Tag Archives: Supporting Learners

Equality & Inclusion: Good practice exemplars⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

The following four good practice exemplars have been published on the National Improvement Hub to highlight initiatives that help learners requiring additional support to develop skills and find employment.

Exemplar 1: Enable Scotland’s ‘Stepping Up’ programme

This innovative employability programme offers comprehensive support for young people aged 14 to 19 who have learning disabilities which takes participants from an initial investigation of the world of work, through a process of discovery and planning for their future, to engagement with employers in real workplace settings. Find out more here.

Exemplar 2: ‘Thinking Digitally’ – a new resource

This credit rate module by Lead Scotland allows candidates to develop relevant digital skills and build confidence operating in online environments.  More on this here.

Exemplar 3:  ‘TOPs’ – training opportunities for young parents

This programme run by Rathbone Training, a UK-wide voluntary youth sector organisation which supports young people aged 16 to 24 who have disengaged from society, aims to help young parents in their personal development. More here.

Exemplar 4: ‘Community Action and Leadership Award

This is a course created by the charity Lead Scotland so that more people can learn how to influence change and make a difference within their communities. More information here.

A different perspective⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

By Cat Thomson, Senior Development Officer, Enquire

The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are aged between 12 and 18 and represent 22 of the 32 local authorities in Scotland. The group aims to:

  • Share young people’s views and experiences of inclusion;
  • Raise awareness of Additional Support for Learning with other pupils to reduce stigma and improve understanding;
  • Improve school staffs understanding of inclusion;
  • Work together to develop ways to develop and support inclusive education.

They are supported by Education Scotland, Enquire [the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning] and individual local authority staff.

In June, the young people took their messages about inclusion to the Scottish Cabinet.

“We want to be seen as individuals with our own set of unique strengths and skills.”

These are impressive words from Alistair, one of the Young Ambassadors for Inclusion who met Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, John Swinney in June to share their views on inclusion and support in school.

During the meeting, 11 members of the group shared findings from their work. They were keen to raise issues they think it is important for policymakers, local authority staff, school leaders, teachers and support staff to hear and reflect on when making decisions about support for pupils with additional support for learning.

One of the first questions the Ambassadors considered was what inclusion means to them. Their comments make for interesting reading. Many of the young people saw inclusion as a positive thing making pupils feeling safe, accepted, and treated equally. Common messages were “everybody [should be] included in education regardless of need”, “being able to work together with a range of people”, “everybody involved, nobody left out” and “not being defined by any difficulties you have”.

A small number of Ambassadors talked about inclusion adding additional pressure to young people but the universal message was how incredibly important it is to young people to feel listened to, understood and supported. Comments included: “It’s good when we are listened to and asked what we need”, and “When staff have an understanding of different additional support needs and can understand certain behaviour it helps them understand why young people may act in a particular way.”

What works less well is when pupils feel excluded or unsupported: “Many class teachers and other staff do not have awareness of additional support needs, what that means for us and how to support in the classroom”, and “Pupils need access to all areas of the school and curriculum.”

A number of pupils wanted to encourage schools to give pupils with additional support needs the same opportunities as other pupils and not to make assumptions about their abilities, highlighting that sometimes trying something and not succeeding is better than not trying.

Key themes

Some of the themes they identified from their work included: raising awareness, friendship and belonging, positive attitude and support.

Raising Awareness

“Whole school awareness of ASN can support much better understanding and reduce stigma and isolation”

“Taking opportunities to share that people are different and you should not make fun of them.”

Ambassadors recommended that all teachers should have training on inclusion and the different types of additional support for learning pupils may have and how this might affect them in school.

They felt more could be done in primary school to raise awareness of additional support for learning and called for zero tolerance of bullying of pupils with additional support needs.

They suggested holding pupil conferences, taking part in national awareness weeks, putting on school assemblies led by pupils, or developing awareness raising days about specific issues such as mental health or LGBT.

Friendship and belonging

“I didn’t really feel part of mainstream school.”

Ambassadors called for schools to help young people feel more confident, build friendships and feel included. Schools should provide opportunities to take part in activities with peers.

Positive Attitudes

“Don’t segregate pupils with needs.”

“It helps to be patient.”

As one Inclusion Ambassador said to John Swinney: “We need to create positive stories about pupils with additional support need rather than focus on the negatives.”

Ambassadors felt schools should focus on raising awareness of the range of reasons a pupil may need support and how this might make a pupil feel in school, while also encouraging a more positive view of additional support needs.

“Supportive teachers in mainstream are crucial”

“Teachers need qualifications to work with pupils with additional support needs and medical needs.”

“Staff off and no replacement really affects learning”

Making it easy for pupils to ask for help and offer the right support

Sharing information about how pupils can ask for help and having supportive and empathetic teachers who can support pupil’s emotional issues was highlighted as helpful to encourage young people to ask for help when they need it.

Ambassadors stressed the importance of schools listening to pupils about the type of support they wanted in school. They also highlighted the impact of crucial support not being available to help them get the most out of school, with many reporting support had been reduced due to budget cuts. Others shared experiences of inconsistent staffing, and highlighted the impact this had on their learning and school experience.

Ambassadors encouraged schools to have a range of options for collected pupils views, including focus groups and questionnaires.

What next?

The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are planning to create a pledge that schools can use to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion. They will also be involved in developing a support pack for schools, including a short film to raise awareness of inclusion, the range of additional support needs and the impact on pupils and their families.

This article also appears in August’s Children in Scotland magazine.

www.enquire.org.uk @ASLadvice

IMPACT OF GLASGOW’S PIONEERING MENTORING PROJECT PUBLISHED⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

For the last few years, Glasgow City Council and MCR Pathways have nurtured and extended a pioneering and highly successful mentoring and talent development programme for disadvantaged and care experienced young people across a number of the city’s secondary schools.

More than 600 young people are now supported in their schools by mentors from all walks of life and all ages. Powerful statistics published in the 2017 Impact Report on Thursday 13  July, reveals that more secondary pupils than ever before are achieving better results in literacy and numeracy and staying on rates in this group of young people is at an all-time high. Critically, reversing decades of poor national outcomes for young people in the care system, record numbers of Glasgow’s young people are progressing directly to college, university and employment.

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education is delighted with the progress of the programme and said today: “Quite simply – working with MCR Pathways has had an incredible impact on the positive destinations of the young people who’ve been mentored. Three years ago only 48.8% of our most disadvantaged young people in the city went on to positive destinations on leaving school – to either a job, college or university – this has now jumped to an amazing 81%.

“This is great news for our young people, the city and its organisations, our school staff and of course the mentors.”

Relationship mentoring in Glasgow schools is undoubtedly closing the attainment gap in the city and helping some of our most vulnerable pupils.

As Iain MacRitchie, Founder of MCR Pathways, explains: “Above all else, our project is about the young people and the potential we can all help realise in everyone who becomes a part of the MCR Pathway family.

“The Impact Report is all about the young people’s success stories, the fact and figures, the achievements, case studies, commitments and our bold plans for the future as we look to celebrate 10 amazing years of mentoring and talent development in Glasgow. We are very determined to bridge the talent of all our young people with the many opportunities our great city has to offer. MCR mentoring is the bridge”

What stands out in the report is the comments from the young people, the mentors, families and school staff. Every participant benefits and the longer the programme runs in each school the

greater the impact. St Andrew’s Secondary, where MCR Pathways first started in 2007, best illustrates the extent where 100% of mentored young people progressed to college, university or employment in contrast to a starting position of 31%. From a qualifications perspective those with 5 or more subjects at level 4 or better, St Andrews was 91% compared to Glasgow at 60% and nationally of 54%. For all those on the MCR Pathways programme across the 10 schools analysed it was 88%.

The project is making a huge difference to the lives of so many who were in need or just coping – and now supporting more than 600 young people across the city. The plan being developed is to more than double this number in 2 years.

But it’s also about making a difference in the lives of the mentors – you just need to read their comments to see what becoming a mentor has meant to them and benefitted them in ways that they had not thought possible.

MCR Pathways is currently operating in 15 secondary schools and working on a plan to extend into all 30 as well as set a powerful national precedent. The partnership between Glasgow City Council and MCR is pioneering and has a simple target to mentor every care experienced and disadvantaged young person across the city. This means building the capacity and number of mentors to ultimately support 1500 young people.

Earlier this year, Glasgow City Council also announced an ambitious target – to engage up to 10% of council employees as mentors or as part of the talent taster programme.

As Iain MacRitchie concludes: “When one mentors, two lives are changed. Organisations are also benefitting hugely with staff skills being enriched and developed in profound ways. People really do make Glasgow and the commitment from individuals is inspired and inspiring. An increasing number of Glasgow’s organisations are signing up to encourage and support their staff to mentor as part of their working week. It is a privilege to work with so many people so determined to help young people realise their full potential and be defined by their talent and never their circumstances.

“As well as mentoring, our Talent Taster Programme is expanding and already revolutionising work experience for individuals and organisations alike. We have a number of very significant and exciting plans coming to fruition, many of which will be announced after the summer”

 

Response Box for Press Articles

Can you help a young person realise their full potential and be defined by their talent, not their circumstances? The Herald is supporting the Young Glasgow Talent campaign by MCR Pathways in its citywide plan and national ambition. More disadvantaged young Glaswegians are signing up for mentors to help them overcome barriers and inequality to be all they can be. One hour a week and a willingness to put a young person first are all you need. You’ll make and experience a life-changing difference in helping a young person to find, grow and use their talents. MCR Pathways will provide all the training and support you need. For more information or to register, please go to www.youngglasgowtalent.org or email info@mcrpathways.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!

MCR Pathways is a pioneering partnership of the MCR Foundation and Glasgow City Council, actively supported by an increasing number of Glasgow’s key organisations including The Wheatley Group, Glasgow Life, City Building, University of Strathclyde, The Herald, Glasgow Kelvin College, Glasgow Clyde College, Glasgow City Health & Social Care Partnership and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

The MCR Pathways partnership is in part funded through a highly innovative Public Social Partnership (PSP) Agreement involving key strategic funders in The Life Changes Trust, The Robertson Trust, The STV Children’s Appeal and the MCR Foundation.

Notes to editors

MCR

You can read the full report https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=38545&p=0

Find out more about MCR Pathways or how to become a mentor or get involved in the Talent Taster Programme visit http://mcrpathways.org/ or http://youngglasgowtalent.org/

 

Benchmarks – the value of collaboration⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

A blog by Lorna Harvey, Acting Senior Education Officer
for Numeracy and Mathematics

Last year ( August 2016), we published draft Benchmarks for literacy and English and for numeracy and mathematics with the aim of providing clarity on the national standards expected at each level of the Broad General Education. We wanted to make clear what learners need to know and what they need to be able to do to progress through the levels, and to provide guidance that would support consistency in teachers’ and other practitioners’ professional judgements.

By publishing the Benchmarks in draft, we wanted to ensure we had time to consult with the very people who would be using the Benchmarks. We were committed to developing guidance that would hit the mark and achieve our aim of providing clarity.

From the outset we were keen to hear from as many practitioners as possible and we wanted to make sure anyone wishing to provide feedback felt confident that they could be as open and honest as they wished. To achieve that we set up an anonymous online consultation, but we also planned a number of face-to-face sessions allowing for more depth to our discussions and the opportunity for people to ask questions.

A number of National Network events provided opportunities for practitioners from across Scotland to contribute to this consultation process. This included the National Literacy Network, the National Numeracy Network and the Principal Teacher/Faculty Head Forum for Mathematics. Colleagues from SQA were involved in many of these discussions.

Some people decided to get together with colleagues and offer suggestions, while others wanted to provide their individual response. Whichever way people chose to provide feedback, it was extremely valuable. It was great to receive insight based on practitioners’ engagement with the Benchmarks in their education setting.

Together with my colleagues across Education Scotland , I worked on collating the results and analysing the feedback before making relevant changes to the Benchmarks. A number of stakeholders had offered to be involved in further consultation so we shared the updated Benchmarks and gathered more feedback as part of the process.

And then we had them. The final Benchmarks, shaped by practitioners and providing the clarity that we had been aiming for. A real collaborative effort.

We have now published the Benchmarks on our National Improvement Hub and would encourage practitioners to familiarise themselves with the documents before they begin using them in their setting. It’s also worth having a look at the ‘change’ documents we developed which clearly show where changes have been made from the drafts. There is also a frequently asked questions document.

We have uploaded a broadcast on the National Numeracy and Mathematics Hub which provides background information, advice and guidance on using the Benchmarks. The majority of this broadcast is relevant for all practitioners and there is a specific numeracy and mathematics input also. This broadcast could be used at an In-Service day in August to raise awareness of the Benchmarks and support professional discussion and planning.

We will be providing seminars at the Scottish Learning Festival in September as well as a Yamjam – where practitioners are invited to engage in an online discussion about the Benchmarks.

We would like to say  a huge thank you to all the practitioners who supported the consultation process, working with us and engaging with the drafts to provide valuable feedback to help shape the final documents

The Scottish Attainment Challenge within overall school improvement⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

By Graeme Logan, Strategic Director, Education Scotland

We have a once in a career opportunity to make a significant breakthrough for children living in poverty in Scotland through the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC). The areas for improvement highlighted in our recent report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (QuISE) report are all very relevant to our national mission to close the poverty-related attainment gap and to strive for excellence and equity for every child in Scotland.

SAC, including the Pupil Equity Fund (PEF), gives us the additional resources to transform children’s progress and attainment. I know that many headteachers I speak to are excited about the possibilities. They are also keen to make sure we make the best use of these resources.

At Education Scotland we aim to provide you with the best possible advice on what works. In addition to the inspection evidence in QuISE, our advice includes access to a Scottish version of the Education Endowment Foundation’s Learning and Teaching Toolkit, and also our own Interventions for Equity, which shares a range of interesting examples and approaches from Scottish schools which have been involved with the SAC programmes.

Other significant changes we have introduced this year will also help. These include clarity on the model of assessment for the broad general education, which is teacher judgement of children’s achievement of Curriculum for Excellence levels, informed by a range of evidence and high quality moderation.  This demonstrates the value and trust placed in our teachers to make overall judgements about children’s progress. In doing this, teachers helped us to create the new Benchmarks for literacy and numeracy, which clarify the national standard for the achievement of each level.

We are taking a broad definition of the attainment gap and are not just considering statistics on overall attainment in isolation. If we are to achieve the vision of Curriculum for Excellence we need to think about achievement in a range of areas too. Earlier this year I spoke to around 2,000 headteachers from every part of the country in a series of events. We encouraged them to think about the attainment gap in the context of five key areas:

  • Attendance
  • Attainment
  • Exclusion
  • Engagement
  • Participation

The first three may seem more obvious and in some respects easier to measure. However, engagement and participation are equally as important for children’s progress and development. Some schools have started to track all five areas, for example, observing the extent of children’s active engagement in learning through use of tools such as the Leuven Scale of Engagement.  They have also started to track the extent to which children participate in the school’s wider curriculum and wider offer.

Schools will not be able to make the breakthrough we want to see for children living in poverty on their own. Many third sector and partner organisations are making a major contribution to improving children’s progress and engagement, and there are examples on the National Improvement Hub; type ‘Scottish Attainment Challenge’ into the search box to see all our resources.

One of the most important partnerships is that with families and communities. In the first year of the Challenge this was the area in which we saw least activity, and we’re actively looking at how we can change that. Our Review of Family Learning provides a good evidence base and recommendations for ways in which family learning can be developed within communities.

With inspection looking at attainment (QI 3.2) from August, including how schools are using PEF to close the gap, now is a good time to self-evaluate your approach to attainment. We will be particularly interested in the rationale and initial decision making for the use of PEF, as we believe that this will be key to ensuring that the most effective interventions are selected for each individual school and community context.

Online collaboration is also a key feature of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. Our Yammer group on Glow for headteachers has over 1,000 members! The largest ever online collaboration between Scottish headteachers. My keynote presentation from the pupil equity conferences is available on the Yammer group. Further key materials will be shared through the Yammer group too. I am currently preparing a keynote presentation for our September Curriculum for Excellence conferences for headteachers. During this presentation I will discuss ways in which curriculum flexibility and curriculum design can be used to close the gap. I will also share the most effective approaches attainment advisors have shared and also draw on the key strengths from schools where HM Inspectors have evaluated the new QI on raising attainment and achievement.

Closing the poverty-related attainment gap is a national endeavour and something which many teachers feel passionate about. For many the main reason they entered the profession was to make the biggest difference to children’s chances in life, particularly those who live in poverty. Reflecting on QuISE’s five priorities for improvement, as well as the specific focuses of SAC, will help ensure the success of our drive to remove the pattern between lower attainment and living in poverty.

QuISE’s five improvement priorities are an excellent place to start.

Improving assessment measures in primary schools⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

By Sadie Cushley, HM Inspector and Lead Officer for primary inspection

It’s been an interesting and rewarding process to review our primary inspection findings for the recent report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (QuISE). In addition to that four year view, this year we have continued to observe improving practice, and this blog is a good opportunity to share some of that with you.

You can read the primary chapter from QuISE on our website. In primary schools, inspectors found that staff generally used a good range of learning and teaching approaches which enabled children to be more actively involved in their learning. Schools have taken many positive steps to develop and improve the curriculum and should build on this to meet the needs of all children.

Our evidence shows that schools now need to put in place better arrangements for assessing and tracking children’s progress, including having a shared understanding of standards within Curriculum for Excellence levels. As a priority, they should identify and address any gaps in attainment and achievement between their least and most disadvantaged children.

Our inspections continue to show that staff are working hard in most of the schools inspected to ensure that children are actively involved in their learning. Increasingly we see children less passive in their learning due to efforts made by staff to encourage children to think. A common misconception is that if children are moving around they are active in their learning.  Our strongest schools ensure children are thinking and learning during activities.

Often on inspections we can observe really strong practice in an aspect of learning in one class but not in another. It is important that staff visit other classes regularly to learn from their colleagues. A particular strength we observed in one school was where, as part of the moderation at a cluster level, staff at the same stage across the cluster planned a series of lessons to ensure consistency in standards. In addition, they observed these lessons being taught in classes providing feedback on the quality of learning and teaching. In doing this not only did they share expected standards but they achieved more consistent high quality learning and teaching.

This academic year there has been a noticeable improvement in the number of schools who now have a system to track children’s progress more effectively. In almost all schools inspected the headteacher and staff now have an overview of children’s attainment. Where this works best staff all have a clearly understood approach to assessment within their classes which is robust and informs their professional judgement.

In the strongest schools this is articulated in an assessment framework to ensure staff are clear of expectations. We have had several strong approaches to assessment in some of our inspections where staff plan assessment as they are planning their learning and teaching. Assessment is then part of the on-going work, it is less bureaucratic and there is a balance between the use of summative and formative assessment to inform staff of children’s progress.

Already we are seeing schools making good use of the benchmarks to assess children’s progress and make judgements about achieving the level. Since August we have noted some strong practice where staff and the senior management team  meet regularly to discuss the attainment of individuals and cohorts of children. In doing this, interventions are planned to raise attainment or close the gap in attainment, and previous interventions are evaluated as to their effectiveness.

A few schools inspected, in addition to having an overarching view of children’s attainment, drill down to monitor and evaluate the attainment of specific groups. For example, they look at specific cohorts such as children with English as an additional language (EAL), children who are looked after and accommodated (LAC) and children living in SIMD 1&2. This is particularly important in planning interventions to ensure the impact of pupil equity funding.

It is good to see these initiatives being implemented, and I look forward to seeing their impact on the outcomes of our primary pupils.

Erasmus+ Act for Careers Conference, 15th June 2017⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

We would like to invite you to attend the Glasgow City Council Education Services Erasmus+ Act for Careers Conference on Thursday June 15th  2017, 09.30 – 16.00 at, The Prince’s Trust Wolfson Centre, Cumbrae House, 15 Carlton Ct, Glasgow G5 9JP.

Glasgow City Council and the City of Nuremberg have been collaborating since 2014 under the Erasmus+ European education programme to improving support for young people’s employability skills in their transition from school to work.  The project entitled ‘Act for Careers’ has involved, schools, colleges, employment support teams and businesses to examine and learn from best practice in this field to inform and enhance local/national policy and practice at key transition points in young people’s development of their employability skills.  On March 9th 2017, City of Nuremberg delivered a conference on their findings and collaboration with the City of Glasgow. 

The conference will offer a range of workshops and plenary sessions on learning about the German education system, the benefits of:  international engagement; funded European job shadowing opportunities; enhanced practice on employability skills from school to work and on supporting young people from a refugee background into employment.  Speakers will include the Depute Mayor of Nuremberg, Executive Director of Education Glasgow City Council and project participants from both Glasgow and Nuremberg, including young people from Lochend Community High School.

Registration: Please complete the Erasmus+ ACT Registration Form and return it to by Friday 12th May to: UnitHeadEAL@gdss.glasgow.sch.uk  

 

Confident collaboration for improvement – the legacy of QuISE?⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

by Dr Bill Maxwell, HM Chief Inspector of Education

The publication of our report on Quality and improvement in Scottish education (QuISE), ranging back over the period 2012 to 2016, has been a great opportunity to take a step back from more immediate short-term concerns and take a ‘bigger picture’ view of what has been achieved over a period of major reform which has touched every area of Scottish education.

Having launched the report, I would now encourage each education setting to read their dedicated chapter and consider it in their self-evaluation.

Of course there is already good evidence around that, as result of the professionalism and expertise of staff and of course the efforts of learners themselves, outcomes have improved over that stretch of time. National Qualification outcomes have steadily improved and the proportion of young people entering a positive destination post-school now sits at a record high. Although there is still a long way to go, we have also seen evidence of progress in beginning to close the attainment gap between pupils from the most and the least disadvantaged backgrounds.

Equally, of course, not all in the statistical garden in rosy. We have also seen some unwelcome indications that we should be concerned about the pace of progress in literacy and numeracy through the broad general education, for example, and we saw a disappointing set of PISA results for 2015.

The QuISE report, offers a distinctly different, but complementary, perspective from that which you can get by simply looking at the statistics. It provides an analysis based on first-hand observation and evaluation of the quality what is actually happening in playrooms, classrooms, lecture rooms and other educational settings throughout the country. It summarises observation and evaluation undertaken by expert professionals, HM inspectors and indeed many other associates and lay members from education sectors across the country who join our inspection teams contributing a valuable additional perspective.

Our analysis of what has emerged from that more qualitative evidence base over the last four years has led us to conclude that there are some very positive and growing strengths in the provision and practice within Scottish education. These are strengths that align directly with the ambitions of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and other related reforms.

We are seeing improvement in the quality of learning experiences, with the result that young people are increasingly well motivated, engaged and actively involved in their learning. We are seeing schools and other education settings becoming more inclusive, we are seeing a broader range of achievements being promoted and recognised, and we are seeing the impact of strong leadership, with a clear and sustained focus on raising the quality of the day-to-day learning and teaching that learners experience.

The report also sets out a set of five priority areas. This is where we believe targeted improvements in practice and provision would reap dividends in enabling us to make further progress towards meeting our collective national ambition of achieving excellence with equity for all Scottish learners. They include: exploiting more fully the flexibility of CfE; improving assessment and personal support; enhancing partnerships; strengthening approaches to self-evaluation and improvement; and growing a culture of collaborative enquiry. In all cases these go with the flow of current reforms and national strategies and in each case there are already examples of excellent practice in the system.

Taking a longer view of what has been achieved over the last few years, and thinking about where we go next, has also had quite a personal dimension for me, as I retire from the role of Chief Executive of Education Scotland this Summer. As I prepare to move on, I am convinced that the Scottish education system is well placed to make substantial progress across each of these key areas.

If I were to pick out a linking theme it would be about collective commitment across all partners in the education system to work together, to help each other, and indeed to constructively challenge each other, in ways which provide richer, more coherent, more personalised learning pathways capable of matching the needs of all our learners. Confident collaboration for improvement rather than competitive isolation should be the Scottish way, reflecting our deep national commitment to a strong education as a common public good.

Taking account of the themes in this report, and with the National Improvement Framework providing a new level of clarity and focus from national to local level, I am confident that we can rise to the challenge that the OECD left us with following their 2015 review: to make sure we achieve the potential of a progressive programme of national educational reform, by taking bold and specific action to fully realise its benefits. I hope the QuISE report helps inform discussion and debate in education settings of all types, across the whole country, about where that specific action is needed and how boldness can be ensured as it is pursued.

 

SCQF School Ambassador Programme⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

In 2015/16 the SCQF Partnership launched its School Ambassador programme with the aim of identifying and confirming SCQF Ambassadors in schools to raise awareness and understanding of the SCQF as well as promoting its use among learners, school staff and parents. A successful programme ensures the impact of the Framework is maximised, that it is perceived as a vital tool for progression and that the benefits of the Framework are being communicated to learners across all schools.

Six schools were initially approached, all of whom were extremely keen to take part. After training and as part of the package to schools, both plaques and badges were awarded to:

Margaret Ford Monifieth High School, Dundee
Laura McQueen Prestwick Academy, South Ayrshire
John MacPherson Oban High School, Argyll
Raymond Perry Braeview Academy, Dundee
Jane Cleghorn St. Mungo’s Academy, Falkirk
Sharon Watson St. Andrews Secondary School, Carntyne, Glasgow

In the latest phase of the programme the SCQF Partnership has developed a Memorandum of Understanding which makes it clear what is expected of participating schools and what support they will receive.

In summary the Partnership will:

  • Deliver an initial training session for participants;
  • Present trained ambassadors with an “SCQF School Ambassador” Certificate, Ambassadors badge and an Ambassadors Resource Pack containing exemplars of materials required to deliver on-site sessions;
  • Support Ambassadors by providing all the necessary resources to deliver training sessions in schools including lesson plans, case studies, presentations and associated materials;
  • Provide opportunities for schools to participate in real life SCQF projects;
  • Provide opportunities for staff and pupils of the school to be involved in events which showcase the different ways in which the SCQF can be used;
  • Provide opportunities to engage in SCQF related competitions; and
  • Provide opportunities for pupil work experience within the SCQFP office in Glasgow.

 

Schools signing up for the programme will:

  • Undertake the initial training at the SCQFP office in Glasgow or an appropriate regional venue;
  • Cascade this training to other staff members and appropriate school pupils;
  • Ensure SCQF is highlighted on the school’s website and has a prominent place at Parents’ Evenings/events;
  • Engage with SCQFP via social media;
  • Ensure SCQF leaflets/newsletters/promotional materials are endorsed at school events;
  • Utilise SCQFfold, the SCQF online toolkit;
  • Promote short training sessions on the SCQF delivered by staff for parents; and
  • Promote short training sessions on the SCQF delivered by senior phase pupils for younger pupils and for parents.

 

Benefits for participating schools include:

  • A ceremony at school to award a plaque. This can raise awareness and act as a good promotional activity for the school;
  • A heightened profile for the school and acknowledgement of sharing good practice;
  • Opportunities for staff development through training for nominated Ambassadors;
  • A set of dedicated resources to allow ambassadors to deliver in-house events;
  • The opportunity to participate in real life projects such as developing web pages and toolkits for the SCQF website, designing promotional materials and taking part in school competitions which will further promote the Framework;
  • A better awareness of how to use the SCQF for pupils to plan their learning journey and make decisions about future learning;
  • An increase in confidence and self-esteem for pupils involved in the programme.

Schools have shown great interest in the programme and we are currently planning training events with Bearsden Academy, Greenwood Academy, Greenfaulds High School, St Joseph’s College and Cardinal Newman High School. We are keen to explore opportunities across Scotland.

Sign up for our SCQF Ambassador training workshop taking place in our Glasgow office on Tuesday 7th March 10.00 – 12.00. If you are interested in finding out more about the programme please contact:

Brian Keegan at b.keegan@scqf.org.uk or phone 0141 225 2926

Govan High School Marks £2 Million Milestone For Youth & Philanthropy Initiative Scotland⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

yipThe Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) in Scotland has announced that a total of £2 million has now been awarded to local grassroots charities since the programme was first introduced in Scotland by The Wood Foundation in 2008. This year alone a total of 210 Scottish secondary schools will participate in YPI, actively engaging over 26,500 students in a hands on experience of social action and philanthropy.  The latest £3000 grant will be awarded at Govan High School’s YPI Final on Friday 18th November, marking a significant milestone for the YPI programme.

Commenting on Govan High School’s YPI Final and hitting the £2 million milestone, Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation said, “YPI is by far The Wood Foundation’s most successful philanthropic initiative in Scotland.  Beyond the grants YPI has awarded to local charities, the programme most significantly impacts upon young people, not only providing a valuable experience of philanthropy but also nurturing critical employability and enterprise skill development.  We are proud that today’s YPI celebration event at Govan High School marks a total of £2 million invested in local communities across Scotland through the programme.  This is a remarkable milestone, made possible through the dedication of our participating schools and charities, the support of our programme funding partners, and the enthusiasm of all participating students.”

Govan High School has now participated in YPI Scotland for two yip-govan-hsyears, delivering the programme across their full S2 cohort as part of the school’s Wider Achievement Programme. Through YPI, Govan High School students are encouraged to draw upon their strengths and learning from across the school, and look beyond the classroom in order to link closely with the wider school community.  Teachers at Govan High have noted a massive impact on their learners through the development of vital skills including research, communication and team work, and students have also demonstrated real commitment to the programme, with many dedicating their own time to visit local charities, as they address local social issues.

Nancy Belford, Head Teacher of Govan High School, commented, “As a school we strive to create a caring, inclusive and happy learning community and the whole ethos behind the YPI Programme helps to enhance this vision. YPI encourages our young people to care about their community through identifying a social issue that is important to them; it builds links between people and organisations in the wider community as students explore and visit charities; and it helps to promote inclusion as our young people come to understand what is happening on their own doorstep and what it is they can do to help some of the most vulnerable groups within the local community.”

The YPI programme is now delivered across 31 local authority areas throughout Scotland and over half of all secondary schools in the Glasgow City area are now actively involved in the programme.

Maureen McKenna, Director of Education at Glasgow City Council and guest judge at Govan High School’s YPI Final stated, “YPI is proving to be a highly effective framework through which students can broker and establish meaningful partnerships across their school community, develop essential skills for learning, life & work, and directly support local people & groups most in need.  This in itself encapsulates what Curriculum for Excellence is all about.  I am very proud of the involvement of schools in our area and that Govan High School’s 2016 YPI Final also recognises a total of £2 million invested in local Scottish charities through YPI.”