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Bookings are now being taken for school visits and online sessions as part of Transport Scotland’s expanded education programme for schools, based at the Forth Bridges Education Centre in South Queensferry and run by BEAR Scotland.
The popular STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) programme provides hands-on engineering-based learning opportunities for pupils from Primary 3 and above across Scotland.
Originally established to take advantage of the educational opportunities presented by the construction of the Queensferry Crossing, the roads, bridges and structures programme is now being expanded to cover the diversity of work carried out by Transport Scotland across a variety of fields.
This will include active travel, net zero, drainage and flooding, meeting climate change challenges, autonomous vehicles, and other environmental and sustainability topics. Over 50,000 young people took part in interactive sessions and field trips to the Forth Bridges between 2014 and 2020, when visits had to be suspended due to pandemic restrictions.
Since then, Transport Scotland’s operating company BEAR Scotland has worked with DYW Live (Developing the Young Workforce) and the Engineering Development Trust to offer online engineering workshops and activities to over 1,700 young people in the school year 2021-22.
Both face-to-face visits and online sessions will now be offered to schools, to maximise the number of young people that can benefit.
Face-to-face visits will include interactive presentations at the Forth Bridges Education Centre, followed by engineering challenges and field trips exploring the iconic local bridge structures.
Online sessions will be live and interactive, delivered via DYW Live, and teachers will be provided with lesson packs to carry out the engineering challenges in school.
BEAR Scotland will manage the education programme on Transport Scotland’s behalf, bringing together its established ‘BEAR Cubs’ and ‘BEAR Academy’ programmes for primary and high schools with Transport Scotland’s ‘Fantastic Forth Future Engineers’ programme to promote a wide range of engineering-related career opportunities to Scotland’s next generation.
Transport Minister Kevin Stewart MSP said: “It is fantastic to be able to announce this refreshed range of educational opportunities to our children and young people.
“The learning on offer has now been expanded to include not just our three incredible bridges, but also the other exciting work of Transport Scotland. Such as active travel, net zero, drainage and flooding, climate change challenges and autonomous vehicles.
“Building on the success of the previous programme which gained attention from schools right across Scotland and reached around 50,000 pupils. The renewed offer, based at the Forth Bridges Education Centre, provides a practical supplement to classroom teaching and learning in STEM related subjects.
“It is my hope that those taking part not only enjoy and value the experience, but it helps inspire them towards a future in this important sector.”
BEAR Scotland’s Managing Director Iain Murray commented: “Since 2020, BEAR Scotland has developed a successful online educational outreach programme in partnership with DYW Live, and we’re now excited to help Transport Scotland expand its offering to schools across Scotland.
“The Forth Bridges and the Education Centre in South Queensferry are fantastic resources to inspire Scotland’s next generation of engineers, so it’s great that young people across Scotland will be able to benefit.”
Bookings for school visits and online sessions are now available initially until October 2023 and from August bookings for academic year 2023/2024 will be taken. Schools can email: SchoolSTEM@BEARScotland.co.uk to arrange.
For further information on the programme please visit the Forth Bridges website.
DYW Live is a partnership between employers and organisations from around Scotland, delivered by e-Sgoil and Education Scotland. It facilitates live interactions between industry employers and learners, as well as their teachers, to provide career information, inspiration about the world of work and the necessary skills and qualifications required to access future job opportunities. It also provides live sessions that support learners’ development of employability skills, career pathways and industry connections. DYW Live is delivered by a small team behind the scenes (including primary and secondary teachers) and large network of around 70 partner organisations in front of the camera.
It takes in many points of historic interest, introduces local tales and folklore, and offers some incredible panoramic views.
A circular five mile route, the trail can easily be completed in a day. Take a picnic or stop off to sample the cafes along the way.
Walk or cycle, experience an epic train ride across The Forth Bridge and enjoy a boat trip on the Firth of Forth.