Tag Archives: Scottish Government

Family visitor centre opened at HMP Low Moss⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Yesterday, I opened the new family visitor centre in HMP Low Moss in Bishopbriggs.

It is the fourth new centre to have opened at a prison in Scotland this year and will allow the children and families of those in custody an opportunity to relax and play before visiting their loved ones, as well as providing support, information and impartial advice relating to housing, finance and travel issues, children and health matters.

The Scottish Government is supporting these new centres, and seven existing ones, with £1.8 million in grant funding over three years as we recognise the very real benefit they offer to families.

Being a parent is the most amazing experience, but it can also be one of the most  challenging. These challenges are much greater for families living in difficult or adverse circumstances, not least those affected by imprisonment.

At a time when a child really needs additional support from non-imprisoned family members, those family members may themselves be physically, emotionally and mentally unable to offer extra support.

The children of imprisoned parents are often described as the forgotten victims of parental incarceration. Loss of income, loss of housing, shame, stigmatism, relationship breakdowns, victimisation and an array of negative impacts on children are all prevalent side effects.

Evidence tells us that by the age of 5, children from less advantaged circumstances are between 11 and 18 months behind in their vocabulary skills and between 6 and 16 months behind in their problem solving abilities than children from more advantaged circumstances. The impact of this disadvantage can be seen throughout a child’s life into adulthood. 

Our vision for our children and young people is a simple but ambitious one – we want Scotland to be the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up. Ensuring that all of our children get the best possible start in life is key to us achieving that ambition. 

I am encouraged and excited about how, on a national level, we are making the links between children and families, health and justice – by working collaboratively and delivering programmes like this one in Low Moss and across other prisons in Scotland.

 

The post Family visitor centre opened at HMP Low Moss appeared first on Engage for Education.

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

The post Respect for All anti-bullying guidance launches appeared first on Engage for Education.

Education Governance Review – Ask The DFM⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

small-john-swinney-ed-governanceAs you may be aware the Education Governance Review is currently underway. The Deputy First Minister is hosting a Q&A session live on Glow TV for teachers to discuss the Governance Review on Tuesday 17th November at 6pm.

The Scottish Government believe that decisions about children’s learning and schools should be taken within schools themselves supported by parents and communities. If schools are to have greater control over the decisions they take, there is a clear rational to change the allocation of resources to support this. The Scottish Government will introduce a new fair and transparent needs based funding formula to make sure that resources get to the areas that need it most.

The Scottish Government recognise that there may be some functions which are best delivered at a local, regional or national level rather than at school level and that teachers and practitioners require support to do their jobs well. They want to hear your views on how all levels of our education system can be improved to support the empowered, collaborative and flexible culture which we are seeking to develop. If you are unable to attend the live session and wish a question to be asked please send it to – governacereview@gov.scot

Register now to take part live – Education Governance Review – Ask The DFM

If you unable to join us for the live event you can always catch up with the recording at another time – Glow TV’s Watch Again.

Is there something we should know?⤴

from @ Mimanifesto - Jaye's weblog

A  few weeks ago TES Scotland carried a letter from me about the Scottish Schools tablet procurement Framework. It set out, albeit briefly, some of my concerns about the direction this significant education initiative has taken.  As a member of the ICT Excellence and Key Reference groups, I have a continuing interest and involvement in […]

The Tablet Procurement Framework – Time for some adjustment?⤴

from @ Mimanifesto - Jaye's weblog

I-5 Bridge CollapseA recent post  on All things D highlights how devices which have been somewhat off the radar in education have quietly gained kudos and market share. The Kindle Fire featured in this post is one such device. Interestingly,  Amazon’s own app store is also gaining some traction.

The Fire is not currently included in the Scottish Government Tablet Device Procurement Framework for Education  and neither is one of the other recent success stories in education, the Chromebook. I recently wrote about the Microsoft Surface tablet and how subsequent iterations (the Surface 2 is now out)  will find their place in   schools. The Surface is not in the framework either, and the new Toshiba Encore is a fantastic tablet running Windows 8.1 which certainly should be.  This platform is a great fit with the Microsoft Office 365 on which the current iteration of GLOW is based, when schools eventually get it.

The procurement framework was one of the key planks of the Scottish Government ICT in education programme. It coincided with our work on the ICT Excellence group where access was one of our key concerns in the report accepted by the Cabinet Secretary back in February this year. I know the introduction of the framework was applauded at the time as a way of increasing access, or at least helping schools with purchasing tablets, even if the pricing structure was not incredibly competitive! The Framework document states…

The national framework has secured the following benefits:
 Provides access to devices for the purposes of education in Scotland, enhancing learning and teaching, supporting digital inclusion across Scotland’s schools.
 Provides a range of tablet devices with various operating systems, at market leading prices.
 Provides a range of competitively priced upgraded devices and accessories.
 Provides consistent national pricing, regardless of size or geographical location.
 Provides an easy route to market for contracting organisations.
 Provides organisations with one central point for ordering and contract management covering warranty, insurance and general supply enquiries
It is anticipated that the majority of requirements for tablet devices will be met through the National Framework.

The last sentence is very telling for me because I don’t think this is now true.  Are schools blindly purchasing iPads without a thought for what their needs actually are? Are schools accessing good advice and help with needs evaluation before making tablet purchasing decisions? That any investment in tablet devices is based upon needs and not simply driven by ‘Magpie decision making’ (lets collect shiny things) or a herd mentality is crucial to a successful tablet roll out and schools cannot afford not to factor in Office 365 and GLOW, and therefore the full (rather than the somewhat restricted range of devices offered through the current framework) range of current devices into their decision making process. The current Framework covers purchases but not the advice and training which is a vital component of any tablet device deployment.

Some local authorities are geared up for this, particularly Edinburgh with its superb Digital learning Team and experienced practitioners like Mark Cunningham. Other sources of advice are available, including the Learning with Devices blog which is from Education Scotland,  and truly independent consultants and organisations not tied to any one particular platform or reseller  such as Tablet Academy Scotland which can provide specialist evaluation services covering all operating systems and devices. This can help schools weigh up the pro’s and con’s of all the different devices and platforms and assist them to arrive at the choice which meets their own particular needs.

If you are considering purchasing Tablets, first ask this; Has your Local Authority or Learning Community held a Tablet Evaluation Workshop day yet?  Have you researched the web for information on different tablets? Do you need to use the procurement Framework or is your chosen device not featured, and can you get a better deal elsewhere?

Taking good advice and doing the research before making significant purchases is something which needs to be encouraged so that LA’s and schools don’t end up with yet more ‘White Elephant’ technologies on their storeroom shelves.  Good advice taken directly from locally-based trainers who have worked with Curriculum for Excellence and appreciate how tablet devices enhance it’s delivery and practice is also crucial because its not just about the devices, its also about how you manage them within your current and future ICT Tech support set up. This is where good advice from the experts in actually using tablet devices in schools (and not just selling to education experience) is crucial to the success of your roll-out.  Apple have certainly recognised the importance of this last point.

Another part of the Framework agreement is even more interesting…

“There is an on-going obligation on the successful supplier to identify new or potential improvements with a view to reducing costs and/or improving the quality and efficiency of the products and services”.

Has this happened with the current Framework arrangements? And is this something which needs to be examined more closely when the first year comes to an end and is reviewed in May 2014? There have been developments during the lifespan of the current framework which have been significant enough to have merited examination, yet I’m not aware of any changes made to the existing framework detail during its life to date. One example would be the Chromebook, which is even featured on the Learning with Devices blog yet remains absent from the framework and also the more recent Kindle offerings from Amazon and the previously mentioned Windows 8 devices.

That the Windows 8 platform does not feature prominently in the framework is one of many reasons why schools and LA’s  might give serious consideration to bypassing it and making direct purchases. The up to date versions of the Office applications which come with Windows 8.1 are a great fit with the corresponding web apps within Office 365 and therefore, GLOW.

It seems to me that whilst the Framework has been a very good vehicle for making bulk purchases, it has also been a great opportunity lost (this is how a few disappointed LA IT folks have described it to me) and in particular is unadventurous when it comes to price and device range. In fact, when it can be said that the major benefit is not having to go down to Argos or PC World with a back pocket stuffed full of enough £50 notes to cover your purchase, then there needs to be a full review and evaluation of the Tablet procurement Framework at the Scottish Government  before any extension or renewal takes place.

I wonder when review time rolls around might it be time for the Government to start talking to the manufacturers directly?  Might this approach offer education the opportunity for some much more adventurous and innovative technology use with each manufacturer that wished to engage with Education offering special purchase schemes for schools and other institutions? This might also encourage targeted support for specific platforms.

The Tablet Device Framework was a first step in the right direction to widen access and manage the mobile device revolution in education but there now needs to be a serious conversation about widening access and this means re evaluating the current framework and perhaps changing tack.  My own view is that schools considering tablet device purchases should examine all their available options both from inside and outside the current Framework…and get good independent advice before making decisions and then purchases.

(Please see the usual disclaimer which applies to all of my blog posts. Image from vancouversun.com ccl)


Filed under: capacity-building, change, future of education, GLOW, GlowPlus, ICT, teaching and learning Tagged: android, edtech, Framework, GLOW, GlowPlus, ICTEx, iPad, Kindle, Microsoft, mobile devices, Office 365, procurement, Scottish Government, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Tablets, Toshiba Encore, Windows 8, XMA

Questions need answers…more GLOW woes for Education Scotland⤴

from @ Mimanifesto - Jaye's weblog

Glow is in big trouble. The migration of the existing Glow content to it’s new home within office 365 is in complete disarray. And after spending over £100 million on the GLOW project since its inception, just why is it that we don’t  have something which works? 

Local authorities are exasperated and fed up with what they see as poor communication from Education Scotland, the agency tasked with leading the migration and RM, the current Glow contractor carrying out the work. There is anger that progress, pledged to take place over the summer break, simply hasn’t happened. 

The current situation with Glow Plus is chaotic. How has Education Scotland managed to get into this mess and why is the communication to its users almost non-existent?  I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many LA senior managers and headteachers over the past few weeks and the message I get is one of total confusion, exasperation and even anger at the chaotic situation surrounding  ‘inbetweeny’  Glow (as the Microsoft/RM version is commonly known as). In fact the situation has become so dire that the learning directorate and ES were forced to write to everyone concerned about the migration of resources from the GLOW v1 MLE (Managed  learning environment) over to the new Glow MLE (also based on Microsoft’s Sharepoint technology, but integrated with Office 365).

Not only can these converted resources not be read by the old Glow digital tools but there are also problems using them with the new Office 365 platform (versions of Microsoft’s Office software programs that operate in the ‘cloud’).

And as if things couldn’t get much worse, the much loved WordPress blogging platform is to disappear this December and no migration plan has been revealed for all of that data to a new blogging platform – important as many were using the blogs for their records of achievement or ePortfolios. It appears to be a double whammy – the new tools don’t work properly with the content in the new MLE, and the old, familiar, trusted digital tools have been withdrawn.

Of course, we had a flavour of what was to come well before the summer break when Highland Council had a huge problem over migrating email. As well as this, Charlie Love has detailed in a superb blog post how the potential for this disaster was identified back in early 2012 and solutions devised to prevent it happening.

Education Scotland’s Stuart Campbell and Ken Muir had assured members of the ICTEx group at a meeting at the end of 2012 that migration plans were in place and workable. If this was the case, many might ask why the potential problems were not identified in the project risk register and action plans put in place to mitigate the possible pitfalls. After all, it wouldn’t have taken a genius to have looked at the user stats and identified that the vast majority of data in GLOW was not used anymore and therefore would not needed to be migrated.

Key contacts could have been asked to instigate a ‘cull’ of resources that did not need to be migrated across their establishments. Instead of which we now have a chaotic situation where some sites are too big to migrate, and the overall huge amount of data is completely clogging up the process.

Many LA sites will be too big for the new cloud-based SharePoint based MLE, and Charlie Love’s article on these issues, which merits wide reading, reads like the script of a disaster movie!   This is going to be a real problem for LAs which have made decisions about using Glow as a significant part of their intranet communications. Many of the original Glow web parts will now not exist in 365 and everybody who wants to use Glow  will have to spend huge amounts of time rebuilding their sites for Office 365, which was never really designed for schools anyway.

I’m currently writing user guides for using Office 365 in Education as a part of a business  project in another country, and so I am well aware that it might not the most intuitive product out there,  but despite its real potential for use in schools, it is in danger of being tarred with the ‘reject’ brush here in Scotland  particularly when you add this latest situation to the user engagement trials in early 2012 when although not fully developed it was pitched head to head with a much more mature product,  Google Apps for Education. The Scottish Government has consistently refused to release the results of these trials, but they are nevertheless widely available despite this and show Google Apps to be the product of choice at the time.

So now the danger is that public perception of Glow will suffer yet again at the hands of inept management of the migration project by Education Scotland – yet another big project managed to disaster by this agency. If ever there was an argument for considerably reducing its remit, this must be it, because ES has effectively killed off what little confidence the Scottish education community had in GLOW. And Microsoft Office 365 could suffer the same fate by association. How embarrassed must they all be by this fiasco?

And so yet again, I find myself calling for a moratorium on any future work on GLOW and the migration project until the problems are sorted out. Any local education authority or independent school which might be thinking about how to move forward with GLOW should stop right now. In fact, I have to say that, in my opinion, they would be crazy to even consider GLOW as a part of any development planning for at least the next school year until the picture becomes clearer and the product workable.

With tablet devices becoming increasingly available, and with MLEs like Edmodo and My Big Campus gaining real traction in our schools, together with a myriad of tools and apps for education, the question has to be asked, ’Is there any use for GLOW in its current form in schools and, as Charlie Love suggests, should we not just use it as a storage ‘digital suitcase’ for any data LAs want to preserve from the old GLOW?

GlowPlus must surely now be something very distinct from anything that has gone before.  A new start, with a new name. Education Scotland must up its game and build capacity as it currently does not appear to be capable of managing a national schools learning platform. Otherwise Glow Plus must be managed separately- it is just too important to suffer a repeat of past failures.

And above all, after over £100 Million has been spent on GLOW since it’s inception (and this doesn’t include the money to be paid to RM for the new secure authentication portal and two year management contract) I think the Scottish Education Community, parents and students, as well as the wider public are entitled to expect some bang for their taxpayer bucks! Or at least something which works.  And after all this money has been spent, lets just pause for a moment to consider just what exactly have we got to show for all that investment at this present moment in time? 

(Readers are advised to read my standard disclaimer which covers everything I write about everything – even schmoozing ! )


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Edmodo, Education Scotland, GLOW, GlowPlus, Google, Microsoft, MLE, My Big Campus, Office 365, Scottish Government

Google and Glow- Some Thoughts⤴

from @ Jim Henderson's Blog



apps_ring.jpg


Google has decided to pull out of the Glow procurement process.

Google opt out.tiff

This will come as a bit of a shock to some folk in Scottish education who have been keen for Google Apps for Education to be the basis of the next iteration of Glow. Google will instead concentrate in trying to work with individual local authorities to provide it’s Apps For Education package. Apart from the concerns this must raise about fragmentation my concerns about Google Apps and Google being involved in Scottish education continue. I have always had real concerns about Google and the privacy of an individuals data collected by Google. These concerns have grown over the last couple of months.

I always was sceptical about Google Apps in education. Although Google say’s in its privacy policy about Apps for Education that they do not track or collect personal data there is a real sense question of trust around Google. Teachers and parents want to be totally convinced. Personally I don’t trust Google as a corporation anymore.

Why?

Here are some reasons

Google’s business model – the selling of ads targeted on individual user behaviour – relies on collecting browsing information from its visitors. Before Thursday 28th of February 2012 different services did not share this information. This meant a search on, for example, YouTube, would not affect the results or advertising you would encounter on another Google site such as Gmail. The new agreement, which users cannot opt out of unless they stop using Google’s services, will mean activity on all of the company’s sites will be linked. Here are just part of the terms of use  “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content,” says the new and unified privacy policy of Google, which came to effect on March 1, 2012.

This change in privacy policy has led Viviane Reding, the European commissioner of justice, to say there are ‘doubts’ over the legality of internet giant’s move as French authorities open EU-wide investigation.


Google subverted mobile Safari’s default protections to track users in ways they did not agree to be tracked,  as the Wall Street Journal reported: “The findings appeared to contradict some of Google’s own instructions to Safari users on how to avoid tracking.”

Google illegally accepted ads for Canadian pharmacies with the purpose of delivering them to American users.


Google and personal data

What about the data Google might hold on pupils and teachers?   What if I wanted to find out what information Google had collected about me then as an EU citizen under EU -wide data protection rules, anyone can send a written request for their full data and, for a small fee, the company has to ship it out, usually within 40 days. As this article recently in the Guardian points out “The company has a main US branch, Google Inc, and subsidiaries within other countries. In the UK, that’s Google UK Ltd. Here’s the catch: Google UK Ltd, which is subject to the EU rules that let you access your data, doesn’t hold it. As Google says in a statement: “Please note that Google UK Ltd does not process any personal data in relation to Google services, which are provided by Google Inc, a US-incorporated company whose address you can find in the Google privacy policy.” While we can find Google Inc’s address, that doesn’t necessarily help: a spokeswoman for the UK regulator, the ICO, confirmed that EU laws on subject access requests do not extend to the US parent company. This means there’s no real chance of getting hold of user data from Google through this route.”

Google Apps for Government Concerns.

These concerns about Google, trust and privacy are spreading. According to SafeGov.org experts Jeff Gould and Karen Evans, “Google’s recent changes to its privacy policy allowing it to combine information about users pulled from the entire range of its online products raises serious privacy concerns for Google Apps For Government (GAFG) that should not be overlooked by public sector officials who have already made the move to the cloud or who are looking to move to the cloud.”

Norwegian and German Public Sector concerns.
Norwegian public sector organisations will be banned from using Google Apps after the Norwegian data protection authorities ruled that the service could put citizens’ personal data at risk.

The data protection authority said Google Apps did not comply with Norwegian privacy laws because there was insufficient information about where data was being kept.



Given this growing concern it is probably just as well that Google decided to walk away from the national procurement for Glow. The question is will individual local authorities in Scotland want to use Google Apps in Education?