To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Education Scotland organised a Scots language creative writing competition inviting pupils to write a poem or short story in Scots.
We received a great selection of entries from across Scotland and we’re delighted to announce the winners:
Tris Davidson – Comely Park Primary School, Falkirk
Eliot Wearden – Biggar High School, South Lanarkshire
Mackenzie Reilly – Airdrie Academy, North Lanarkshire
Sarah Green – Keith Grammar School, Moray
The winning entries were all chosen for their excellent use of Scots vocabulary as well as demonstrating the skills and commitment required to write in Scots. They also showed creativity through the range of subject matters, from space fiction to the Loch Ness Monster and the adventures of Pickles the cat.
Having received such a high standard of entries, four runners-up have also been selected for their creativity and dedication to writing in Scots. The runners-up are:
Euan Hendry – Comely Park Primary School, Falkirk
Eilidh McAllan – Biggar High School, South Lanarkshire
Eilidh Currie, Eilidh McDermid and Rachel Thom – Airdrie Academy, North Lanarkshire
Lewis Rodgers and Kirsty Duncan – Keith Grammar School, Moray
The winner and runners-up will receive a great selection of Scots language books for their schools.
A special commendation for creativity and imagination has also been awarded to Eva Kerr from Airdrie Academy. Eva not only wrote a poem about the Kelpies but she also created a great animation
Thank you to everyone who took part in the competition. For more information about Scots language visit the Scots Blether on Glow.
A blog by Jamie Farquhar Deputy Head Teacher of Dumfries Academy
I am a QAMSO.
Increasingly – in the second year of there being QAMSOs – colleagues know what that is. Good; it saves me unpacking the acronym to its full glory of Quality Assurance and Moderation Support Officer and it suggests we* are having an impact.
My role is to support colleagues in their understanding and application of Moderation in its widest sense through the lens of a particular Numeracy or Literacy level. In my case, this is Third Level Writing.
I am not an English Teacher. However, I am a passionate advocate for the Teaching Profession and of the Responsibilities of All as key priorities for our learners. I believe the Broad General Education (BGE) provides the platform for teachers to co-create a curriculum that meets the needs of individual learners, in individual schools.
To achieve this we need the confidence to spurn the false panacea of centrally distributed WAGOLLs (What a Good One Looks Like) and resist ‘mimetic isomorphism’. In other words; it’s not about teachers doing the same thing, in the same way, either through decree or by the copycatting of perceived eminence. Rather, we should aim for the contextualised consistency of quality; as a QAMSO I advocate achieving this through planning, professional dialogue, reflection, sharing, experimentation and evaluation i.e. through Moderation.
Moderation is about skilled professionals working together to plan, evaluate, feedback and feed forward learning to all learning partners. Moderation is groups of teachers subjecting the entire learning process to rigorous professional scrutiny and so trusting and being trusted in their judgements. Through collaboration we empower a move beyond consistency of practice to an increased confidence in individual judgements, planning and interventions.
The Moderation Cycle provides a framework through which to embark on this process. In my own school, we accessed the cycle through the Evaluation stage by leading engagement with the Literacy Benchmarks and developing professional confidence in making judgements of CfE-levels. This starting point was chosen due to a familiarity, within a secondary context, of judging work against set standards in the Senior Phase. The challenge is to move thinking and practice from summative evaluation of output to include moderated planning of input; to ensure we are teaching and supporting what we later assess.
We have begun. Our Literacy Strategy produced Evidence which, as well as debate over CfE-levels, led to dialogue about the evidence’s relevance and validity. This demanded we reflect on our Assessment tools; which asked questions about the effectiveness of our Learning and Teaching and learners’ understanding of what they were learning and how well they had learned it (Learning Intentions and Success Criteria).
Colleagues then began to revisit their planning (Es and Os) to reflect learning and the Learner more holistically. This provided a range of on-going and holistic Evidence which demonstrated strengths, successes and nextsteps which informed Feedback, Reporting and planning of the next learning experience and so on. The principles of the Moderation Cycle as applied to Literacy have started to impact on practice in other curriculum areas and beyond the BGE.
The Moderation Hub provides an incredible resource to support this work. I will use it extensively in my QAMSO role to support Professional Learning in schools. The Hub provides off-the-shelf material for Professional Learning Workshops and e-learning. I recommend it to all Literacy / Numeracy Leads and Professional Learning Coordinators. I also commend the Moderation Cycle and Hub to all school leaders as a means to lead and evidence genuine Quality Assurance of Learning and Teaching.
The workshops take a little time as they work through each stage of the cycle, asking colleagues to reflect on examples and craft improvements collaboratively. A commitment to mutual engagement and knowledge creation through the Moderation Cycle should lead to a sustained shift of culture and improvement in outcomes for learners that simply being ‘given the answers’ cannot hope to achieve.
The Moderation Cycle provides the framework to be autonomous, contextually-aware, professional leaders of learning.
This QAMSO’s advice: Follow the Cycle – Co-Create – Trust your Judgements.
*There are lots of us: Each Local Authority has a QAMSO for each CfE Level from Early to Fourth in Numeracy, Writing and Reading.
Budding young artists in Scotland are being urged to enter the fourth annual John Byrne National Drawing Competition.
Since the launch of the competition in 2014, thousands of pupils across Scotland have submitted their artwork to be judged by the renowned artist and playwright himself, John Byrne.
The competition, in partnership with Education Scotland, is aimed at pupils from primary four through to third year.
John Byrne, along with a selection panel, will choose the overall winners and 30 runners up, whose work will then be exhibited at Paisley Museum and Art Gallery on Friday 16 March.
John said: “I’m really excited to launch the fourth year of the annual John Byrne National Drawing Competition and see the creative flair and talent that we have within our schools.
“It’s really important that we give young people opportunities like this to use their imagination and express their creativity and love for drawing. This competition is a great way to showcase their talent and, once again, I look forward to seeing the remarkable variety of entries.”
Last year’s competition winner, Cameron Lawson (S3) from Cedarbank School, West Lothian was selected from over 4,000 children and young people from across Scotland. Cameron said: “My art teacher encouraged me to enter the competition I was really surprised when I found out that I’d won but it was great to see my artwork on display. I would encourage pupils to take part as it’s a great experience. My advice would be to try your best and use your imagination.”
Ron Cowie, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland, added: “Art and design is an important part of the curriculum and this competition aims to encourage pupils across Scotland to develop their drawing skills and be creative. Education Scotland is proud to be involved in this competition as it is a great way to promote drawing in schools.”
To help pupils with their entries, we’ll be sharing a top tip from John each week on the Education Scotland Facebook and Twitter pages.
The closing date for entries is Friday 23 February 2018.
STEM Education and Training Strategy for Scotland has now been published
A STEM (Sciences Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics) Education and Training Strategy was launched in the Scottish Parliament last week by Ms Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science. The Strategy, together with a STEM Evidence Base Report, is now available to download from: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/10/1386/downloads
A central focus on the strategy is to enable everyone to develop STEM skills for learning, for life and for work. It provides a new emphasis on career pathways within STEM sectors and to grow successful partnerships between schools and employers through the Developing the Young Workforce Programme. The strategy also includes a commitment to expand Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeship Programmes to enable many to pursue jobs and careers in STEM through these pathways. This strong focus on skills and careers will further enhance national efforts to Develop the Young Workforce (DYW) and embed employment and career management skills in the curriculum through the Career Education Standard.
A wide variety and resources including exemplars around DYW and STEM can be accessed on the National Improvement Hub here.
Following on from the successful conference, Transitions to Secondary we are pleased to announce two further opportunities to support the development of the secondary GME curriculum.
The Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) is Scotland’s key educational event. We look forward to inviting you to a seminar for Gaelic Medium Education (GME) at 9.30am on Wednesday 20 September. This will have a focus on promoting excellence and equity for learners through an improved GME curriculum. We are delighted to invite Angus MacLennan, the headteacher of e-Sgoil, to co-present with us. Angus will share how e-Sgoil has been using technology to deliver different aspects of the curriculum to schools throughout Scotland. This seminar will be of interest to senior managers, teachers and curriculum partners. Registration for SLF 2017 is still open.
Following on from the SLF, we will provide professional learning at An t-Alltan to support the delivery of the secondary GME curriculum. E-Sgoil will co-present with us. This session will give practitioners an opportunity to become familiar with the digital technology that is used by e-Sgoil while promoting effective pedagogy. Registration for An t-Alltan is now open. Please visit, www.storlann.co.uk/an-t-alltan.
Please also refer to our Advice on Gaelic Education, some of which is statutory, on how to structure and design a curriculum for GME.
SCILT have published a programme of professional learning which practitioners may find useful in implementing Gaelic (Learners) as part of the 1+2 Approach to languages. We have also taken this opportunity to list a few resources which curriculum planners may find useful in taking forward Gaelic as part of 1+2.
Practitioners are invited to register for this conference that is organised by Stòrlann. Education Scotland is delivering workshops at the conference to which you are warmly invited. Please visit www.storlann.co.uk/an-t-alltan to register.
The workshops we are delivering at the conference are:
effective leadership of 3-18 Gaelic in schools and nurseries;
using a well-structured and designed curriculum to raise attainment;
immersion, interaction and high-quality pedagogy through play;
using assessment to inform progress and attainment;
creating schools and nurseries which have a mutual understanding and inclusive ethos for Gaelic.
E-Sgoil: A digital solution for Gaelic Medium Educationcurriculum
We are delighted to invite e-Sgoil to co-present this workshop with us. The development of an effective secondary GME curriculum requires creative planning of the contexts of Curriculum for Excellence. E-Sgoil offers a digital learning solution for curriculum planners’ consideration. In this session, practitioners will gain an insight into what it is like to be a teacher, facilitator and a learner in e-Sgoil. The session will support practitioners of the 3-18 curriculum to
become familiar with the digital technology that is used by e-Sgoil;
focus on effective pedagogy to support learning through technology;
plan the primary curriculum to support transitions to learning which is partially delivered through digital technologies.
Please also refer to our Advice on Gaelic Education, some of which is statutory, on how to structure and design a curriculum for GME.
Benchmarks for Literacy and Gàidhlig
The purpose of this session is to promote an understanding of the national standards described in the Benchmarks for Literacy and Gàidhlig. There will be a particular focus on listening and talking.
Key themes for presentation and discussion will include:
using the Benchmarks to support professional judgements of achievement of a level;
developing progression in literacy and Gàidhlig using the Benchmarks;
gathering a range of evidence to demonstrate breadth, challenge and application;
developing an effective cycle of moderation in which practitioners have a shared understanding of standards and expectations.
Last September schools in Midlothian undertook an innovative and exciting new project which would allow them to transform the way that they learnt in their classrooms. Through consultations with local architects, extensive research and planning in their classrooms the schools created their own inspirational learning spaces!
Throught the year the classes had the opportunity to undertake various projects which would help develop and enhance by their new learning spaces. The first project was a STEM eco-classroom project. This is a project created by the Engineering Development Trust to help the pupils to develop their science, technology, engineering and maths skills. During this project, the pupils were challenged to build an eco-friendly classroom. They needed to research eco-friendly classrooms that have already been designed in schools and then use this research to create their classroom in a way that helps the environment.
In an exciting opportunity for the schools, teachers were invited to a training session with VEX Robotics. During the session the teachers got to use programmeable robots, making them move, make sounds and flash their lights! This wasn’t just for the teachers as they went back to school and used the robots with the pupils who could programme them straight from their iPads. In March pupils from two Midlothian primary schools – Loanhead and St David’s – travelled to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham to take part in the VEX Robotics UK Challenge. The VEX Challenge requires teams to program robots to carry out a series of complex tasks while competing against 40 other teams from all over the UK. Both schools won awards for high level of competancy in programming their robots!
The final project that the schools undertook was a CSI inspired activity where the pupils had to solve the Mayberry Mystery Crime. They visited the Mining Museum in Newtongrange which was the scene of a terrible crime and using their skills they had to solve the mystery and name the culprit. To help keep the pupils working together they used a Yammer group to keep their investiagtions up to date!