Catalyst for change in STEM


​​​Ambition: Learning for Life​,​ Excellence in Science
Education State Target: By 2025, 33 per cent more 15 years olds will be reaching the highest levels of achievement in scientific liter​acy.​​

In a small town near the South Australian border, kids are being educated and inspired to create and excel in the jobs of tomorrow. 

Casterton Secondary College teachers Steven Rathmell and Pedro Mello are training to become STEM Catalysts - experts who can inspire fellow teachers to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics alive for Year 7 and 8 students.

Sixty teachers from 30 of the State’s most disadvantaged schools are taking part in the program. This program builds on successful international STEM education programs, as well as Victoria’s Primary Mathematics and Science Specialists initiative.

“It’s been a great opportunity for the kids out here to get enthusiastic about what are such important subject areas,” said Mr Rathmell. 

The 60 STEM Catalysts are undertaking a two-year Graduate Certificate of STEM Education - a new, specially-designed qualification being delivered by Deakin University. 

The course is building the teachers’ STEM knowledge and classroom skills, giving them the confidence to drive real improvements in their schools.

The Government has set a target that by 2025, one-third more 15 year olds will reach the highest levels of achievement in science. ​

As part of the program, the ‘Catalysts’ run school-based projects with colleagues and students which addresses local needs.

“We ran a three-week challenge with our Year 7 kids earlier this year to design and build a wind turbine,” Mr Rathmell said. 

“As well as teaching the kids about data analysis and physics, it built their skills in team building, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“The kids are having a great time learning about STEM​.”