620 primary schools across Ireland received award recognising their achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) over the 2018/19 school year. A new online application system saw 1,090 fewer postal journeys, helping reduce carbon emissions.
19 June 2019- Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, together with Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced that 620 primary schools nationwide 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. This includes keeping a log of STEM activities they have undertaken throughout the school year such as classroom investigations and projects, participating in STEM-related field trips and hosting a scientist or engineer speaker visit.
“I would like congratulate all the students receiving an SFI Discover Primary Science & Maths Award. It is fantastic to see so many young students taking an interest in STEM, and that their teachers are encouraging and enabling this interest. The SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths programme provides students with the skills necessary to learn more about STEM, and inspires them to become the next generation of innovative leaders, creative thinkers and problem solvers. People working in these areas are leading the way in these growing sectors and it’s crucial to ensure uptake of STEM subjects from an early age.”
Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, stated: “I want to congratulate the students on their hard work. It is excellent to see so many schools getting involved in the SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths Awards. Every year we are seeing schools really engaging with the programme. The high level of engagement can be credited to the schools and teachers who have really put an effort in to giving their students access to STEM in a fun and educational environment.”
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 nurture their ability to be creative, critical thinkers. The DPSM Awards are a perfect way to engage students in a meaningful and enjoyable way with science. It is extremely positive to see so many primary schools taking part and I want to thank all of the teachers involved for their commitment to STEM.”
As part of Science Foundation Ireland’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, a new online application system was rolled out last year as part of the Awards with the aim of reducing the amount of paper and postage involved in the Awards process. “In 2018 we saw 40% of schools submit a paper log of evidence compared to only 12% in 2019,” said Dr Freeman. “This helped us to save more than 1,000 postal journeys which helps in reducing carbon emissions. We are very proud of this achievement and aim to build on this even more in the future.”
Science Foundation Ireland, in conjunction with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO), offers free continuous professional development in STEM for primary school teachers. The programme facilitates continuous professional development (CPD) in primary science by providing teachers with a framework and planning tools, through inquiry-based learning and using space to inspire the next generation of innovators.
The Science Foundation Ireland Discover Primary and Maths Awards also aligns with the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative, by preparing students for the jobs of the future by promoting interest in science, technology, engineering and maths and thereby ensuring that our economy is well positioned into the future.
Registration for the 2019/2020 SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths CPD courses in STEM for primary teachers is now open. To register for the SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths CPD programme, and for more information about the Awards please visit www.primaryscience.ie.