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STEAM clubs need structure

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STEAM clubs have been popping up everywhere and that’s a good thing as they bring young people together who have in interest in STEAM and want to explore the subjects in innovative ways outside the school curriculum.

While STEM/STEAM Clubs are a great way to get students involved in the area, a framework under which they operate brings their intention and processes into focus.

For the clubs to work optimally there needs to be an overarching structure; quite a lot of work on the area has been done overseas and it might prove instructional.

Successful STEAM club frameworks need to consider several factors if they’re to be effective. The STEAM club evaluation table from Education Scotland is a good place to find inspiration or opportunity for appropriation.

The authors make several suggestions:

Self-evaluation for self-improvement Staff, learners and partners should be encouraged to self-evaluate STEAM approaches and look inwards.

Leadership of learning Staff, learners, parents, STEAM partners and employers to learn with and from each other.

Leadership of change Through consultation, understanding of why STEAM is important for our learners, their families and our community should be developed. Senior leaders have set out the strategic direction for STEAM but leadership in STEAM is not overly-dependent on one person.

Management of resources to promote equity It’s important to audit available STEAM resources, including digital technologies, to see what can be used to enhance learning.

Curriculum Engage with STEAM challenges, themed weeks and events build confidence and understanding of STEAM and help develop our curriculum.

Learning, teaching and assessment Staff share successes and practice to enhance learning and teaching and ensure a more consistent approach.

Family learning Families are being consulted to better understand their needs and aspirations in relation to STEAM. 

Transitions Consultation and collaboration with learning community colleagues and partners is helping to improve transitions, information-sharing and pathways in STEAM.

Partnerships STEAM Ambassadors and employers enhance STEAM learning and teaching and promote STEAM careers. An understanding of the different contexts in which we work should be developed and the purpose of partnership working identified. 

Ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion STEAM is beginning to enhance wellbeing and outcomes for learners. Opportunities to promote equality, diversity, inclusion and equity through STEAM are to be explored.

Raising attainment and achievement/Securing children’s progress. Approaches to raising attainment and achievement, including in literacy and numeracy, through STEAM are another area to be investigated through trials. 

Creativity and employability STEAM careers fairs and websites like My World of Work raise the profile of STEAM skills and connect them with employment opportunities.

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