School organisation and STEM career-related learning


I wanted to flag a new publication that has been written by my iCeGS colleague Jo Hutchinson called School organisation and STEM career-related learning. In the report Jo explores schools roles in supporting young people to learn about STEM careers and to make better informed decisions.  The report is based on a two year project which explored practice in case study schools followed up by a
national survey.

 The report introduces three key types of learning that are relevant to STEM careers.

  1. STEM subject learning – which focuses on how schools explore the themes that cut across learning in science, design & technology, engineering, and mathematics
  2. career-related learning – in particular, what activities schools undertake and how they organise their career education curriculum, work-related learning, and information, advice and guidance provision
  3. STEM career-related learning – the extent to which the activities which schools undertake to support STEM subject learning connect with their students’ career-related learning

 It sets out a lot of examples of how schools utilise these three concepts to support learners to develop their understanding of STEM and STEM careers. Most interesting (to me at least) is the way in which Jo traces some examples of what she calls STEM career-related learning ie how people can learn about careers in the context of curriculum and disciplinary knowledge.

The report also explores how the schools that are doing all of this innovative stuff come to be doing it.  She defines a series of factors that support the development of innovative STEM career-related learning curricular as follows:

  • school leadership and delegated
  • responsibility
  • teachers’ prior work experience
  • careers provision
  • school networks
  • the local economy
  • student attainment and progression
  • school structure

 The report provides further detail on how each of these supports STEM career-related learning and is essential reading for any schools that wish to move in this direction.

I think that if it is going to have a meaningful future, career learning will have to build links with broader curriculum areas. Jo’s report points one way in which such links might be realised.




  1. This is very useful research. I’m interested in the development of integrated models, where career possibilities are introduced alongside subject knowledge wherever appropriate. Extracurricular activities are useful in their own right – especially when they have a specialist focus such as girls’ participation – but it seems to me that there are many more opportunities to make a difference when career-related learning is integrated into STEM lessons.

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