have based their recommendation on a 2008 report from the National Science Foundation. The report says that 'significant effects of professional development programmes for STEM teachers are seen when the programmes include a focus on content knowledge together with follow-up pedagogical training for total times of at least 50 hours/year'.
As the SEEAG report was released, Alasdair Allan, the Scottish Minister for Learning said: 'Teachers are vital in supporting the development of learning and skills. That is why today's announcement of £600,000 per annum for the next three years for dedicated science teacher Continual Professional Development (CPD) provision is so important.'
Ian Wall, co-chair of SEEAG, said that the report provided clear evidence and recommendations to ensure that the government will be able to build on the strengths and opportunities of the CfE to provide a strong and rounded education for all.
Supporting Scotland's STEM education and culture