Tag Archives: schools

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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Respect for All anti-bullying guidance launches⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Anti-Bullying Week provides us with the opportunity to send a clear and positive message that bullying of any kind, whether it takes place face to face or online, is totally unacceptable and when it happens, we all have a responsibility to address it.

Today we are launching our refreshed anti-bullying guidance for everyone who works with children and young people – Respect for All: the National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People. It’s every child’s right not to be bullied so we need to intervene early, and deal with bullying quickly, and effectively.

The main purpose of the refreshed guidance is to support all adults working with children and young people to develop environments where bullying cannot thrive. Environments that promote respect, celebrate difference and promote positive relationships and behaviour are less likely to see bullying as acceptable behaviour.

I want all children and young people to be included fully in their learning and to learn tolerance, promote respect and celebrate difference. Bullying of any kind must be challenged whenever and wherever it occurs. It should never be seen as a typical part of growing up.

‘Respect for All’ builds on the positive work which has already taken place in Scotland to address bullying and provides a framework for all adults working with children and young people.

It reflects Getting it Right for Every Child and recognises that bullying impacts on wellbeing and attainment. In order to thrive and achieve their full potential, children and young people need schools to be safe, nurturing, respectful and free from fear, abuse and discrimination.

In the seven years since our first National Approach to Anti-Bullying was published, Scotland has seen huge legislative and policy change, such as the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, Education (Scotland) Act 2016, and the UK Government Equality Act 2010, that have put greater focus on the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

We now understand more about how an individual’s confidence, resilience, participation and attainment can be affected by bullying. In particular, ‘Respect for All’ is clear about the impact of prejudice-based bullying – including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying – and includes guidance to help schools, youth and sports organisations respond appropriately.

Support and training

Additional supporting guidance for schools and local authorities on recording and monitoring bullying incidents will be developed and issued in the coming months. This will streamline the process and ensure uniformity in recording and monitoring by schools and local authorities.

To support the roll out of this guidance, joint training events will be held across Scotland in the New Year led by the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and respectme,our national anti-bullying service in the delivery of anti-bullying work across Scotland.

We will continue to listen to the views of our teachers, support workers, parents, carers, children and young people to ensure that the approach in ‘Respect for All’ is working and is making a difference to the lives of children and young people in Scotland.

Director of respectme Katie Rafferty said:

“We are delighted to support the launch and implementation of Respect for All and we look forward to working with partners across Scotland to help deliver a consistent and cohesive approach to anti-bullying.

“We welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government and others to develop this national guidance – reflecting our learning from ten years of anti-bullying work and the experiences of children and young people and the adults who play a role in their lives.

“respectme will continue to offer free training, policy support and resources that are designed to enable adults to prevent and respond to bullying effectively, and help children and young people realise their right to live free from bullying and harassment.”

You can download Respect for All: The National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People here: http://www.gov.scot/RespectforAll

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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

The post Regional Improvement Leads appointed appeared first on Engage for Education.

Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through The Use of Digital Technology⤴

from

[Previously posted at openscot.net]

Last week the Scottish Government launched their new digital learning and teaching strategy for Scottish schools: Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through The Use of Digital Technology. The strategy outlines:

“a comprehensive approach to deliver the increased effective use of digital technology in education and bring about the equity of opportunity that is the key focus for this government.”

Key themes to emerge form the strategy are closing the attainment gap, developing digital skills, embedding technology right across the curriculum, and using digital technology to improve the assessment process.

The strategy is structured around four strategic objectives that will replace the existing five ICT in education objectives.

  • Develop the skills and confidencescotgov_strategy of educators in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology to support learning and teaching.
  • Improve access to digital technology for all learners.
  • Ensure that digital technology is a central consideration in all areas of curriculum and assessment delivery.
  • Empower leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for learning and teaching.

The strategy emphasises that all four objectives must be achieved in order to realise the overarching vision for Scottish Education:

  • Excellence through raising attainment: ensuring that every child achieves the highest standards in literacy and numeracy, set out within Curriculum for Excellence levels, and the right range of skills, qualifications and achievements to allow them to succeed; and
  • Achieving equity: ensuring that every child has the same opportunity to succeed, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

The strategy also outlines what Scot Gov and Education Scotland will do to deliver this vision and identifies action plans for each strategic objective as follows:

Objective 1: Develop the skills and confidence of educators in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology to support learning and teaching.

  • Ensure Professional Standards for Registration and for Career-Long Professional Learning reflect the importance of digital technology and skills.
  • Ensure that all Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers instil the benefits of using digital technology to enhance learning and teaching in their students, in line with GTCS Standards for Registration.
  • Ensure that a range of professional learning opportunities are available to educators at all stages to equip them with the skills and confidence to utilise technology appropriately and effectively, in line with the GTCS Standards for Career Long Professional Learning.
  • Ensure that a range of professional learning opportunities are available to educators at all stages to equip them with the skills and confidence to utilise technology appropriately and effectively, in line with the GTCS Standards for Career Long Professional Learning.

Objective 2: Improve access to digital technology for all learners.

  • Continued national investment into initiatives that support digital access in educational establishments.
  • Provide guidance at a national and local level around learner access to digital technology.
  • Promote approaches to digital infrastructure that put users’ needs at the heart of the design.
  • Encourage and facilitate the development of partnerships that will improve digital access and digital skills development opportunities for our learners.

Objective 3: Ensure that digital technology is a central consideration in all areas of curriculum and assessment delivery.

  • Ensure aspects of Curriculum for Excellence relating to the use of digital technology and development of digital skills are relevant, ambitious and forward looking.
  • Support, develop and embed approaches to assessment that make effective use of digital technology.
  • Support, develop and embed approaches to assessment that make effective use of digital technology.

Objective 4: Empower leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for learning and teaching.

  • Ensure that the vision laid out in this strategy is adequately captured in Professional Standards, self-evaluation guidance and inspections of educational provision in Scotland.
  • Support leaders and decision makers to lead change in their local contexts through accessing and sharing relevant research in order to identify effective approaches to the use of digital technology in education.

Implications for Open Education

The Scottish Government has clearly placed raising attainment and achieving equity at the heart of its digital learning and teaching strategy. While it is encouraging that the strategy acknowledges the potential of digital technology to enrich education, enhance learning and teaching, equip learners with vital digital skills and lead to improved educational outcomes, it is disappointing that it does not acknowledge the significant role that open education can play in achieving these objectives. Although this may be regarded as something of a missed opportunity to place openness at the heart of the government’s vision for education in Scotland, it is to be hoped that the new strategy lays a firm foundation on which to build evidence of the role that open education can play in closing the attainment gap, developing digital skills, improving the assessment process, creating new opportunities for learners, supporting social inclusion and expanding equitable access to education for all.

Links

Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through the Use of Digital Technology documents: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/09/9494/downloads

World Teachers’ Day⤴

from @ Engage for Education

It’s World Teachers’ Day and Education Secretary John Swinney marked the occasion with a visit to Dalgety Bay Primary School, where he met teachers and pupils and opened the school’s new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) laboratory.

While there he said: “I would like to take the opportunity this World Teachers’ Day to thank our highly skilled and extremely motivated teaching staff throughout Scotland.

“Since taking up post as Education Secretary I have visited schools across the country, meeting with a wide range of teaching professionals and the young people who so clearly value the work they do. These visits have only served to reinforce my view that our teaching workforce provides the bedrock of an education system our country can be proud of.

“I strongly believe that if Scotland is to continue to flourish we Dalgetyneed dedicated, passionate, teachers inspiring our young people for generations to come and I hope the rest of the country, young and old, will join me today in showing appreciation for all our teachers, past and present, for the life changing work they do.”
 

 

 

DFM responds to EIS decision to suspend industrial action in schools⤴

from @ Engage for Education

This is welcome news from the EIS and I am delighted that they have confirmed suspending a programme of industrial action in relation to teacher workload.

Over the past few months, I have listened carefully to what teachers, parents, young people and others have had to say on workload, and have responded positively with a range of actions to help reduce workload pressures.

As part of this, I have now announced the removal of mandatory unit assessments from National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses. This will significantly reduce the workload for our teachers, giving them more time to focus on what is most important – teaching our young people – while maintaining the core principles of Curriculum for Excellence.

I have taken swift action in response to feedback from teachers and others, to de-clutter the curriculum guidance and review the workload demands placed on teachers by local authorities. The new measures around the qualifications, ratified by the CfE Management Board yesterday, will build on this work, reducing workload and over assessment for teachers and learners.

I am glad that the EIS have recognised these efforts and I hope that together we can move forward to ensure that teachers in Scotland have more time to teach, and contribute to closing the attainment gap.

Devolution of responsibility to schools⤴

from @ Engage for Education

It is the defining mission of this Government to deliver excellence and equity across Scottish education.

I have been tasked by the First Minister to ensure that every child in Scotland – no matter where they are from or how well off their family is – has the same opportunities and an equal chance to succeed.

In the 118 days since I became Education Secretary I have made it a firm priority to get out into Scotland’s schools to hear directly from our teachers and practitioners about what it’s like to teach in Scotland’s classroom.

I have been deeply impressed by the excellent work I have seen. But I have also heard about the barriers and challenges getting in the way of delivering great education.

In response to the issues raised, I have moved decisively to free teachers up to teach by removing unnecessary bureaucracy and workload.

I have provided a definitive statement of priorities for Scotland’s schools, setting out clearly and concisely what teachers should and shouldn’t be focusing on.

These actions will empower teachers to spend their time teaching and giving our children the best possible opportunities to learn.

The next step is to ask ourselves how school education should be run?

Today I set out this Government’s vision for the most critically important part of our early years and school education system – our teachers, practitioners and their relationship with our children.

The presumption at the heart of the governance review I launched today, is that decisions about our children’s learning should be taken  as close to our children as possible – at school level.

Our teachers and early years workers have the expertise and are best placed, to make decisions about children’s learning and school life – supported by parents and the local community.

In my statement to Parliament today I also made clear that this Government will never go down the divisive academy model, and we will not have selection or Grammar Schools in Scotland.

Evidence shows collaboration at every level of education builds capacity and delivers the best outcomes for children and young people. So by working together we can achieve more.

Some of our schools are already working collaboratively through the development of school clusters. Through the governance review I want to hear how this type of collaboration and others can be encouraged.

Of course, some of the support our schools need is best delivered at a local or a regional level.  Many of these services are currently delivered by local authorities, and local authorities will continue to exercise democratic control over Scottish education at a local level.

But we must question the support provided at every level of our education system to ensure it delivers what our teachers, and our children, need.

We need a system of school governance which is clear to parents, teachers,  communities and everyone. The governance review is our opportunity to make this a reality.

I plan to spend a significant amount of time over the next three months talking and listening to teachers, children and young people and those with a stake in Scottish education, about how our education system is run.

I want to hear views from across every part of Scotland – from children and young people, from parents, teachers, practitioners and the wider community.

I encourage you to attend one of our engagement events or submit your views in writing or through our social media channels. Details of how you can engage with the review are available at www.gov.scot/educationgovernancereview

We are ready to take the next steps in making Scotland’s school education world-class. I invite you to join us.

Scottish Parent Teacher Council 2016-08-23 09:40:00⤴

from @ Scottish Parent Teacher Council

Partnership Schools at Webster's High School in Angus

As some of you will know, SPTC is running Partnership Schools Scotland, a pilot project which aims to create and develop partnerships between schools, communities and families to improve outcomes for young people.

Partnership schools have an Action Team for Partnership (ATP) made up of parents and teachers who work together to plan a strategy, events and activities that will build their relationships with families and the local community.

The ATP at Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir, Angus, set a goal for their school to run a charity shop in partnership with pupils, families, school office staff and the local community, to raise funds for the school. Wendy Scott, chair of the ATP at Webster’s, tells us a little bit about how the event worked:

“As one of our Partnership goals we ran a pop up charity shop in one of the towns local to Webster’s. It was a tremendous success not only in the amount of money that we raised - £2360.00! - but it also brought the pupils family, school and community together.

The charity shop was a great way to get parents who would not usually be involved to come along and join in, as we were not asking for money, only items that they no longer needed or used and their time. Because of all the donations, the shop had a great choice of clothing, toys, games, kitchen utensils and books.

One parent commented that she hadn’t been involved with the school or parent council before because she thought they were quite exclusive, but being involved with the charity shop gave her the chance to get to know other parents and she really enjoyed herself.

The pupils enjoyed working with the community, collecting items, stocking the shop and clearing it out again once the week was up. This is something that we would repeat again as it was a great start to our Partnership Schools work.”

The pop-up charity shop is a fantastic example of how a school can make use of its social resources – pupils, families and community partners – to raise funds for the school whilst also building positive relationships.

If you have any examples from your school of great work with families and the community, please share your experience with us in the comments.

Partnership Schools is currently taking place in six local authority areas: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Angus, Perth and Kinross, Falkirk and West Lothian. To find out more, please click here.

Scottish Parent Teacher Council 2016-08-23 09:40:00⤴

from @ Scottish Parent Teacher Council

Partnership Schools at Webster's High School in Angus

As some of you will know, SPTC is running Partnership Schools Scotland, a pilot project which aims to create and develop partnerships between schools, communities and families to improve outcomes for young people.

Partnership schools have an Action Team for Partnership (ATP) made up of parents and teachers who work together to plan a strategy, events and activities that will build their relationships with families and the local community.

The ATP at Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir, Angus, set a goal for their school to run a charity shop in partnership with pupils, families, school office staff and the local community, to raise funds for the school. Wendy Scott, chair of the ATP at Webster’s, tells us a little bit about how the event worked:

“As one of our Partnership goals we ran a pop up charity shop in one of the towns local to Webster’s. It was a tremendous success not only in the amount of money that we raised - £2360.00! - but it also brought the pupils family, school and community together.

The charity shop was a great way to get parents who would not usually be involved to come along and join in, as we were not asking for money, only items that they no longer needed or used and their time. Because of all the donations, the shop had a great choice of clothing, toys, games, kitchen utensils and books.

One parent commented that she hadn’t been involved with the school or parent council before because she thought they were quite exclusive, but being involved with the charity shop gave her the chance to get to know other parents and she really enjoyed herself.

The pupils enjoyed working with the community, collecting items, stocking the shop and clearing it out again once the week was up. This is something that we would repeat again as it was a great start to our Partnership Schools work.”

The pop-up charity shop is a fantastic example of how a school can make use of its social resources – pupils, families and community partners – to raise funds for the school whilst also building positive relationships.

If you have any examples from your school of great work with families and the community, please share your experience with us in the comments.

Partnership Schools is currently taking place in six local authority areas: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Angus, Perth and Kinross, Falkirk and West Lothian. To find out more, please click here.

Leaders and Monitors: The best and the worst of education technology⤴

from @ Open World

Last week I attended the Holyrood Connect Learning Through Technology event where I saw a rather jawdropping demonstration of the very best and very worst that education technology has to offer. The best, and it really was wonderful, came from teachers Natalie Lockhead and Nicola Paterson, and pupils Rebecca and Stephen from Kirklandneuk Primary School, who are part of the school’s Digital Leaders Network. The Digital Leaders Network encourages children who are confident with using all kinds of technology to support their teachers and peers by sharing their skills and knowledge, while at the same time enabling the children to develop confidence, literacy and skills for life.

Stephen and Rebecca stood up in front of an audience of over a hundred delegates and spoke confidently and articulately about the importance of the Digital Leaders initiative and how much they enjoyed and benefitted from being part of it. Inspirational has become a rather throwaway term used to describe speakers, but these young people really, truly, were an inspiration.

Their honesty, enthusiasm and willingness to share was in stark contrast to the previous presenters and event sponsors Lightspeed Systems who presented their “online safety and web filtering systems” for education. As well as just blocking content, Lightspeed’s Web Filter also incorporates hierarchical filtering “to keep students safe, even when they leave the classroom,” along with web activity reporting functionality “from the high level to the detail”. I presume in this instance “the detail” means individual students.

According to their press, Lightspeed Systems create tools to help schools manage and filter their networks as well as empower classroom learning. There  doesn’t seem to be any mention of trivial issues such as privacy, ethics and consent. One of their products, Classroom Orchestrator, is designed to allow teachers to monitor students screens and devices “making it easy to see who’s off-task, who needs extra attention, and who’s excelling”. Orchestrator allows teachers to view all students screens from a dashboard, “ensures safety by seeing who is protected by the webfilter and who isn’t”, and perhaps most worryingly, “record sessions to store a students activity to share or investigate.” This immediately rang all sorts of alarm bells; where is that data being stored, who owns it, who has access to it? Although Lightspeed’s products are primarily designed for use on schools’ own mobile devices, the presenter added that they can also be installed on children’s own mobile devices and can be used to monitor their web activity outwith school hours. Apparently they’ve had, and I quote, “Lots of positive feedback about teachers taking control of and locking apps on students’ mobile devices.” That was the point where my jaw really hit the floor.

I made a point of asking during questions who owned and had access to the data that Lightspeed gathers. The reply was that the data is stored on servers in the UK and clients have the right to access this data under the Freedom of Information act. Seriously? I asked again if clients really had to submit an FOI request to access their own data and the presenter replied that they could just e-mail their sales representative for access. I lost the will to live at that point.

The contrast between the two presentations couldn’t have been more stark, and both demonstrated in quite different ways, why it is so important to engage children and learners in their own education, why we need to listen to them, not eavesdrop on them, and why we need to respect their privacy and consent. And most of all, it brought home to me just how critical trust and openness has to be in our use of technology in education. After all, if we don’t trust and learn from our children, how will they ever learn to trust and respect others?

NB Throughout the presentation, the Lightspeed representative seemed to refer to Classroom Orchestrator as Classroom Monitor. There is another UK based ed tech company called Classroom Monitor that markets an assessment platform for teachers. There is no link between Lightspeed Systems and Classroom Monitor and their products are not related.