9th December 2020- Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, today announced 331 primary schools nationwide that have received a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Primary Science and Maths Award (DPSM). The programme aims to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) among primary school students and teachers.

The Awards recognise the achievements of children and teachers in the application of STEM in their curriculum. The closing date for digital submissions was extended to September 2020 to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions and teachers were congratulated for continuing to inspire students and adapt to remote learning environments.

Commenting on the awards, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said: “I want to send my congratulations to all the students receiving an SFI Discover Primary Science & Maths Award. It has been such a hard year for students across the country, but I hope today’s announcement will round the year off on a high note for our winners. Science and Maths matter now more than ever and we need our primary school students to become the next generation of innovative leaders, creative thinkers and problem solvers. These awards show how excited we can all be for the future.”

Commenting on the SFI DPSM Awards, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to making STEM accessible to all and supporting our young people to embrace the 21st century skills needed for their futures. This means that we must continue working to break down any barriers to engaging young people in STEM and nurturing their ability to be creative, critical thinkers. The DPSM Awards are a perfect way to engage students in a meaningful and enjoyable way with STEM in the classroom. It is extremely positive to see so many primary schools taking part and I praise all the teachers involved for their commitment to STEM during a difficult school year.”

Over 150 classrooms joined the virtual online close to the Awards on November 20th. STEM professionals and science communicators offered their congratulations to students and a live science show with Mark the Science Guy and Ali Knight from Explorium marked the end of the awards.

Science Foundation Ireland, in conjunction with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO), offers free continuous professional development (CPD) in STEM for primary school teachers. The programme has developed a new CPD offering for 2020/2021 exploring the topics of biodiversity, insulation and space through inquiry-based learning. The three workshops will provide teachers with a framework and planning tools to deliver hands-on STEM learning in the classroom. This CPD can be carried out virtually via Zoom. 

Registration for the 2020/2021 Awards and the DPSM/ESERO CPD is now open. For more information about the DPSM programme, the Awards and CPD, please visit www.primaryscience.ie or contact the team on primaryscience@sfi.ie.