There are significant overlaps across the new STEM curricula, especially between science and maths. Michael Anderson discusses what this means for schools and the renewed importance of cross-curricular learning

Mathematical skills are key to excelling in every STEM subject, but mathematics teachers sometimes don’t identify as teaching a STEM subject. Why?

During my teaching career I can think of no time, hand on heart, where I have thought of myself as a STEM teacher.

I’m a maths teacher – and unless you count the two-week primary placement during my teacher training – I’m a secondary maths teacher at that. Ask some of my maths teacher colleagues, and they will go further: “I only teach key stage 4 maths,” or “Me? I’m actually a statistician/a ‘pure’ maths teacher/a mechanics specialist.”

Others – despite teaching maths – will claim not to be mathematicians at all, let alone a fully fledged teacher of STEM. It is the same with computing, design and technology and science teachers (where the lines that separate biologists, chemists and physicists are more firmly entrenched). This segregation is an understandable result of partitioning the curriculum into individual areas.

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