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Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

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Why is STEM important?

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) touches every aspect of our lives, from our smartphones to the technologies that enable us to explore the world around us and outer space. It also drives innovation in our fast-changing global economy. To succeed in this environment and for Queensland to continue to prosper into the future, our students need a strong foundation in STEM.

We need a reliable pipeline of specialist STEM skills; but we also need informed workers, users and consumers who have the curiosity and imagination to be part of the broader STEM economy. This must be underpinned by lifetime engagement for all Australians with STEM, beginning in childhood and constantly renewed as knowledge and technologies expand.

(Office of the Chief Scientist STEM: Australia's Future, September 2014, p21)

A strategy for STEM in Queensland state schools

A strategy for STEM in Queensland state schools (PDF, 654KB) document details the Queensland Government's plan for the direction of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Advancing STEM in Queensland’s state primary schools

The Advancing STEM in Queensland state primary schools initiative is an exciting opportunity for schools to improve STEM outcomes for students throughout Queensland. 

In 2017 the Queensland Government committed $81.3m to help primary schools in Queensland transform learning and teaching, participation and achievement in STEM. Further information, resources and support for Principals and school leaders can be found on the Advancing STEM in primary schools core funding page

All schools are encouraged to invest their funds to develop sustainable, evidence-based approaches to improving STEM outcomes for their students. A series of resources, tools, web conferences and a face to face inquiry workshop for school leaders will be offered to engage schools in purposeful planning and to assist in the development of a sustainable implementation model.

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With employment in STEM growing two times faster than non-STEM occupations, key aspects of the strategy focus on:

  • building teacher capability to transform STEM learning
  • increasing student engagement in STEM learning
  • achieving excellence in STEM learning.

The STEM strategy aligns with Advancing education: An action plan for education in Queensland. The strategy is further complemented by #codingcounts which focuses on coding and robotics in Queensland schools.

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Premier's Coding Challenge #cybersafeqld

The Premier’s Coding Challenge is an annual state-wide initiative for all Queensland students in Year 3 to Year 10. The Premier’s Coding Challenge aims to encourage an interest in STEM in Queensland students.

The Premier’s Coding Challenge offers great prizes and an excellent opportunity for students to create some interactive and innovative coding to raise awareness of cybersafety and help Queenslanders by providing tips to improve their cybersafety.

Robots and drones in Queensland State Schools

Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies provides opportunities for students to develop skills through coding and the use of robots and drones.

The Department of Education has developed advice and resources for schools to assist in the use of robots and drones in Australian Curriculum: Science Technology and Maths. The Queensland Drones Strategy encourages the use of drones in implementing the Australian Curriculum.

Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow school grants

One hundred and sixteen state primary and high schools (DOCX, 23KB), including some clusters of schools, will share in 100 Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow grants. The schools or cluster of schools each receive or share in a $16,600 grant to nurture the next generation of digital entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial skills are essential to drive innovation, productivity and global awareness. Schools will use their coding, robotics and entrepreneurial programs to provide opportunities for students to create innovative digital solutions and to connect with industry expertise. Schools will build students' entrepreneurial skills through real world experiences by inspiring them to be the creators of Queensland's future.

STEM Teacher Symposium

The STEM Teacher Symposium is a two-day professional learning opportunity for state school teachers and leaders, held in Brisbane during the September holidays.

The Symposium is a key priority of Advancing Education - An action plan for education in Queensland, designed to build teacher capability and in turn, lift student participation and achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The event brings together experts from education, research and industry to transform STEM education by enhancing knowledge of the latest developments in STEM, translating research into practice, modelling best-practice and facilitating partnerships between schools, universities and industry.

For further information, please email stem@qed.qld.gov.au.

STEM hub

The STEM hub brings together information, resources and advice for students and parents wanting to learn more about STEM. Visit the hub to find out more about:

  • STEM subjects
  • STEM resources for students and parents
  • STEM careers and pathways and the wide-ranging opportunities that a STEM career can offer
  • STEM events, such as the Peter Doherty Awards
  • why STEM is important to our future, plus much more.

STEM Girl Power Initiative

The annual STEM Girl Power Initiative is a key priority of Advancing Education - An action plan for education in Queensland. The initiative is a 12-month program that encourages girls to participate in STEM by engaging in a range of exciting STEM experiences and inviting them to inspire other students, by being a STEM ambassador in their school and community.

The program begins with the STEM Girl Power Camp in Term 1, which coincides with the annual World Science Festival Brisbane.

One Year 9 student can be nominated from each school by the principal to participate in the camp of the following year — when the student is in Year 10. Participants will visit the World Science Festival, universities and act as STEM ambassadors back at school.

Visit the STEM Girl Power page or contact the stem@qed.qld.gov.au for more information.

STEM review

As part of its commitment to Advance Queensland, the Queensland Government has prepared an Interim review of STEM education in Queensland state schools. The review is based on a 2015 survey of more than 900 Queensland state school principals and was guided by a Griffith University literature review of international best practice in STEM. The main findings of the review support strategies to scale-up STEM education in Queensland schools, and confirm a need for:

  • greater STEM participation from female and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • more research in the emerging areas of engineering and computer programing in schools
  • continuing external STEM partnerships between schools, industry, tertiary institutions and education organisations
  • more professional development in STEM for primary school teachers.

Read the full Interim review of STEM education in Queensland schools (DOCX, 3.9MB).

Last updated 03 May 2019