STEM in early years education


About the Inquiry


STEM experiences in early years education

The Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee is a group of MSPs from a range of political parties that holds the Scottish Government and its agencies to account for education policy, including looking at how policy is working in practice.

The Committee undertook an inquiry into STEM, in particular experiences of 3 to 7 year olds in childcare and school education.

The work explored the extent to which STEM subjects are included in the learning experiences of those aged 3-7 and the impact that this has on young people including broadening their horizons, developing an interest in particular STEM disciplines and eventually leading to future careers.

The work explored whether teachers have the skills, confidence and resources to teach these subjects alongside many other areas in the curriculum. It also looked at the success of different STEM initiatives, including those supported by schools, businesses, science centres etc. The Committee heard about the barriers to success for these initiatives and also how best practice can be shared.

At the end of the inquiry, the committee heard evidence from a Government minister based on the views we have heard and we produced recommendations and sent these to the Scottish Government, these included ways to help further support valuable STEM work.   


The Committee published its report on STEM in early years education.

Report responses

The Committee received  the following responses to its report.


27 March 2019

We held a round table session at the Committee meeting on 27 March 2019.The purpose of the session was to scope a topic for an inquiry into STEM.

The meeting papers, official report and video from the meeting are below.

The video from 27 March 2019 can be viewed here.   

Submissions for the 27 March 2019

27 March 2019

Supplementary submissions following 27 March 2019

Follow up submissions have been received from several of the witnesses from the Committee meeting on 27 March 2019.

5 June 2019

The Committee held its first evidence session on the inquiry on 5 June 2019 and it heard evidence from teachers, the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and from a representative of the Glasgow Science centre.

View the Committee meeting  from 5 June 2019 here.

12 June 2019

The second evidence session was held on 12 June 2019. The Committee heard evidence from teachers and academics.

View the Committee meeting  from 12 June 2019 here.

26 June 2019

The third evidence session was held on 26 June 2019.  

View the Committee meeting from 26 June 2019 here.

2 October 2019

The Committee heard evidence from the General Teaching Council for Scotland and from the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

View the Committee meeting from 2 October 2019 here

A SPICe reasearch paper to inform this inquiry is noted below.


Call for views – submissions received

The Committee decided to hold an inquiry into STEM for 3 to 7 year olds. It launched a call for written views in April 2019 and the following submissions were received.


Trade Unions

The EIS wrote to the Committee to advise that intend to put in a full submission in due course. The holding letter is linked below, this details the key themes that will be in the submission.


Nurseries/ Family Learning Centres/ Schools

Local Authorities

STEM Development Officers (RAiSE programme)


Mrs Susan Boyd a Primary school teacher sent us the results of a survey carried out with the staff and prefects from Breadalbane Academy Primary. Links to the survey results are below


For anyone under 13 years of age, we will need to ask a parent or guardian to confirm to us that they are happy for the young person to send us their views. We have published a specific privacy notice for young people. In this case please contact the Committee clerks, using the contact details above, who will provide the necessary form. 

To find out how the Scottish Parliament treats your personal data please read the Privacy Notice for written submissions.

Visits and Events

Primary Science Education Conference and Children’s Conference – 7 June 2019 

Members of the Committee attended the Primary Science Education Conference the visit included four sessions; meeting with the organisers of the conference, a roundtable session with primary teachers, meeting with exhibitors in the main conference and attending the children’s conference.

Scottish Learning Festival - 25 September 2019

Members of the Committee attended the Scottish Learning Festival. The Committee held a seminar for practitioners.


The Convener wrote to the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science regarding STEM related funding. Read the Conveners letter and the response from the Minister below.

The Scottish Government sent additional information in responses to information requested in June

The Convener wrote to the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) regarding the STEM in early years education inquiry



The Committee published its report on STEM in early years education on 19 November 2019.


On 4 March 2020 the Parliament debated the Committees STEM in early years education report. The Convener of the Committee moved that the Parliament notes the conclusions contained in the Education and Skills Committee’s 8th Report, 2019 (Session 5), Report on STEM in early years education (SP Paper 624). 

The video of the debate can be viewed here

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