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STEM stars

Published: 5 Oct 2015 16:44
Part of:
Education

Science Club helps Alness pupils shine.

Alness Academy pupils are showcasing the science and engineering talents that have twice seen them represent Scotland.

Minister for Learning and Science Dr. Alasdair Allan joined staff and pupils to see some of the projects that have helped the school and club build an enviable reputation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The Academy – where both pupils and teachers have been recognised by SCDI's Young Engineers and Science Club programme (YESC) with national awards for their science achievements – has an impressive record of pupils choosing to pursue STEM studies beyond school.

Children and young people also used their experiences to support the #inspiringteachers campaign, launched by the Education Secretary last week to showcase the enormous impact that talented teachers can have on them – especially in STEM subjects.

Dr Allan said: "Pupils from Alness Academy's Science Club have represented Scotland and won national prizes for their science and engineering while their teachers have been honoured for their commitment to encouraging a passion for STEM subjects.

"Recent surveys have suggested that younger children and parents can feel that STEM subjects are difficult or not suited to everyone. We can clearly see how powerful the enthusiasm and dedication of the teachers and YESC leaders here at Alness is in getting children and young people to try engineering or experiments for themselves.

"Building that interest in general science early then opens up the possibility of following any number of specialisms. The technology and engineering sector in Scotland generates turnover of £24.4 billion each year employing 155,000 in total which shows how nurturing an interest in STEM while children and young people are in school has the potential to be literally life changing.

"It is this commitment and encouragement that we want to recognise and celebrate with our new teacher recruitment campaign. I am looking forward to hearing the staff and pupils views on what makes #inspiringteachers."

Melanie Riddell Programme Manager, Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland said "Alness Academy is an outstanding example of one of the many schools SCDI supports through its YESC network across Scotland. YESC is also delighted with the support it receives from our industry and public sector partners, who are also keen to invest in the future workforce. Through teacher training, events, competitions and our free science and engineering resources, we are committed to inspiring the engineers and scientists of the future."

Liana Ballingall, Alness Academy Science Faculty Head, said:

"Our club members are enthusiastic and determined to achieve the highest standards with an openness to new thinking and ideas, and are reslient with the ability to work extremely well in teams and individually.

"They are able to express themselves easily and with confidence - the club is an ideal launchpad for independent thinking and the development of skills. The club is open to anyone and each team is made up of a different mix of members who each bring their own unique personality to the team."

Notes to editors

The Alness Academy's Science Club is one of a number supported by SCDI through its Young Engineers and Science Clubs programme which works with over 1200 schools across Scotland.

In 2012 the club represented Scotland as Finalists at The Big Bang Birmingham 2012, the biggest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. The all-girl S3 team was named UK Young Engineers Club of the Year 2012. The following year a different team of six S3 girls took part in the competition, this time held in London, and won The UK Best Engineering Project 2013 title.

Dr Allan presented the three staff leaders with the Club Leader Award in 2014 at the Celebration of Engineering and Science.

Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology are among the 6 most popular subjects at school. This year saw a total of 43,732 passes at Higher across all key STEM subjects. Since 2007, the number of Higher entries in STEM subjects has increased by 12% and passes have risen by 15% over the same period.

Pictures of today are available here.