Best Practice

STEM: Building early foundations

When should we introduce the STEM approach and how can we maintain children’s engagement with STEM throughout their education? Emily Hunt offers teachers some advice

The motivating concept behind STEM education is that these are intertwined subjects that are best taught together. Grounded in practical, real-world learning, at its best the STEM approach prepares students to be creative, adaptable problem-solvers.

As we progress well into the 21st-century, STEM-related industries continue to grow and transform our economy and way of life. There are considerable opportunities for young people to find well-paid and rewarding careers if they remain open-minded about pursuing study in STEM fields.

A report by Parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee revealed that the UK has a particular skills shortage in sectors that depend on STEM, with nearly 40 per cent of employers reporting difficulties in recruiting staff with relevant STEM skills. Its Digital skills crisis report (June 2016) emphasised the need to create more interest in computer science and STEM at primary level, and for this to be maintained until potentially career-defining choices are made in selecting subjects at GCSE and A level.

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