Author Archives: Education News Team

Universities urged to do more to support the poorest students⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Student outcomes inequality highlighted in latest Fair Access Commissioner paper.

Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville has urged the university sector to do more to support students from the most deprived backgrounds throughout their studies.

It comes as the latest discussion paper from the Commissioner for Fair Access shows the extent of the gap in retention rates, achievement levels and outcomes between students from the most disadvantaged communities and those from better off areas.

Ms Somerville said:

“This report brings in to sharp focus the extent and the range of the barriers which result in students from the most deprived backgrounds experiencing inequality at every step of their journey through university and into adult life.

“The Commissioner sets out a timely challenge to us all to do more to address this shocking inequality. Certainly I accept that challenge on behalf of the Government and would encourage universities to do likewise.

“It is an issue that I have raised consistently with university principals and intend to do so again through the next Widening Access Delivery Group. I have already asked the Scottish Funding Council to consider changes to the university outcome agreements. If more needs to be done to improve their effectiveness, then I will not hesitate to act.

“We must all be focused on picking up the pace of change. I am absolutely determined to ensure that more young people from our poorest communities don’t just make it to fresher’s fair, but to graduation day and beyond.”

Background

The Commissioner for Fair Access Discussion Paper: Retention, Outcomes and Destinations can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.

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Developing the digital skills to change career⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Last week Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley-Anne Somerville visited CodeClan, the UK’s first accredited digital skills academy.

Claire Smith, a graduate of CodeClan’s 16-week software development course, writes about her experiences as a career changer moving into the digital sector.

“After University I was lucky enough to get work in an industry that was relevant to my degree, Japanese Studies. However it didn’t pan out for several reasons. I found myself at a loss as to what to do next, and spent my free time working with a local Food Waste charity. Through this charity’s need to digitise their logistics I became involved in developing an app.

“From there, it was a natural process of wanting to push my skills further so I applied for CodeClan, although this involved some big risks that I had to consider, including money, time commitment and the big question of whether I would be able to get a job after doing the course. But I weighed it up and it seemed worth it.

 

“CodeClan is a 16-week intensive course covering the basics of web development. One thing I knew from the start was that it would not be a spoon-feeding course where your graduation present is a job. It involves your full commitment and pushing your learning further outside of class hours. However, the support of my instructors and teamwork with classmates kept me motivated through the course.

 

“Assignments were handed out daily as well as a mini project to cover each weekend. This led on to group projects, which I loved. The course highlighted that a successful project depends not just on technical knowledge but also learning about Agile methodology and the workflow process. But it’s not all work and no play. I was often in the ping pong room or having a game of Werewolf with other students.

 

“CodeClan organised Employer Sessions, where various companies would come in and give an insight of what it would be like to work for them. And by the end of the course, I had a portfolio covering a range of languages including Ruby, Java and Javascript to aid in getting a job.

 

“CodeClan put a lot of time into creating opportunities to meet employers, and it was through this that I got a job as a Backend Developer at Signal where I’ve  been working for just over a year.

 

“As a Backend Developer, I work mostly in PHP, a language that was not covered by CodeClan. But the experience of picking up various languages in just 16 weeks taught me the skills needed to get going with PHP. After a year working in the industry, I look back on the risk I took and I’m glad I was in the position to take it.

 

“One of the major learning curves I’ve had, and will continue to have, is being comfortable not knowing the answer – and having the curiosity to explore and research until I do. I am also lucky that my curiosity is supported and encouraged by my fellow colleagues. Working in a digital agency like Signal offers plenty of exciting challenges which helps keep me motivated to improve my skills.”

For more information about digital careers in Scotland visit digitalworld.net

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Year of Young People 2018: making the voices of young people heard⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Emma Hunter, aged 20, from Dundee, is a Digital Modern Apprentice working with the Year of Young People 2018 team.

On the eve of the new year, Emma writes about her hopes and ambitions for 2018.

AS a young person growing up in today’s political climate I feel that anything put in place to help young people is vitally important. That’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to be part of Year of Young People 2018.

Media is one of the focal points of modern life; it builds bridges between communities and cultures and shapes opinions on how we view the world. This resource is vitally important for young people, to make sure they have their voices heard on a wider, international platform. It’s a privilege my generation is lucky to have; I find it inspiring, if not a little overwhelming, how much the media can affect our perceptions as well as offering new ones.

I’ve always taken an interest in current affairs, especially those surrounding my own generation. I attended the Scottish Young People’s Conference in 2016 and was lucky enough to ask the Scottish Education Secretary questions about mental health care for young people. This is an issue close to my own heart and I found the opportunity eye-opening, as it was a room of like-minded people who all wanted their voices heard.

This was also one of the first times I felt like my voice was being heard by the wider public, not just by my peers. This is an opportunity I feel should be available to all young people in Scotland, as being heard can make any situation less daunting. To me this is what Year of Young People 2018 is all about: making sure the voices of all young people are heard.

I come from a background of adoption and also spent time in foster care. Unfortunately, when I was growing up I didn’t have access to a forum where I could give my thoughts and feelings about this subject. As well as this, I’ve spent time working with children in a foster family and they also felt like their voices were not being heard. A platform where people can share stories or simply read about other people is something is that Year of Young People can offer.

In my new role as Year of Young People Digital Apprentice, I will be using social media to communicate and share good news stories and I hope I can play a role in challenging negative stereotypes young people are too often faced with.

For more information visit yoyp2018.scot or follow @YOYP2018 #YOYP2018 on Twitter.

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Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research 2016⤴

from @ Engage for Education

The majority of pupils are well behaved and a credit to their school, according to teachers across Scotland.

Behaviour In Scottish Schools Research (BISSR) 2016 is based on feedback from school staff and provides a picture of behaviour and behaviour management approaches in publicly funded mainstream schools.

 The research shows:

  •  The vast majority of staff in schools report pupils as being generally well behaved. Between 79-99% of staff (ranging from support staff to headteachers) reported that pupils are generally well behaved
  • Most staff gave their own school ethos a high rating (between 86% and 96% of staff reported this)
  • The use of restorative approaches and solution oriented approaches increased between 2012 and 2016
  • Most teachers were confident of their abilities to promote positive relationships and behaviour and to respond to indiscipline in their classrooms

 Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I very much welcome the news that the majority of pupils in our schools are well behaved. We want all our children and young people to behave in a respectful manner, not only to staff but also to one another, and we will continue to work towards making even more progress in this area.

“I would like to thank all our school staff who work hard to promote the positive relationships we want our pupils to aspire to.”

 Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People, said:

“COSLA welcomes the publication of the latest Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research which, as in previous reports, highlights that the vast majority of pupils are well behaved and respectful to their peers and school staff. 

“This is due, in no small part, to the hard work of all staff and pupils in our schools to promote a culture of positive behaviours and I thank them all for contributing to creating that positive ethos. 

We will work with all our partners to make sure that we continue to make progress in this area – for our pupils, families and communities.”

 Tony Rafferty, National Parent Forum of Scotland, said:

“As a parent of an S3 pupil and a member of the National Parent of Scotland, I welcome this comprehensive report. Now all parents will be able to find out what the actual scenario in Scotland is, rather than the perceived situation.”

 Katie Rafferty, Director of respectme, said:

“As Scotland’s national anti-bullying service, respectme welcomes this report and its finding that most staff encounter positive behaviour from pupils all or most of the time. We should however draw lessons from the views of teachers contained within the report about levels of respect and resilience, particularly among primary school pupils. 

“We must ensure that all children and young people experience the positive ethos and cultures within their learning settings that help them reach their full potential. Fundamental to this are relationships that are based on respect; between children and between children and adults.

Ellen Doherty, General Teaching Council Scotland said:

“The General Teaching Council Scotland is always welcoming of research which provides further insight and understanding of the key issues that our registrants face every day and importantly has the potential to impact and the classroom.”

 Larry Flanagan, Educational Institute of Scotland, said:

“Both the research and the report highlight the key role of the teacher-pupil relationship in creating an ethos where positive behaviour can be promoted and negative action, such as bullying, can be challenged.

“Supporting schools by ensuring that adequate resources are in place to allow a focus on relationships to flourish is vital. The EIS is keen to work with other agencies to this end and welcomes the report as a stimulus to action in this area.”

 

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Celebrating Book Week Scotland⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Forthview Primary School in Edinburgh today to celebrate Book Week Scotland and the delivery of this year’s Read, Write, Count bags to Primary 2 and 3 pupils across Scotland.

The Read, Write, Count initiative gives practical support to parents and carers to help them get involved in their child’s learning. Read, Write Count bags are delivered to all children in Primaries 2 and 3 alongside Bookbug bags which are gifted to Primary 1 pupils and Read, Write, Count ‘home kits’ which have been delivered to P4-7 classes in selected schools for the first time this year.

As part of the visit to Forthview Primary School, Mr Swinney met Primary 2 pupils who were reading stories and doing counting activities from the Read, Write, Count bags with the help of Primary 7 buddies.

Mr Swinney said:  “Evidence shows that parental involvement has a significant positive effect on children’s achievement and I was pleased to hear how Read, Write, Count helps children and parents have fun while learning together.

“I want to see standards and attainment improving and literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing are the priorities for our children’s education. Parental involvement and engagement plays a prominent role in our national plan to tackle inequality and close the attainment gap between our least and most disadvantaged children.”

The Scottish Book Trust worked in partnership with Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland to devise and deliver this year’s bags. In total, 453,450 free books will be gifted to children in Primaries 1, 2 and 3 during Book Week Scotland.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “We are delighted to be gifting the ‘Read Write Count’ bags during Book Week Scotland as there is no better time to celebrate the joys of books and reading. Each bag contains books and activities especially chosen to encourage learning and storytelling in a fun way that engages the pupils’ interests, and supports their learning in the classroom. Book Week Scotland encourages reading for pleasure and the ‘Read Write Count’ bags build on this.”

www.readwritecount.scot

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Quality Improvement Awards 2017⤴

from @ Engage for Education

 National award ceremony celebrates quality improvement initiatives.

Nine individuals and organisations have been recognised for their work to improve services for babies, children, young people and families at the Quality Improvements Awards 2017.

The awards are designed to celebrate innovative quality improvement work that is strengthening support and services for families across Scotland, helping ensure every child has the best possible start in life and can reach their full potential as they grow up.

There were nine winners across ten categories including:

  • Achieving Results at Scale: South Lanarkshire Community Planning Partnership
  • Co-production with Families and Our Services: Midlothian Sure Start
  • Excellence for QI in Maternity, Neonatal and Paediatric: Royal Hospital for Children, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
  • Excellence for QI in Early Years: NHS Ayrshire and Arran: SPIN
  • Excellence for QI in Primary Years: Renfrewshire Council, Our Lady of Peace Primary School
  • Excellence for QI in Secondary Years: East Ayrshire Council
  • Inspiring Leadership: Carrie Lindsay, Executive Director Education and Children’s Services, Fife Council
  • Most Inspiring / Innovative Project: Renfrewshire Council, Glencoats Primary School
  • Quality Improvement Champion: Fiona Riddell, Stow Primary School, Scottish Borders
  • Top Team: Royal Hospital for Children, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

The awards were open to those delivering quality improvement work through the Maternity and Children’s Quality Improvement Collaborative (MCQIC), run by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC), run by the Scottish Government.

This year there were 140 entries across all ten categories, detailing how local people and teams have improved health, early years and family services and schools.

Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years said:

“The Quality Improvement Awards provide an opportunity to showcase and share proven approaches that are making a positive and lasting difference to the lives of children, young people and families.

“Evidence shows that collaboration builds capacity and interventions built on collaboration have the biggest impact.  These Awards demonstrate clearly, the link between collaborative working, better practice and improved outcomes and it is clear there are great examples already taking place across Scotland.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners and thank everyone who submitted an entry.”

 

Dr Brian Robson, Medical Director, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said:

“The QI awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by professionals and organisations throughout the public sector.

“Their work is imperative in helping to improve the life chances for babies and young people across Scotland.  Congratulations to all the winners and nominees who have shown such dedication to making Scotland the best place to grow up.”

 

Winners were announced at the QI Awards ceremony on Tuesday 21 November at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Further information and videos of the shortlisted and winning projects are available here.

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Making a difference through Quality Improvement⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Today over 700 practitioners representing the early years, health, education, police, social work and third sector services will gather in Glasgow to discuss how to make Scotland the #BestPlacetoGrowUp.

They will be joined by the Deputy First Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, the Minister for Childcare and Early Years and the Minister for Public Health and Sport.

 

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Regional Improvement Leads appointed⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Schools across Scotland will be able to draw on a range of expertise through six newly established Regional Improvement Collaboratives.

Each one will be led by a Regional Improvement Lead and will work with schools, using all available evidence, to provide targeted advice and support to drive improvement.

The leads have been appointed by agreement of Local Authority Chief Executives in each regional collaborative, and the Scottish Government advised by the Interim Chief Inspector of Education.

The leads will be responsible for ensuring a detailed Improvement Plan in consultation with their schools and headteachers is in place for each area by 2018. Scottish Government officials, along with Education Scotland, will meet shortly with each collaborative to support this detailed planning process.

Raising standards

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“This government’s overriding priority is to close the poverty-related attainment gap and raise standards for all.

“The new Regional Improvement Collaboratives will help achieve this by sharing evidence of what works and providing expert and practical support for teachers and schools. Having strong leadership is crucial to realising this aim, and I have written to each Regional Collaborative lead today congratulating them on their appointment to these crucial roles and inviting them to join the new Scottish Education Council.  I am confident the six leads – working with Education Scotland – will bring focus and pace to the Collaboratives.”

Improved support

 

Education Scotland has also assigned a regional lead officer to work with each improvement collaborative. They will work with regional improvement leads to identify staff from local authorities and Education Scotland to deliver the improved support for schools.

Graeme Logan, Interim Chief Inspector of Education said:

“The newly established Regional Improvement Collaboratives provide an opportunity to strengthen further and increase pace with the national endeavour to achieve excellence and equity for all children.

“Education Scotland looks forward to working together with the Regional Improvement Leads to improve the quality and consistency of support for schools and partners.”

The Regional Improvement Collaboratives and Leads are:

 

Regional Improvement Collaborative

 

 

Regional Improvement Lead

 

Forth Valley & West Lothian Collaborative

Clackmannanshire Council

Falkirk Council

Stirling Council

West Lothian Council

Robert Naylor, Director of Education, Falkirk Council
The Northern Alliance

Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeenshire Council

Argyll & Bute Council

Comhairle nan Eilean Sar

Highland Council

Moray Council

Orkney Islands Council

Shetland Islands Council

Gayle Gorman, Director of Children’s Services, Aberdeen City Council
South East Collaborative

Edinburgh City Council

East Lothian Council

Fife Council

Midlothian Council

Scottish Borders Council

Carrie Lindsey, Executive Director, Fife Council
South West Collaborative

East Ayrshire Council

North Ayrshire Council

South Ayrshire Council

Dumfries & Galloway Council

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Education, South Ayrshire Council
The Tayside Collaborative

Angus Council

Dundee City Council

Perth & Kinross Council

Sheena Devlin, Director of Children’s Services, Perth & Kinross Council
The West Partnership

East Dunbartonshire Council

East Renfrewshire Council

Glasgow City Council

Inverclyde Council

North Lanarkshire Council

Renfrewshire Council

South Lanarkshire Council

West Dunbartonshire Council

Mhairi Shaw, Director of Education, East Renfrewshire Council

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Record student support⤴

from @ Engage for Education

More Higher Education students than ever before are receiving financial assistance from the Scottish Government.

New statistics show 143,110 students received support in 2016-17, up from 141,000 the previous year.

The figures show that almost 3,000 additional students qualified for a non-repayable bursary or saw their funding increase as a result of the income threshold being raised from £17,000 to £19,000 last year. There was also an increase in the number of students receiving support through the Nursing and Midwifery Bursary scheme, from 8,790 to 8,915.

Infographic showing new statistics from Student Awards Agency Scotland showing record investment

 

 

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Gender balance in STEM⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Today the Minister for Further and Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, led a roundtable discussion with Scotland’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sheila Rowan, about gender inequality in STEM fields.

They were joined at the Scottish Parliament by representatives from across the sector to discuss actions to tackle the issue as part of the ongoing STEM consultation but also to share some of the great examples already in place throughout the country.

Deputy Head Teacher of Woodmill High School, Zoe Thomson, explained how the school is working with Gender Balance Scotland to encourage not just students, but parents and teachers too in tackling stereotyping in subject choice and career pathways.

Deputy Headteacher of Woodmill High School Zoe Thomson

Deputy Headteacher of Woodmill High School Zoe Thomson

 

 

The first step we took to a cultural shift was to put gender balance onto the remit of a Deputy Head Teacher, this allows gender balance to form part of the whole school improvement planning process. This is important as it enables us to have an overview of the strategic planning in order to involve partners, track progress and interrogate data.

“At Woodmill we have been lucky enough to be part of Shell’s Girls in Energy project. Last session 7 girls from S4-S6 attended Fife College one afternoon a week to look at the work undertaken in the energy industries. The girls took part in industrial visits and met with other students and apprentices, they also earned a National 5 skills for work unit for taking part. The partnership with Shell and Fife College has been crucial in the success of this project providing the students with a taste of “college life” and the opportunity to meet female engineers.

“One of our students from an earlier session has successfully secured an apprenticeship at Leonardo (formerly SELEX). Olivia was supported by members of Equate Scotland during her application and interview process which really helped her confidence and provided additional support we couldn’t offer within school. Another of our former students who took part in an earlier session has gone on to study Civil Engineering at Heriot Watt. Now both girls are  role models for our next cohort leading to 14 girls signing up for the 2016/17 session.

“Feedback from the girls has also been incredibly positive:

“This has shown me engineering is not about getting your hands dirty but more about creative problem solving.” – Sarah M S5                            

                                                         Caitlyn S4 – “I am not sure what I want to do but this has given me more options.”

 

 

“I have had more confidence to offer answers without the intimidation of boys.” – Millie S4

woodmill-high“As a school we work hard to create links with partners and Skills Development Scotland has helped us arrange talks from female apprentices. We have found this is more powerful when the speaker is close in age to the audience and also targeting a smaller group of girls rather than an entire year group.

“Girls rarely make their subject choice in isolation so our next challenge is to work on the unconscious bias and misinformation in parents and teachers. Pupils really only know about a small range of careers and we are working with our partners in Early years to begin to broaden these horizons from age three to ensure girls have equal access to STEM opportunities and the benefits they can bring.”