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Science Museum Group

Director of Learning Susan Raikes reflects on developing a new Learning Strategy for the Science Museum Group.

Our group of museums have for many decades been a recognised and crucial part of the STEM education ecosystem, working with national and international partners towards our mission of inspiring futures.

But a proud history doesn’t guarantee an excellent future, which is why we spent most of 2019 discussing and developing a new Learning Strategy that acknowledges our rich history, whilst being newly ambitious in terms of reach, reputation and innovation.

It embraces the Science Museum Group values of thinking big, revealing wonder, sharing authentic stories, igniting curiosity and being open for all. And it sets new standards both for the quality of our audiences’ engagement with our museums and for our colleagues’ experience of working for us.

The 2020-30 Learning Strategy makes it clear that we need to evolve and change our working practices to achieve our goals and that our offer in the future will be significantly different.

The strategy challenges us to engage more with new audiences, including age groups such as teenagers, who are underserved by our programmes. It lays out the need for us to be more representative of all of STEM subjects, embracing our role in engagement with climate science, technology, computing and maths as well as science and engineering.

It highlights colleagues’ desire to work together more collaboratively and flexibly, with more room for individuals to progress and grow in their roles across the whole of the Science Museum Group. Crucially, it prioritises the need for us to be open for all by focusing on and investing in our access, equity and local community partnership work.

The coronavirus pandemic caused us to delay our plans slightly, but with our museums open again, now is the right moment to explore the changes we need to make to achieve the goals of our new strategy.

To do everything that we know we want to, we are going to have to alter the way our Learning teams work across all our sites so that we can collaborate more fully and effectively together.

This may involve some upheaval in the short term, but these changes – about which we’re consulting with colleagues during September and October – will put us in a stronger position to fulfil our mission for our audiences and provide better progression, variety and development for our workforce.

We have a unique opportunity to re-shape how Learning works at the Science Museum Group to meet our goals for the next decade and ensure we continue to innovate in our content and working practices and lead practice across the sector.