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AIBU to ask all primary school teachers about the STEM program in your school?

(15 Posts)
Bubblesgun Tue 02-Apr-19 14:34:50

Hello. I havent posted much since joining so apologies if i am posting on the wrong place. I have no experience of the other boards and I know this one is very active.

I wonder if it was unreasonable to ask the primary school teachers and parents the question above.

The STEM program at my kids school is inexistent as in not part of a comprehensive program with dedicated teachers. They do science yes... a bit but not in a program that starts in EYFS all the way to Yr6 with a long term view of fostering passion, “teaching” critical thinking, problem solving, team work, methods, etc through fun experiments (am not talking about science labs yet but why not?). It is a bit plants here, solar system there...

Yes science is taught i believe in the vast majority of the schools in Europe (my only experience is in Europe). But in my school it is not systematic: there is no stem department and they dont have a curriculum in its own. As it is part of the syllabus given by the education department, The teachers (bless them) do what they can but i cant see any will from the school POV to take it to another level like english or maths is.

I am no scientist or science teacher but i believe that if the subjects were taught properly as part of understanding the complexity of the wider natural world and the technological world the children are growing up into, more kids would have positive feelings about it.

Science is the one subject that is inclusive non gender specific. Yet, less children are taking up stem at university levels let alone get into a career in stem.
Research shows that a stem program starting at a primary school level could reverse that.

What do you think? And what is happening at your school?

I am asking because I want to meet the headmistress to discuss the subject with as much info and arguments as possible.
Thank you for your time

ghostyslovesheets Tue 02-Apr-19 14:49:13

please can I be a fly on the wall for that meeting

MutantDisco Tue 02-Apr-19 14:54:23

I don't think STEM is the be all and end all. If you're good at it - great. Not everyone is.

New Ofsted guidance is for 'balanced curriculum' and cultural capital.

Bubblesgun Tue 02-Apr-19 19:15:58

@ghostyslovesheets wink

@MutantDisco i agreed with you until i had to support one of my kids with place value. Further from that and answering as best I could all the questions she has about the world around us, it made me think. And i changed my mind.

The world the children are growing up in is full of technology and the natural world is very complexed. Our world has evolved explaining natural phenomenom through the advance of science. In todays world, grasping STEM is even more fundamental that it has ever been. Of course, languages and culture are still very important and maybe even more so in a global world but STEM is very relevant.
Some jobs will be gone amd others will be created by the time our primary school age kids are in university - if they go - amd being stem literate will be a major advantage.

But more importantly if i look at my kids and their friends they are curious and eager to learn and understand. With a comprehensive program and adequate teaching you could give the kids a positive opinion about STEM which will help to keep being motivated in the secondary years.

I loved science all my life but i have never been diagnosed with discaculia and therefore i struggled all my school life to the point where i used to described myself as bad at maths and anything science related.

Am in my 40s now and i embrace it. I love it amd i think it is wonderful to be able to understand things around me without being afraid of science anymore. I want my kids and their friends to able to experiment as much as I didnt.

The school do a bit but could do so much more. And all the parents I have talked to which is about half the school (i am on committes accross the school) agree.

So please can you tell me what is the stem at your school like?


ATrainSeat Tue 02-Apr-19 19:18:24

If you’d like the school to do more STEM, what would you be happy for them to do less of?

strathmore Tue 02-Apr-19 19:43:20

If they are a maintained school they will teach the National Curriculum

You should raise it with the Secretary of State for Education at the DfE.

Are you on a committee that has a remit to discuss the curriculum that the school are offering? Governing Body?

Piglet208 Tue 02-Apr-19 20:02:46

Science is one of the core subjects in the primary curriculum. There will be a teacher who leads the subject. They may attend external CPD and run internal training for the other teachers, The curriculum will be mapped so that there is appropriate coverage across the Year groups. The lead teacher will be responsible for ensuring the school has the appropriate resources to meet the needs of the curriculum.

I am interested to know why you think that the science teaching is inadequate? As you say you are not an expert I would think your priority should be with how your own child is achieving in science. By all means ask their teacher how they are doing but to meet with the Head to discuss the whole school's STEM curriculum seems very presumptuous.

BeanBag7 Tue 02-Apr-19 20:06:35

As a secondary science teacher it is very obvious which schools do science properly and which do the minimum required (often to make more room fit literacy and numeracy), from the responses of kids in year 7.

ShawshanksRedemption Tue 02-Apr-19 20:16:21

What @strathmore says.

Who do you think tells teachers what to teach? The Head?

pinksquash13 Tue 02-Apr-19 21:42:20

I think as a generalisation, science teaching and learning in primary schools could be improved. I think it's going in the right direction and the focus is becoming ' broad and balanced' i.e. less maths and English.

Here are the main issues primary schools face:
Packed curriculum with not enough time to teach everything (if you follow the NC)
Non-specialist teachers. We don't all have science degrees
Lack of funding/ equipment. Not everything needs money obviously but sometimes that would really help.

I think you are being unrealistic to want STEM to be introduced as a specialist programme just because you want it. Who would plan it? Who would fund it? Who trains the teachers? What if teachers don't think it's best for their classes.

You are entitled to go in and discuss science or maths related to your child's learning. You are being hugely unreasonable to ask for more. Trust the school to know what's best for their pupils and recognise the limitations.

Holidayshopping Tue 02-Apr-19 21:47:53

We don’t have a stem program.

We teach the national curriculum. If you have a problem with the content of that-take it up with the government and the DfE.

Flaverings Tue 02-Apr-19 21:51:32

You could offer to run a STEM club? With support from the National STEM Centre?

DrMadelineMaxwell Tue 02-Apr-19 21:52:31

We teach the national curriculum (Wales) using a scheme that the local primary and secondary advisor wrote for schools to base their science teaching on to ensure consistency across different primaries within the cluster schools.

We also have a STEM week. And as science subject leader in my school, we attained the Primary Science Quality Mark last year at the Silver level.

ShitAtScarbble Tue 02-Apr-19 21:55:10

Science is the one subject that is inclusive non gender specific

Huh? The only one?

nutsfornutella Tue 02-Apr-19 22:18:42

* Science is the one subject that is inclusive non gender specific*

I don't understand? Is Maths or Literacy different for boys and girls?

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