STEM report

STEM report

STEM in our schools

A parliamentary STEM report cheat sheet for teachers.

A comprehensive STEM report that includes a number of STEM education recommendations for tertiary, VET and secondary schools was released this week.

You can read the full list of recommendations from the Commonwealth of Australia’s 2017 Innovation & Creativity report.

In short the report:

1. Recognises that STEM has been in decline

2. Encourages TAFE and unis to work to link VET qualifications to STEM bachelor degrees and jointly offer courses

3. Recommends:

  • – including a unit of business and entrepreneurship skills in STEM degrees;
  • – improving STEM education through streamlining and implementing better teacher training and resources;
  • – facilitating a national approach to STEM teaching and learning that meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; and
  • – identifying the skill base that employers require from STEM graduates in the workforce now and in the future.

7. The Committee recommends that Australian Government funding for schools require reporting on funding for:

  • – proportions of teachers with STEM qualifications; and
  • – mismatch; where STEM teaching is performed by non-STEM trained teachers.

8. The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, through COAG, require jurisdictions to:

  • – ensure every school has a STEM specialist, responsible for driving STEM as a priority among staff and students;
  • – report their STEM professional development programs for teaching staff; and
  • – guide principals on being leaders in STEM.

9. The Committee recommends that the National Innovation and Science Agenda explicitly recognise the importance of STEAM, creative digital skills, the creative industries and the arts more generally.

The STEM report offers many more recommendations, but of interest on point 4 – the Chief Scientist’s portal for STEM resources and activities is in beta and launching shortly (called The Star Portal, it provides a home for all STEM activities and providers, and a place for families to find out about local STEM activities for children and for providers to find partners with which to collaborate).

You can find Careers with STEM teacher resources here.

View our infographic and recommendations here.

– Heather Catchpole


1. The proportion of girls who elect to study no mathematics after Year 10 has tripled from 7.5% in 2001 to 21.5% in 2011. Page 12

2. The corresponding proportion of boys also tripled, but from a much lower base level, from 3.1% to 9.8%. Page 12

3. Fifteen percent of Australian students were top performers in mathematical literacy compared to 56% of students in Shanghai–China and 12% of students across the OECD. Page 15

4. Currently only a minority of Australia’s primary school teachers have an educational background in a STEM discipline. In 2011, only 16 per cent of Year 4 students were taught science by a teacher who specialised or majored in science and only 20 per cent had a teacher who specialised in mathematics. Fewer than one in three primary teachers has completed any tertiary study in computing or information technology. Page 26

5. STEM media company, Refraction Media argued that STEM role models would assist secondary school students to understand the range of careers which STEM education can lead to and encourage students to continue these studies at the higher education level. Page 22

6. Professor Geoff Prince, Director, Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI), noted that ‘40% of Year 7 who attend math classes around Australia are taught by somebody other than a maths teacher’ and that in regional and remote areas there are many schools where there are no qualified maths teachers.’ Page 28

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs