Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Education Committee discussing STEM teaching in early years education, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has criticised Education Scotland for dismissing evidence that teachers and parents are having to stump up for basic classroom resources and arguing children can get by with activities including “tinkering with broken equipment”.
The Education Committee recommended the quango launch a study after receiving evidence that teachers and parents are routinely funding STEM resources out of their own pockets.
However, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland have rejected this, with the latter suggesting that resources “need not to be expensive for learners aged 3-7 year olds” and that STEM experiences could include “tinkering with broken equipment”.
Ms Wishart said:
“Education Scotland is at it again. We know teachers and parents are having to stump up for basic teaching resources, but the government doesn’t seem remotely fussed or inclined to do anything about it.
“Exploring and playing with old equipment is a perfectly legitimate way for young children to learn, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that people are paying for the other basic resources they need out of their own pocket.
“At a time when Scotland has recorded its worst ever results for science in the PISA results, it’s important to get children interested in STEM at an early age. To do that we need properly resourced schools and an educational authority with a hint of curiosity about how to get Scottish education moving in the right direction.”