From education to employment

STEM Learning celebrates 20 years of transforming the lives of young people

20 Years
  • Millions of young people supported since STEM Learning started out in 2004 
  • Huge social value impact across two decades 
  • Major impact on STEM education with our support having a proven impact on teacher retention, student aspirations and teacher workload  

STEM Learning is celebrating 20 years of transforming the lives of young people and making a positive impact on society by launching the #STEMgiving20 campaign – urging organisations, individuals and educators to donate, volunteer and engage to help make a difference.  

STEM Learning began life in 2004 with a £25m grant from the charitable foundation Wellcome, and the first regional Science Learning Centre opened in November 2004. A year later, the first CPD course was delivered at the purpose-built Centre in York which still provides high-quality, impactful, evidence based CPD today. 

The impact of STEM Learning’s work is vast. In 2017, Education Datalab research showed that attending STEM Learning CPD improves teacher retention by up to 160%, and four years later, using robust HMT Green Book methodology, an analysis placed £440m worth of social value over three years on STEM Learning’s CPD. 

Since 2018, STEM Learning has worked with every school in the UK, and in that year the National Audit Office recognised that volunteer STEM Ambassadors increase the number of young people who pursue STEM study post-16 and go into a STEM career. 

Also in 2018, STEM Learning was awarded a grant from the DfE to create the National Centre for Computing Education, which focuses on driving school improvement and pupil outcomes through great computing education. By last year, the NCCE had already reached 23,000 schools with over 1m engagements – and female entries into Computing A level have more than doubled since the NCCE’s inception. 

In 2021, students taking part in STEM summer camps were found to achieve one grade higher in GCSE science. Data was also published showing that ENTHUSE Partnerships narrow the attainment gap for students from disadvantaged backgrounds – and up to 2022 these had generated £179m in social value – a 26x return on investment. This year also saw the launch of STEM Community – a safe, professional ‘SOS helpline’ for educators to share idea, experiences, network and get support – which now has 25,000 members. 

In 2022, as part of the DfE’s new climate and sustainability strategy, STEM Learning created Climate Ambassadors – and 2024 saw the launch of Destination STEM, bringing together various student-facing enrichment and outreach activities. 

Séverine Trouillet, STEM Learning’s CEO, said:

“20 years is a major milestone for us, and the perfect time to reflect on the incredible impact STEM Learning has had over the last two decades on the lives of young people and educators. 

“It’s hugely gratifying to think of the many thousands of people who are in rewarding STEM careers now as a result of a brilliant teacher who’s attended our CPD, was inspired by one of our fabulous volunteer STEM Ambassadors or tried an exciting experiment in one of our STEM Clubs. 

“However, we know there is still much to do to as we continue with our vision to improve lives through STEM education, and we will continue to work flat out to achieve this by improving teaching for better achievement in STEM, enriching learning to develop a love of STEM and growing the talent pool to foster a thriving UK economy.” 

STEM Learning is now focusing on continuing to deliver high quality CPD to STEM teachers, providing support to all schools in areas of high social disadvantage and ensuring teachers access quality assured resources. 

It will continue to offer high impact student-facing activities, provide targeted support for young people from under-resourced backgrounds and deliver hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteering from STEM Ambassadors. 

These aims will combine towards its vision and goals which include improving diversity in the STEM workforce, increasing social mobility for young people through improved employment prospects and reducing skill shortages. This will lead to economic growth due to a more highly skilled workforce, and contribute to the UK becoming a science and technology superpower. 

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