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Students start training as science teachers in link-up between Stirling and Heriot-Watt

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Gordon Smith
New student Gordon Smith is studying across Stirling and Heriot-Watt to become a Secondary School Physics Teacher

The universities of Stirling and Heriot-Watt have launched a new joint undergraduate degree programme which will train a cohort of chemistry and physics secondary school teachers.

Set up with additional funding from the Scottish Government to help tackle a shortage of STEM teachers in Scotland, the innovative programme will combine Stirling’s excellence in education with Heriot-Watt’s reputation for excellence in the sciences.

The first cohort have now started their studies and will lead the way for future generations of STEM-subject teachers.

Dr Sandra Eady, Director of the Initial Teacher Education programme at the University of Stirling, said: “Teachers qualified in the STEM subjects are vital to helping more children engage with science. With a track record in delivery the very best in education training, we will ready our students with the theoretical and practical experience to teach chemistry or physics in secondary schools.

“We believe having the best teachers in place will ensure the pupils they go on to educate will one day attain highly-skilled jobs that are reactive and relevant to the needs of today’s economy. We look forward to working with Heriot-Watt to help deliver this pioneering new course and the next generation of science teachers for Scotland.”

Led by Stirling, students are matriculated at both universities and will benefit from the facilities, support and academic excellence of both institutions throughout their studies.

21-year-old physics and education student Gordon Smith said: “I found out about the new course through Clearing, having previously studied mechanical engineering. I always wanted to do teaching but thought I would have split the science and the education. I had some brilliant physics teachers growing up and want to engage young people in science and bring out the practical side of things.

“I’m looking forward to gradually building up my teaching skills through Stirling: first learning to teach with local school pupils on campus and then going on placements and getting that first-hand experience. I see Heriot-Watt as being beneficial for learning physics and having these concepts broken down across in tutorials so it should be a good mix.”

Gillian Thomson Director of Learning and Teaching in Heriot-Watt’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “We are delighted to be part of such a forward-looking initiative to combat the shortage of STEM teachers in Scotland. The ability to engage young people in STEM subjects through-out the education life-cycle is vitally important to the future prosperity of Scotland."

The BSc (Hons) in Chemistry or Physics and Professional Education is a four-year course.

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Background information

Media enquiries to Corrie Campbell, Communications Officer on 01786 466 169 or

Find out more about the BSc (Hons) in Chemistry or Physics and Professional Education here.

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