On 9 March, the Scottish Government announced funding of £1.5 million for a range of initiatives to support the delivery of science, technology, engineering and maths in primary and secondary schools. The funding will support classroom learning in STEM subjects with training programmes for teachers of science and technology, a primary science mentoring programme and support for maths delivered by maths champions in each local authority area. The funding is in addition to the making maths count programme, which is designed to promote enthusiasm and confidence in maths.
I particularly welcome the support for having maths champions, which is a personal interest of mine. The minister will be aware that some councils face challenges in teacher recruitment in STEM subjects. Will he outline the steps that the Scottish Government has taken to address the barriers to recruitment that remain?
The Scottish Government launched a teacher recruitment campaign in September to encourage more people to become teachers. We are supporting a collaboration between the University of Stirling and Heriot-Watt University whereby some of Heriot-Watt’s STEM students will train as teachers in parallel with their undergraduate STEM studies. Part of the £12 million transition training fund, which will help people who face job losses in the oil and gas sector to find alternative employment, will be available to support people who want to become teachers.