The Awards Network’s Awards Aware Scheme and new website will be formally launched by Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science at an event to be held at Leith Academy on 31 August 2017. Being Awards Aware demonstrates a commitment to recognise and value the skills and achievements gained by young people through youth awards.
The Awards Network website provides information on non-formal learning awards and programmes from (currently) 26 member organisations, highlighting learning outcomes and impact. Adding to learner journey options are credit-rated awards such as Youth Scotland’s Youth Achievement Awards, YouthLink Scotland’s Participative Democracy Certificate and SQA Employability Awards; programme awards, including the John Muir Award, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Queen’s Scout Award; participation and nominated awards such as the Saltire Award and Young Scot Awards.
Parentzone Scotland brings together the contents of the previous Parentzone and Scottish Schools Online websites to form a single resource.
In the Find a school section, you will find all the schools information previously held on Scottish Schools Online – contact details for every primary, secondary and special school in Scotland, as well as information on school awards and links to school websites. This section also now includes information on performance of leavers from S4-S6 for each secondary school in Scotland.
The website also contains:
information and resources to help you support your child’s learning from early years to beyond school
new resources to help you support your child’s learning at home in literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and science
At the recent ‘Making Maths Matter’ Conference on 13th March, Professor Louise Hayward from Glasgow University provided an overview of the International research and current thinking on ‘Closing the achievement gap’ between those in the most and least deprived areas. This focus is a National and Local priority and the overview from Louise provides clear points for reflection as we continue to develop strategies in schools and communities to improve achievement.
‘Making Maths Matter’ is the East Lothian Numeracy and Mathematics Conference aimed at improving achievement in Numeracy and Mathematics and narrowing the attainment gap. The conference is being held at the Marine Hotel in North Berwick on Friday 13th March 2015.
Key speakers are Professor Louise Hayward from Glasgow University who will discuss ‘Narrowing the attainment gap’ and Carol Copstick from Education Scotland who will provide and overview of progress and achievement in Numeracy and Mathematics across Scotland. A variety of workshops will be led by practitioners, children and partners.
Pasi Sahlberg closed the Scottish Learning Festival yesterday with a quite brilliant presentation which unpacked the story behind the remarkable improvement trajectory of Finnish education over the past twenty years.
I know a little about this as I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Finland on a Learning and Teaching Scotland – funded independent study visit back in 2008, which gave me an amazing opportunity to spend some time with researchers working in education and technology at the University of Helsinki, as well as government officials and some real quality time in classrooms observing Finnish teachers and their students at work. The blog posts I made at the time detailing my visit are still some of the most visited ones on my website.
Dr Sahlberg’s presentation illustrated just how several factors came together to drive forward a change agenda. Trusting teachers with the responsibility to teach and assess free from the spector of external inspections and government edicts came top of the list,replaced by an ethos of multi-faceted self evaluation. Training teachers and equipping them with excellent pedagogical awareness by making teaching a masters-level profession was something I’d discussed in detail during my visit, and I did leave as a convert to the principle. A complete lack of any significant bureaucracy in a Finnish education struck me as a means of directing available public funds to where they are truly needed – in classrooms and for student support.
Of course, socio-economic factors in the country such as a more even distribution of wealth and family cohesiveness play a big part in promoting equity, as does the lack of any independent or private school sector, and when you add all these factors together it’s been a very potent recipe for the success which has received world wide acclaim.
And so any country which wishes to benchmark itself against Finland must surely first create the same environment? Remove external inspection and layers of bureaucracy diverting money to properly funded masters-level teacher training and targeted personalised classroom support to create a more equitable playing field for learning.