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STEM Leaders Qualification

Give your students the head start they deserve

About the STEM Leaders Qualification

What is the STEM Leaders Qualification (SLQ) and who is it aimed at ?

The SLQ is a qualification developed by the Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University and Pearson Edexcel with support from the Comino Foundation and the Specialist Schools Academies Trust (SSAT). It consists of a series of STEM leadership units that sit within the BTEC WorkSkills suite and can be combined to create STEM Leadership Skills qualifications.

Teachers who have already delivered the qualifications tell us that it can works particularly well with young people who need to develop STEM confidence. Others feel that the SLQ is best used with students who benefit from the 'stretch and challenge' linked to STEM that can be built into the programme.


What levels is it available at?

The Leadership Certificate is a 13-credit qualification at either Level 1 or Level 2. Learners must take five units available at Level 1 and Level 2 to make 10 credits (each unit is worth two credits) to establish key leadership skills. Learners can then proceed onto completing the Certificate by choosing 3 credits from the WorkSkills suite. Learners who don’t complete the full Certificate can still receive a general WorkSkills Award (3 credits).

We're currently piloting Level 3 WorkSkills units to develop a Level 3 Award in Leadership, as follows:

  • Developing Personal Skills for Leadership (2 credits)
  • Practising Leadership Skills with Others (2 credits)
  • Learning with Colleagues and Other Learners (2 credits)
  • Learning from More Experienced People (2 credits)
  • Communicating Solutions to Others (2 credits)

How many units must learners take?

The Leadership Certificate is a 13-credit qualification at either Level 1 or Level 2. Learners must take five units available at Level 1 and Level 2 to make 10 credits (each unit is worth two credits) to establish key leadership skills. Learners can then proceed onto completing the Certificate by choosing 3 credits from the WorkSkills suite. Learners who don't complete the full Certificate can still receive a general WorkSkills Award (3 credits).


How will it help the young people we work with?

STEM learning develops personal and leadership capabilities with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills. The aim is to:

  • increase motivation to learn STEM subjects
  • improve the chances of learners applying these skills in the workplace
  • increase employability
  • give added value to their work in STEM subjects.

The SLQ offers opportunities to accredit STEM skills and capabilities along with leadership development not usually recognised in qualifications. Units include:

  • Developing Personal Skills for Leadership (2 credits)
  • Practising Leadership Skills with Others (2 credits)
  • Learning with Colleagues and Other Learners (2 credits)
  • Learning from More Experienced People (2 credits)
  • Communicating Solutions to Others (2 credits)

Students can use their SLQ to demonstrate their leadership skills when applying for jobs or courses. Having undertaken the SLQ students can emphasise their interest in STEM subjects beyond the necessary study for their examination (for example in UCAS or apprenticeship applications).

Case studies from schools and colleges who have offered the SLQ in the past give further examples of how it has helped their students (add links).


What sorts of projects have schools and colleges offered in the past?

The STEM Leaders Qualification is very flexible and schools deliver it in a variety of ways, often through enrichment activities such as STEM Clubs (put link to Painsley case study here) or as an activity within STEM lessons (put link to Newport Girls High School here). Don't forget, the focus needs to be on leadership within STEM related activities - otherwise it will simply be a Workskills Qualification rather than a STEM one.


What are the rules for combination?

There is information on the Pearson Edexcel website which explains how core and optional units can be combined at Levels 1 and 2 (Introduction To STEM Leadership Skills)


How do centres sign up for STEM?

Centres that already deliver WorkSkills will automatically be given qualification approval for the STEM qualifications. They are then free to make registrations in the normal way. Centres that are new to WorkSkills will need to gain qualification approval in the normal way via Edexcel Online before they can make registrations. You can find out about how to offer the qualifications, how to become an approved centre and enquire about the availability of training, by email: workskills@edexcel.com


What's different about the SLQ?

The SLQ scheme is based on the Personal Capabilities model which has been extensively researched and developed for a decade by Dr Lynne Bianchi* at the Centre for Science Education. It is founded on three core domains of leadership - collaboration, self belief and thinking. This fully accredited qualification is designed for secondary students and:

  • motivates & enthuses students about study and careers in STEM
  • supports development of essential personal skills and capabilities relevant for life and work
  • promotes self- responsibility, self-esteem and self-determination
  • enables & encourages team working and leadership development so important in business
  • provides interaction with STEM practitioners, careers awareness and workplace experience
  • allows credit to be gained from engaging with STEM initiatives, with an emphasis on project work, creative, innovative and enterprise development

* Bianchi, Dr L (2002) 'Teacher's Perceptions of the teaching of Personal Capabilities through the Science Curriculum' PhD Thesis, Sheffield Hallam University


Are there any training courses I can attend regarding the SLQ?

We are able to offer one day courses, aimed at teachers/lecturers and advisers, providing information about the qualification, how to get started, what types of experiences to provide and more. For more information please contact us.


What are the LARA codes for the SLQ?

The LARA code is exactly the same as the qualification number used by Ofqual, but it is presented without '/' characters. For the two Leadership (STEM) qualifications, the LARA codes are:

  • 60023788 Pearson BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Leadership Skills (QCF)
  • 6002379X Pearson BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Leadership Skills (QCF)