The Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) applied for a grant from the Scottish Government Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Project Fund in 2016 for work to be done over a two year period from April 2017 to March 2019.

The grant was used to pilot the development and delivery of STEM training for staff in out of school care, in partnership with two Further Education Colleges, Glasgow Clyde College, which provided a varied STEM science syllabus over one twelve week course, and West College Scotland, with Dr Amanda Ford as course designer, with SOSCN, for a Creative Computing course.

This ran twice, a ten week evening class at West College Scotland, and a 4 all-day Saturday course in SOSCN (then) Glasgow city centre training room. (See appendix for sample training brochures). For year two the West College Scotland course was run 3 times, two 10-week courses at the College, and four intensive all day Saturday courses in Aberdeen. Results are still to come in from these 2018 to 2019 courses.

Staff on the courses learned how to deliver playful activities for children to gain increased understanding, skills and confidence in STEM. In particular, the aim was to help address the gender gap in STEM by engaging female staff and girls, and to recruit as much as possible from services in less well-off areas in terms of addressing the attainment gap for children. Following the research findings, the activities were to be designed and mainly targeted at children aged 8 or over.

For the West College Scotland course, students had a kit bag of creative computing materials, including the Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey and in year one, Microbit, and related equipment. Kit bags were provided by SOSCN for the Glasgow Clyde course and they provided various kit materials to fill this for their students. Overall 70 students registered across all the courses.

Staff also learned how to do a simple quantitative SOSCN research survey with children, with guidance provided by SOSCN on ethics, children’s rights and choices, parental and child consent. Paper copies of the survey and all suporting materials provided where needed.

Development of Children’s Research Questions, Method and Ethics

The children’s research questions were designed to cover their knowledge, confidence and skills in STEM before and after taking part in a STEM playful learning activity. Would providing STEM activities in out of school care clubs:

  1. Help address the attainment gap in STEM?
  2. Address the Gender Gap in STEM?
  3. Engage older children more in STEM activities?
  4. Increase understanding of what STEM is?
  5. Increase children’s confidence in carrying out STEM activities?
  6. Increase children’s confidence in sharing STEM skills with others?
  7. Encourage children to do further STEM Activities?
  8. Result in learning new skills in STEM?

Interim results summary year 1

Thanks to the students on the courses and the children’s active participation, the results across all eight questions demonstrate the positive impact in terms of addressing the attainment and gender gaps in STEM, and engaging more girls and older children in new STEM activities. Children’s understanding and confidence in STEM increased, including in sharing skills, and the project inspired interest to go on doing more STEM activities and clearly led to new skills in STEM for the majority of children and staff taking part.

Download the full report
Interim results year 1 (PDF) Results Poster (PDF) Thank you to children (PDF)

More STEM Resources

There are some more resources to be found at the links below if you are interested in promoting STEM activities within your OSC. Please see these links if you want to find out more.


Click2SciencePD, developed by Nebraska Extension with funding from the Noyce Foundation, provides online STEM professional development resources for out-of-school time trainers and coaches supporting frontline staff or volunteers working directly with youth.

Visit their website here: image for lg click tagline

National AfterSchool Association (United States)

This similar organisation to SOSCN, but based in USA, has produced an Afterschool Tech Toolkit and much of the content is relevant for STEM work here too in out of school care.

The Toolkit can provide you with resources and strategies to enhance your current programming: image for AfterschoolTechToolkit

last updated: 29/11/2023