Author Archives: Jill McPherson

Looking ahead to our new improved Parentzone Scotland website⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Parentzone Scotland is one of Education Scotland’s three websites that are moving to a new platform by December 2016. The layout, content and structure of Parentzone Scotland will mostly stay the same but it will have a new improved design and enhanced formatting functions.  The new website platform will allow us to make further improvements and enhancements to Parentzone Scotland in future as more content is added to the site.  It will also ensure visitors to the website have a better user experience.

Read more about changes to our other websites or sign up to receive information about news and events which are of interest to parents and carers.

Changes to the NQ Music Site⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Preparations are well underway for a major update to the Education Scotland websites to ensure we continue to meet the needs of practitioners as Scotland’s education system evolves.

Among a wide range of changes will be a refreshed National Qualifications (NQ) site. Most NQ content is being moved across to the new NQ site or being repositioned into Glow. Due to licensing and technical restrictions, there will be some changes to the NQ Music site and the way it works.

  • Due to licensing restrictions, the NQ music site will now be available through an archive site for an interim period. The music clips will also be available on Glow. Links to both will appear in the new NQ site.
  • Due to technical restrictions, some NQ Music site functionality may be different.

Find out more about the overall websites programme.

Changes to the NQ Music Site⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Preparations are well underway for a major update to the Education Scotland websites to ensure we continue to meet the needs of practitioners as Scotland’s education system evolves.

Among a wide range of changes will be a refreshed National Qualifications (NQ) site. Most NQ content is being moved across to the new NQ site or being repositioned into Glow. Due to licensing and technical restrictions, there will be some changes to the NQ Music site and the way it works.

  • Due to licensing restrictions, the NQ music site will now be available through an archive site for an interim period. The music clips will also be available on Glow. Links to both will appear in the new NQ site.
  • Due to technical restrictions, some NQ Music site functionality may be different.

Find out more about the overall websites programme.

Adapting our approach⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

AGD 2015 imageBy Alastair Delaney, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Inspection, Education Scotland

There’s a famous Chinese proverb that states ‘A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it’.

It’s a simple yet effective proverb for how we should approach all work in which we engage. But in reality, many of us are guilty of being too focused on the task at hand and the looming deadline, that we do not spend long enough adapting our approach to suit changing circumstances. We just want to get the job done.

A couple of years ago we decided it was time to put this proverb in to practice with our inspection approach.

We wanted to fully consider the changing education environment and shape our approach to meet the needs of the system.

We were committed to fully reviewing the process without rushing to a conclusion; hearing from the various people who are involved in inspections rather than second-guessing what they thought about the process; and taking our time in trying out proposed approaches before implementing any changes.

It has been a lengthy process but an absolutely necessary experience to get us to the strong position we are in today and to ensure we can shape our approach around the education ‘vessel’.

The first of the new inspection approaches, the ‘full establishment model’ is this week being implemented in early learning and childcare, and school settings following a thorough consultation with partners.

Inspectors will use the new Quality Indicators included in ‘How Good is Our School? (4th edition) during inspections and in inspections of nursery classes and early learning and childcare centres, we’ll use the equivalent QIs from ‘How Good is Our Early Learning and Childcare?.

Another new aspect of the approach that I am particularly pleased with is that a further QI for focus will be negotiated with the school. It’s a real partnership approach and will enable school staff and inspectors, together, to focus on a particularly challenging issue or new initiative, with the aim of bringing about improvement through professional dialogue.

But we’ve not finishing shifting shape and to be effective we must continually adapt to circumstances. We plan to introduce a suite of inspection models, which we can use in different contexts and for different purposes. We are working on the development of our short inspection, localised thematic and neighbourhood review models, and will continue to engage with teachers, parents and stakeholders to gather their feedback.

The review has been carried out with a strong focus on consultation and we do not want to lose this important element of development. When all new inspection models are implemented we will continue to seek feedback, we will be flexible in our approaches and ensure we continually shape our approach to best meet the needs of Scotland’s education system.

Look out for future blogs on our progress with evaluating and implementing the new inspection models.

If you do one thing this term; collaborate⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

JanieBy Janie McManus, Assistant Director in charge of the Scottish Attainment Challenge

Welcome back after the holidays! It’s always an exciting time of year, and one when we’re looking ahead to the difference we will make to the lives of children across Scotland. When I was in the classroom I always remember the first day with a new class of children and both the excitement and anxiety about getting to know them quickly and thinking about the difference that I could make to their learning over the coming year.  One of the strengths of the school was working alongside my colleagues to share ideas, resources and talk about ways I could make my teaching and learning better.  Learning from each other about effective practice to raise attainment and close the poverty related attainment gap is a key feature of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

On the Scottish Attainment Challenge, we’re heading into our second year. This time last year we had just appointed our first Attainment Advisors. As they have become established, they are working collaboratively across groupings of local authorities as well as working with individual schools and local authorities.

With a well-established full team, we are learning about what is working. That includes the impact on the vocabulary gap in Dundee of speech and language therapists working alongside teachers, and the value of CLPL on literacy for practitioners in Inverclyde.

Both are featured in the August edition of GTCS’s Teaching Scotland magazine, as the publication follows the progress of the Attainment Advisors in these two authorities.

In both examples, collaboration has been key, and one factor that keeps being highlighted by the Attainment Advisors is the value of sharing practice with colleagues, whether informally or formally through professional learning networks. I have been impressed by the approaches being used to develop professional learning and enquiry and the use of collaborative action research.

The anecdotal experience is backed up by research. A recently published paper by Professor Chris Chapman, Senior Academic Advisor to the Scottish Attainment Challenge, has demonstrated that collaborative working has a positive impact on personnel, facilitating improvements in many aspects of practice, which in turn has a positive impact on learner attainment.

If you are looking for ideas, both publications are a good place to start; or you could simply catch up with colleagues in and beyond your classroom and school and start the invaluable process of sharing your questions and experiences; and collaborating.

Key links