STEM directories gap analysis

Research on the data contained within the UK-wide STEM Directories to identify gaps and overlaps in provision.

This research focused on the data contained within the UK-wide STEM Directories to identify gaps and overlaps in provision, as well as how teachers perceive those gaps.

Three printed STEM Directories were published for the first time in September 2008, outlining the diverse initiatives offered to learning providers in science, mathematics and engineering across the UK. In order to inform the further development of the Directories, and the STEM Programme more generally, the Science Communication Unit at UWE has been working on a series of analyses to identify gaps and overlap in provision, as well as teachers' perceptions of those gaps.

Recent work focused on mapping across the schemes and activities provided within the existing STEM Directories, as well as a survey and telephone interviews with teachers. Note that this work did NOT comment on the quality or otherwise of the schemes involved; it merely mapped the existence of provision to the identified topic areas.

Aims and Objectives

The work at Phase 3 was focused on identifying existing gaps and overlaps in provision of national enhancement & enrichment (E&E) activities across KS3 and KS4 STEM subjects.

The objectives of the current phase of work are:

  • To develop a topic categorisation system and associated coding framework (PDF)
  • Pilot the framework against a sample of 21 STEM Directory entries
  • Assess all relevant STEM Directory entries using the coding framework by reviewing each provider's website
  • Use a questionnaire (PDF) to assess teachers' perceptions of existing enhancement and enrichment activities and the STEM Directories
  • Interview 5-10 teachers to gain deeper insight into the findings from the questionnaire data

This work was supported by the Department for Education (formerly known as DCSF, the Department for Children, Schools and Families) and was overseen by a strategic management group and STEM Directories Consortium consisting of key institutions involved in the STEM Programme.


Key recommendations from the work were made available to the Strategic Management Group prior to the start of the 2010/11 academic year. Findings were also discussed with activity providers at the British Interactive Group BIG Event and you can find the results of this work on the UWE Research Repository.