SSERC, formally constituted as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and a registered Scottish Charity set up for the benefit of Scottish Education. All 32 Scottish Local Authorities are members of the company. Although in existence since 1965, SSERC was formally incorporated and registered as a charity in 1991. SSERC’s services are complex, highly specific and unique in Scottish education.
Our headquarters are currently in Dunfermline, although our reach is across all parts of Scotland.
Our Board of Directors comprises elected members from Scottish councils, senior education officers and representatives from The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, School Leaders Scotland, The Association of Head Teachers and Deputes in Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament. The Board meets on a quarterly basis.
Senior Management Team
The SSERC Senior Management Team has the responsibility for the day today running of the organisation and putting in place the actions required to achieve the vision set for the organisation. They hold specific executive powers delegated to them with and by authority of the SSERC Board of Directors.
Director of Finance
Director of Professional Learning
Director of Advisory Service
Kath Crawford MBE
Senior Associate: Primary
Head of STEM Engagement
Organisational Structure Chart
SSERC offers a broad portfolio of services, principally in support of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) areas of the curriculum, which are not available from any other source and which can be broken down into three main stands of activity:-
- Provision of Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) for early years, primary and secondary teachers and school and college technicians
- The Advisory Service
- Lead Coordination role for STEM Ambassadors in Scotland and wider STEM engagement activities
It is important that risks are managed responsibly and sensibly. We believe that health and safety legislation should not be a barrier to the provision of valuable learning experiences for young people and we offer a range of training courses and guidance materials which discourage bureaucratic and over complex methods of risk management. Our range of services include:
- Specialist Health & Safety advice for schools and Local Authorities.
- Unlimited access to specialist advisors in Primary Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technology, Technician Services and Health and Safety.
- Guidance and compliance advice for Radiological Health & Safety legislation through our Radiation Protection Adviser.
- Free Management of Health & Safety courses for Curriculum Leaders. Other specialist Health & Safety courses, including Radiological Protection, which are heavily subsidised or free.
- Access to the SSERC website – curriculum support materials, Health & Safety advice and resources e.g. exemplar Risk Assessments for both specific subject and whole school activities.
- Professional development programmes for managers, teachers and technicians.
- Recommendations on equipment and design of specialist accommodation.
- Free consultancy and technical information.
- Apparatus testing for safety, performance and conformance with standards.
Career Long Professional Learning
SSERC works with a range of partners, including the Scottish Government, National STEM Learning Centre (NSLC), The Primary Science Teaching Trust and others to deliver a programme of experiential CLPL for early years, primary and secondary teachers, student teachers and technicians focussing on STEM.
Our professional development courses range from twilight events, day-courses through to residential meetings lasting up to 5 days in total (these latter courses are generally delivered over 2 parts). A number of our courses are delivered through e-learning systems and use SSERCmeet technology. Our curriculum coverage spans both primary and secondary sectors and we offer events for teachers, trainee teachers and technicians. Our portfolio is varied and includes:
- Courses for Probationers and newly qualified teachers
- Subject specific courses for teachers in primary and secondary sectors
- A range of transition courses to promote enhanced interaction between primary and secondary practitioners
- The annual Scottish Universities Science School
- Health and Safety courses for teachers and technicians
- Design and manufacturing courses for technology teachers
- Courses targeted at science and technology support staff (many of these courses are levelled and credit-rated by SQA within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
- Leadership courses for Curriculum Leaders and Heads of Faculty
- The annual SSERC Science and Technology Conference
What people say about SSERC CLPL:
“The learning and teaching has improved along with teacher confidence, the response from pupils has been great”
“Really useful practical ideas which can be taken back and used with Primary 1”
“The activities are great for developing scientific thinking with children and have allowed me to become more confident about teaching science and supporting learners”.
Delegates at a number of our courses are eligible to receive grants to support their attendance. Teachers in Local Authority funded-schools in Scotland may qualify for an ENTHUSE Award from NSLC to cover registration and accommodation costs associated with the courses.
STEM Ambassador Programme Liaison Lead in Scotland
SSERC, on behalf of STEM Learning, works in partnership with the three Scottish STEM Ambassador Hubs to ensure a seamless offering to support the education community.
STEM Ambassadors work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences. They are volunteers from 17-70 years old, representing a vast range of STEM-related jobs across the UK. Our Ambassadors include apprentices, zoologists, set designers, climate change scientists, engineers, farmers, geologists, nuclear physicists and architects. They help to open the doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from pursuing STEM subjects and careers. They not only inspire young people; they also support teachers in the classroom by explaining current applications of STEM in industry or research. STEM Ambassadors work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences.
At its 118th meeting on the 1st June 2018, the SSERC Board of Directors and Trustees (the Board) approved the mission and vision statements for the organisation, which set out the strategic direction to 2030. The Board also agreed the values that will underpin all work activities to achieve Vision 2030.
To inspire and support STEM educators through health and safety advice and practical, hands on, experiential professional learning, for the benefit of learners.
Some definitions to support our mission statement:
By STEM we mean the curriculum areas as defined by the Scottish Government’s definition of STEM.
By educators we mean all educational practitioners including:
- Early years practitioners
- Classroom assistants
- Learner support teachers
- Primary school teachers
- Secondary school teachers
- School Technicians
- Further Education lecturers and technicians
This also includes those involved in wider STEM education e.g. STEM Ambassadors.
Learners – this term includes the broad range of learners covered by formal education i.e. early years through to Further Education
SSERC is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for STEM learning and support.
Respect: We treat others as we expect to be treated…
We acknowledge and respect differences in each other, and provide a safe, supportive environment in which all individuals and staff are valued and encouraged to engage in open two-way communication. We understand the needs and expectations of stakeholders and go out of our way to meet these.
Innovation: We provide unique solutions and ideas…
We embrace change, for ourselves and for our stakeholders and partners. We are continuously moving forward, innovating and improving, with a strong focus on sustainable processes and practices. We continually offer new inexpensive ideas that can be translated into the learning environment with ease.
Integrity: We do the right thing …
We demonstrate honesty, fairness, openness and clear boundaries in all our interactions, behaviours and practices within the organisation and with those that we engage with externally. People trust us to adhere to our word. We will adhere to practices that support business sustainability1
Passion: What we do we do with enthusiasm…
We use our drive and commitment to energise, engage and inspire others. We show pride, enthusiasm and dedication in everything that we do. We are committed to delivering high quality products and services.
Excellence: What we do we do well…
We take pride in our work and strive to achieve the highest standards of quality and excellence by continuously learning, developing and improving. We will demonstrate a commitment to teamwork and sharing knowledge, resources and skills.
 By business sustainability we mean the management and coordination of environmental, social and financial demands and concerns to ensure responsible, ethical and ongoing success.
We are grateful to the range of partner organisation who support the work of SSERC. This section of the website provides a brief overview of each partner organisation including details of the support that they provide us.
The Scottish Association for Metals
The Scottish Association for Metals is the direct successor of the West of Scotland Iron and Steel Institute.
The Association is the learned society and professional institution for metallurgists and materials technologists in Scotland. It organises a programme of technical meetings and visits to inform and update those working in manufacturing industries, education and training about current developments and practices in materials technology. It is also a recognised Scottish charity (charity number SC014102).
We are grateful to the Association for it’s ongoing support in assisting Technology teachers and technicians access SSERC professional learning opportunities.
The Edina Trust provides non-competitive, easy-to-access grants, for primary schools in certain areas of the UK, to be used to promote the teaching of science and gardening.
The Edina Trust is pleased to collaborate with SSERC because of its shared aim to enhance the teaching and learning of science. In Edina’s case the focus is on Primary science and it respects SSERC’s work in this area along with its selection for government funding for its Primary Cluster Programme in Science and Technology. Providing one off science grants to schools that have participated in this programme is an effective way for Edina to ensure that its funds are spent in a focussed manner.
Its Science Resources for Schools scheme links the Edina funded resources closely to teachers’ recent CPD experience; this maximises the impact of SSERC’s CPD training by enabling teachers to put their learning into practice while still enthused by their SSERC training. The two-part structure of the programme is also valued in that this ensures teachers put their learning into practice in their gap task period. The purchase of hands on resources for pupils leaves a lasting legacy of Edina’s support of schools.
SSERC’s remit to train teachers across the whole of Scotland enables Edina to reach schools in areas where its traditional Science Grant Scheme model does not work. Although Edina’s work covers the whole of the UK it intentionally funds more Scottish projects because it a Scottish registered charity; its collaboration with SSERC helps this to be achieved.
The Edina Trust sought and valued SSERC’s input when developing its in-house boxed science kit, free to UK schools. The resulting “Science Close Up” kit has been well received by teachers who have commented on its simplicity and its flexibility. The Trustees are considering extending the numbers of boxes available to schools to 50 this year based on the demand for last year’s boxes
ESP is a collaboration of Scotland’s colleges and industry partners established to increase Scotland’s capability and capacity to deliver the right skills for the energy, engineering and construction sectors to meet industry demand.
Building on this ESP has identified three new priorities:
- Innovation in Education
- STEM Strategy
- Emerging Technologies
By working in a cohesive partnership Scotland’s colleges demonstrate a responsiveness and collective capability to provide the technical skills required by industry.
SSERC and ESP will work in partnership to develop and deliver Career Long Professional Learning to support the needs to the education community in Scotland.
Primary Science Teaching Trust
The Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) is a registered charity whose goal is to facilitate the development and dissemination of excellence in primary science. As a strategic partner of SSERC, we work together to promote excellence in the learning and teaching of science (and technology) in primary schools in Scotland. This strategic partnership allows SSERC to further develop and extend its Primary Cluster Programme in Scottish primary schools, allowing for the development of a sustainable and scalable model. The partnership with PSTT provides support for the appointment of both a Primary science education officer and a research assistant.
Scottish Government: Learning Directorate
Our main contact with Scottish Government is with the Learning Directorate which aims to ensure success for Scotland’s learners through an effective school system and wider learning environment.
It is responsible for:
- promoting quality implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence
- developing a teaching workforce with the right ambition, skills and motivation
- leadership in schools, communities and nationally
- ensuring infrastructure and access to digital technology is available
- implementing a system that focuses on performance improvement, innovation and good practice.
We are grateful to the Scottish Government for its financial support which facilitates a range of career long professional learning to support those in the education community with a specific focus on STEM.
Scottish Seabird Centre
The Scottish Seabird Centre is a conservation and education charity dedicated to inspiring people to care for wildlife and the natural environment. They are a non-profit making visitor attraction: income is invested in by their charitable work undertaken by their committed team of staff and volunteers.
Their vision is to inspire people to appreciate and care for wildlife and the natural environment in a fun, interactive, informative and sustainable way.
SSERC and Scottish Seabird Centre collaborate on the development of professional learning materials to support the education community in Scotland.