The General Teaching Council for Scotland

National award for secondary teachers using creativity in maths and computer science launches

The hunt is on for secondary maths and computer science teachers using inventive ways to give young people the chance to get creative and solve problems.

Nesta, the UK innovation foundation, is launching Classroom Changemakers, a new award programme to unearth, celebrate and share great teaching ideas. 15 winners will be awarded £5,000 each towards furthering their subjects at their schools.

The World Economic Forum previously identified complex problem solving and creativity as two of the top three essential skills for work in 2020. The Scottish Government has prioritised creative learning and problem solving as important skills for the future workforce and STEM as core components of its Curriculum for Excellence.

This Nesta award aims to celebrate the teachers that are helping students to meet the demand that there will be for these skills in the future workplace, and to ensure that young people from all backgrounds are prepared. Teachers and teaching assistants will be recognised for finding exciting ways of giving students the chance to use a broader range of skills.

Applications for the award are open from today (20 January) on the Nesta website until 24 February 2020. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in March, with the winners being announced at an awards ceremony in April.

Applicants are encouraged to show how they have tested their ideas in the classroom, its impact on young people, and what inspired them to develop it. There will be a particular interest in initiatives that link maths or computer science to real-world problems or inspire a diverse range of students to engage with these subjects.

Adam Lang, Head of Nesta in Scotland, said: “Teachers across Scotland are doing an amazing job of inspiring our young people to engage with learning and we want to champion those taking innovative and creative approaches.

“Young people today need to be prepared for a society and a world of work that is changing rapidly. Being able to think creatively and solve problems are essential skills that will help our young people to succeed now and in the future.

“In an increasingly tech-driven society, maths, science and computing will be ever-more important, as will the ability to adapt and apply these disciplines creatively to the challenges we will face in the future. Recognising the vital role that today’s teachers play in this is what this award is all about.”

Nesta held a roundtable in Edinburgh in November 2019 with experts and practitioners (including a representative from GTCS) to discuss technology's role in preparing young people for the workforce of tomorrow.

Nesta has a history of scaling innovations that aim to improve young people’s skills; for example through the Future Ready Fund programme and Maths Mission. Nesta has also supported initiatives focused on computer science, encouraging young people to learn coding.