Tag Archives: schools

Response to International Council of Education Advisers recommendations⤴

from @ Engage for Education

The Scottish Government has accepted a list of far ranging recommendations from the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) to help empower and strengthen the Scottish education system and ultimately improve attainment.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “We are fortunate to have the advice and guidance of the International Council of Education Advisers. They are helping support our ambition to deliver excellence and equity for all of our young people and ensure Scotland is a world leader in education. I thank them for their valuable time and insight.

“The ICEA made 19 far ranging recommendations to help empower and strengthen our education system and ultimately improve attainment, and these have all been accepted.

Their expertise and variety of perspectives have helped to drive real improvement within our education system, and it is clear from our response to their recommendations that progress has already been made. By challenging and scrutinising our plans each step of the way they have helped to ensure we are making the right decisions to improve outcomes for all of our young people.”

Dr Allison Skerrett, speaking on behalf of the International Council of Education Advisers, said: “The International Council of Education Advisors (ICEA) were pleased to attend the Scottish Learning Festival to present and discuss our June 2018 report with educators from across Scotland and beyond. We also valued the opportunity to reflect on our recommendations with the Scottish Education Council and the Deputy First Minister at Broughton High School.

“Over the two days of meetings, our discussions with the Deputy First Minister, Scottish Government and Education Scotland focused on how Scotland can enhance a collaborative culture across the system to support all young people to achieve their full potential.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s response to our report and look forward to our continuing role to provide advice for policies and practices to improve the Scottish education system.”

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Guest blog from Maths Olympiad Agnijo Banerjee⤴

from @ Engage for Education

As Maths Week 2018 draws to a close, we welcome a guest blog from Maths Olympiad Agnijo Banerjee.

Agnijo won gold at this year’s International Mathematical Olympiad in Romania receiving a perfect score of 42 out of 42 in the 2-day/nine hour-long competition, he was one of only two out of 594 contestants to achieve a perfect score. This was the UK’s first perfect score in 24 years. A truly remarkable achievement.

Last week Agnijo met the Deputy First Minister for lunch at Holyrood, after which he reflected on his achievement at the Olympiad and his hopes for the future.

I knew I had a passion for mathematics from a very early age. In primary school, I was always moved up several years until eventually they contacted Grove Academy and I ended up going there for maths. I was taught one-to-one by one of the maths teachers from Grove Academy and I did my Standard Grade in Primary 7.

Grove Academy has been extremely supportive of me throughout, and has always ensured that I am adequately challenged. In the last two years of school, I went to Dundee University to try some of their modules (third year in S5, fifth year in S6).

Grove Academy has also encouraged me to take part in a number of mathematics competitions and I have been doing the British Mathematical Olympiad ever since S2. The British Mathematical Olympiad is part of the long selection process that ultimately leads to the International Mathematical Olympiad, which I did this year .

It was a wonderful experience to go to the International Mathematical Olympiad. The actual competition was over two days. On each day there were 3 questions to solve in 4 1/2 hours, with the first question on each day being “easy” (they are all extremely difficult, but these were easy relative to the others), the second being “medium”, and the third being “hard”. The two hard questions were extremely difficult but I managed to solve both of them. It was amazing to be the first UK contestant in 24 years to achieve a perfect score. ie 100%.

It was a great honour to meet the Scotland’s Education Minister Mr. John Swinney . I was invited to Holyrood to meet him during the Scottish Maths Week. I was very pleasantly surprised when he took a keen interest and asked me questions about the IMO and my other academic achievements. I felt greatly motivated by being recognised by the minister. I presented him a copy of my book Weird Maths , which hopefully he will enjoy reading.

In the future I want to reach the top of my chosen field- Mathematics and hope to able to make Scotland proud.

Reflecting on his meeting with Agnijo, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said:

“It was a pleasure to meet Agnijo and his father today and Maths Week Scotland 2018 is the perfect opportunity to celebrate his astonishing achievements in the Maths Olympiad.

“Agnijo is a credit to Grove Academy and a shining example of how Scotland’s state school education can nurture ability and help talent flourish.

“We need to make sure that as a country we have all of the skills that we require for the future and in schools we need to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills that will serve them well for life.”

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DFM joins Pitlochry pupils for magical maths show⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Pitlochry High School today for a special Maths Week Scotland performance by ‘International Mathemagian’ Andrew Jeffrey.

A professional magic show with a twist, the show was entirely based around mathematics and learning with tricks using numbers, shapes, money, mind-reading and illusions.

Speaking after the show, Mr Swinney said:

“Andrew’s entertaining performance completely embodied the spirit of Maths Week Scotland and our ambition to show people the beauty, accessibility and possibilities of maths. His interactive style, mixed with humour and intrigue, combined to create the perfect formula for engaging both those who love maths as well as pupils who sometimes lack confidence to engage in the classroom.

” It was fantastic to see the young people in the audience completely captivated by Andrew’s tricks and illusions. After the show I met with some of the pupils and I was interested to hear their individual experiences of maths and how events like this can help to bring the subject to life.”

Mathemagian Andrew Jeffrey said:

“I get a sense that there’s a real buzz about Maths Week Scotland which is brilliant to see. Events like this show us that we can start to enjoy and have fun with maths and we all know that we work harder at things we enjoy.”

Hundreds of events, activities and lectures are taking place across the country this week as part of Maths Week Scotland 2018. Join the conversation on Twitter with #MathsWeekScot

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Enigma legacy lives on in codebreaking challenges⤴

from @ Engage for Education

More than 70 years after Alan Turing and his colleagues cracked the Enigma code, helping to save many millions of lives during World War II, their story remains an inspiration to budding mathematicians around the world.

Throughout Maths Week Scotland students in Angus will be given the chance to step into Turing’s famous shoes and learn more about his team’s vital work.

Practical workshops run by the education team from Bletchley Park will test their problem solving skills and show them the fundamentals of codebreaking. Students will also have the rare opportunity to see a real, working Enigma machine.

Speaking after meeting students involved in one of the workshops at Monifieth High School, Science Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“From cyber security to artificial intelligence, maths provides the essential framework for the life-changing advances that are re-shaping our world.

 “Technology has clearly developed considerably since the 1940s but today’s event was a reminder that the logical and computational thinking processes used by the original Bletchley Park codebreakers are now more relevant than ever.

“It was fantastic to have the opportunity so see an original Enigma machine in action and hear how maths provided the vital framework for cracking the code while providing a fun and interesting way to learn maths. 

“As we face the digital challenges of the 21st century there are countless opportunities for young people with maths skills. I hope Maths Week Scotland will help to spread that message and encourage more people to think positively about maths.”

Hundreds of events, activities and lectures are taking place across the country this week as part of Maths Week Scotland 2018. Join the conversation on Twitter with #MathsWeekScot

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Numbers add up as Maths Week kicks off with hundreds of events⤴

from @ Engage for Education

A maths magician, a guitar physicist and a codebreaking team from Bletchley Park are among the highlights of Maths Week Scotland, which starts across the country today.

There are hundreds of events, activities and lectures lined up with the aim of bringing numeracy to life and showing the fun side of maths.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will share a new maths challenge on Twitter every day, created for him by the Scottish Mathematical Council, and BBC Learning have teamed up with Scottish Teacher of the Year Chris Smith to create videos demonstrating how to solve the puzzles.

Mr Swinney said:

“Maths is an essential life skill for everyone to use, enjoy and to be successful – it underpins all aspects of life. Raising awareness about the importance and relevance of maths is vital – particularly as our society is becoming increasingly underpinned by data analysis, science and technology.

“Undoubtedly maths provides the framework for life-changing advances in all of these fields and celebrations like Maths Week Scotland challenge misconceptions and negative attitudes that discourage learners by demonstrating the accessibility, relevance and beauty of maths.

“Maths Week is at the heart of our drive to make Scotland more positive in its attitude towards numeracy and maths. Whether you’re a maths whizz, or haven’t thought about it since your last lesson at school, there is something for everyone, with hundreds of events covering all parts of Scotland, all ages and all sectors of society. I’m looking forward to visiting schools taking part this week and getting involved in the celebrations.”

Excellence and equity in maths and numeracy attainment is central to the Scottish Government’s ambition for continuous improvement in education and to close the poverty-related attainment gap. 

Programme highlights:

 ·         The Bletchley Park Education team visiting all secondary schools in Angus to explore maths and code breaking during the Week.

·         Maths ‘magician’ Kjartan Poskitt performing in primary schools in Wick, Thurso, Shetland and Orkney (as well as Orkney Library and Orkney Science Festival).

·         Maths performer Andrew Jeffrey performing in secondary schools in Perth, Pitlochry, Kingussie and Inverness.

·         An event for S5 girls in Edinburgh on the importance of maths from Heriot Watt and Edinburgh Universities and the International Centre for Mathematical Studies.

·         A Maths Circle for children, families and young people at Edinburgh University on Saturday 15 September.

·         The UK Mathematical Trust 2-day maths event for secondary pupils in partnership with Strathclyde University.

·         The Strathclyde Science Scouts will be visiting schools during the week for maths games and adventures.

·         The University of Glasgow have created a day of maths activities and talks activities for s3-6 pupils to attend.

·         Learning Links and Heather Reid will present to adult education practitioners at Glasgow Science Centre on exploring climate change using numbers and maths.

·         Heriot Watt University are holding a session on the Maths of Social Media for higher and advanced higher pupils.

·         The West Partnership are holding a numeracy and maths all-day staff conference to launch Maths Week on Saturday 8 September.  It’s fully booked.

·         University of Edinburgh are hosting an evening event for maths teachers with a range of speakers including Scottish Teacher of the Year 2018 Chris Smith and the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP.

·         St Andrews University are giving lectures in 3 local schools and will also be hosting a viewing of their special collection of ancient mathematical texts and pairing this with a lecture. 

·         Dr Emily Grossman, an expert in molecular biology and genetics, will visit Grange Academy in Kilmarnock to inspire a group of S3 students about the exciting opportunities for young people (and especially girls) following careers in Maths and Science.

·         The National Museum have built maths into their solar and wind power workshop for p5-7 pupils and created an associated maths resource for teachers.

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Results day⤴

from @ Engage for Education

For more than 135,000 young people and their families today is the most anticipated day of the summer as they receive their SQA results.

I had the opportunity to meet just a few of them during a visit to Firrhill High School in Edinburgh this morning and again at a special SQA celebration for care experienced young people in Glasgow.

They should all be proud of the hard work and determination that has gone into preparing for today, as should all our young people receiving results right across the country.

It is also important to remember that, whatever the outcome, today is only the beginning of an exciting and sometimes unpredictable journey to the career of your choice.

So what do the results tell us?

Overall, Higher passes are stable, despite a continuing fall in the number of young people on the school roll, while the number of Advanced Highers being taken continues to grow. This is the first year where unit assessments have been removed from the National 5, and the overall pass rate remains high at 77.4%. The number of awards of skills-based qualifications increased to over 50,300 this year, more than double the number in 2012.

That reinforces to me, yet again, that we have fantastic young people led by dedicated teachers and lecturers delivering first class education in our schools and colleges every day. And that is backed by a robust, credible assessment system. I would like to offer my congratulations to everyone involved.

Today we also welcomed figures that show a record number of students from Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas gained a place at university – the third consecutive annual rise.

The poverty related attainment gap – the cycle of poverty that passes from one generation to the next – is closing. Every child growing up in Scotland, regardless of their background, should have an equal chance to succeed.

I am delighted we are making steady, sustained progress on ensuring students from the most deprived areas of Scotland are going on to higher education.

At the same time, the total number of Scottish students from all backgrounds getting a place at a Scottish university has hit a new record.

We have more people from Scotland going to university than ever before, more modern apprenticeship places than ever before, and our colleges are delivering more courses with qualifications and awards that help get people jobs than ever before.

I know there is much more to do but today is the perfect time to reflect on the progress we have made within Scottish education to date and, most importantly, to celebrate the success of each and every one of our young people.

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Adverse Childhood Experiences⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Today Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, will host an event  bringing together Government Ministers and key stakeholders with an interest in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

More than 80 experts working across Scotland in all of the main sectors affected by ACEs will take part in discussions aimed at understanding what is already working well, highlighting where further action is needed and exploring opportunities for collaboration to drive progress.

Read his blog post  below about what ACEs are, why they are important and what we are doing in Scotland to tackle them.


What happens to us as children can have a huge impact on the rest of our lives.

When young people have adverse or traumatic experiences growing up this impacts on their emotional and physical development, their capacity to learn, and thrive.

 

The experiences we have during our childhood shape who we are and how we interact with the world, especially if those experiences are harmful, and without the right support the effects can last a lifetime.

 

The first adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) study was done over 20 years ago in the US but recently this long-standing evidence base has been gaining increasing international interest. The impacts of ACEs on children, adults, services and wider society are clear to see.

 

A recent study in Wales showed that those who had experienced ACEs were more likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes, have high-risk drinking, smoking or drug use and were more likely to have been in prison.

 

We are determined to make Scotland the best place for children to grow up and we need to make sure we’re doing all we can to prevent adverse childhood experiences occurring in the first place, and where they do happen, to reduce their negative impact.

 

By making sure children and adults get the right support, at the right time, we can support their resilience and prevent a cycle of adversity being passed down from generation to generation.

 

Adverse Childhood Experiences are not a new thing, but the way we tackle them in Scotland is changing.

 

Today I will be joined by half the Scottish Cabinet at an event I am hosting to hear from people working across the main sectors affected by ACEs.

 

It marks the start of the journey to create a united approach across the whole of Scotland to ensure we are doing all we can to prevent ACEs and respond to them in the most effective way when they do happen.

 

I am looking forward to honest and direct conversations with experts from across the board to find out what is already working well in preventing and responding to ACEs, but also where we can improve.

 

Some of these conversations might be difficult but one thing we can all agree on is that the end result, improving the life chances of our children and young people who have had the toughest start in life, is the most important thing we can do.

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One year on – what’s happened since the first annual Cabinet meeting with children & young people?⤴

from @ Engage for Education

I am delighted to publish our progress report on the actions agreed at our first annual Cabinet meeting with children and young people, which took place on 28 February 2017 at Bute House.

Representatives from the Children’s Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament attended this meeting and raised issues that were important to them.

A short film, co-produced by the children, highlighted school and teachers, feeling safe in the community, bullying, and what children need as areas to be discussed.

On the young people’s agenda were “Lead the Way” (Scottish Youth Parliament  manifesto), children and young people’s rights, “Speak Your Mind” campaign (on mental health), and the future of Scotland’s relationship with Europe.

At the end of the meeting, Cabinet members and children and young people collectively agreed actions for the year ahead. These actions have been taken forward by relevant Scottish Government policy teams over the past year. The report sets out our progress on these actions. We have also developed a children and young people’s summary.

The purpose of the annual meeting of Cabinet members and children and young people is to support the development of a more coordinated, systematic and sustainable approach to engaging with children and young people, enabling them to lead discussions by raising issues that matter to them and to inform the government’s agenda over the coming year.

Agreed actions from the previous event will be reviewed at the meeting of Cabinet Ministers with children and young people the following year.  This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that children and young people are at the heart of decisions that affect them,  as set out in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

We are committed to meaningfully and credibly engaging with children and young people at a national level and ensuring they are at the heart of decisions which affect them, with the aim of improving policy development and implementation.

Access the reports here:

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Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research 2016⤴

from @ Engage for Education

The majority of pupils are well behaved and a credit to their school, according to teachers across Scotland.

Behaviour In Scottish Schools Research (BISSR) 2016 is based on feedback from school staff and provides a picture of behaviour and behaviour management approaches in publicly funded mainstream schools.

 The research shows:

  •  The vast majority of staff in schools report pupils as being generally well behaved. Between 79-99% of staff (ranging from support staff to headteachers) reported that pupils are generally well behaved
  • Most staff gave their own school ethos a high rating (between 86% and 96% of staff reported this)
  • The use of restorative approaches and solution oriented approaches increased between 2012 and 2016
  • Most teachers were confident of their abilities to promote positive relationships and behaviour and to respond to indiscipline in their classrooms

 Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I very much welcome the news that the majority of pupils in our schools are well behaved. We want all our children and young people to behave in a respectful manner, not only to staff but also to one another, and we will continue to work towards making even more progress in this area.

“I would like to thank all our school staff who work hard to promote the positive relationships we want our pupils to aspire to.”

 Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People, said:

“COSLA welcomes the publication of the latest Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research which, as in previous reports, highlights that the vast majority of pupils are well behaved and respectful to their peers and school staff. 

“This is due, in no small part, to the hard work of all staff and pupils in our schools to promote a culture of positive behaviours and I thank them all for contributing to creating that positive ethos. 

We will work with all our partners to make sure that we continue to make progress in this area – for our pupils, families and communities.”

 Tony Rafferty, National Parent Forum of Scotland, said:

“As a parent of an S3 pupil and a member of the National Parent of Scotland, I welcome this comprehensive report. Now all parents will be able to find out what the actual scenario in Scotland is, rather than the perceived situation.”

 Katie Rafferty, Director of respectme, said:

“As Scotland’s national anti-bullying service, respectme welcomes this report and its finding that most staff encounter positive behaviour from pupils all or most of the time. We should however draw lessons from the views of teachers contained within the report about levels of respect and resilience, particularly among primary school pupils. 

“We must ensure that all children and young people experience the positive ethos and cultures within their learning settings that help them reach their full potential. Fundamental to this are relationships that are based on respect; between children and between children and adults.

Ellen Doherty, General Teaching Council Scotland said:

“The General Teaching Council Scotland is always welcoming of research which provides further insight and understanding of the key issues that our registrants face every day and importantly has the potential to impact and the classroom.”

 Larry Flanagan, Educational Institute of Scotland, said:

“Both the research and the report highlight the key role of the teacher-pupil relationship in creating an ethos where positive behaviour can be promoted and negative action, such as bullying, can be challenged.

“Supporting schools by ensuring that adequate resources are in place to allow a focus on relationships to flourish is vital. The EIS is keen to work with other agencies to this end and welcomes the report as a stimulus to action in this area.”

 

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Celebrating Book Week Scotland⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Forthview Primary School in Edinburgh today to celebrate Book Week Scotland and the delivery of this year’s Read, Write, Count bags to Primary 2 and 3 pupils across Scotland.

The Read, Write, Count initiative gives practical support to parents and carers to help them get involved in their child’s learning. Read, Write Count bags are delivered to all children in Primaries 2 and 3 alongside Bookbug bags which are gifted to Primary 1 pupils and Read, Write, Count ‘home kits’ which have been delivered to P4-7 classes in selected schools for the first time this year.

As part of the visit to Forthview Primary School, Mr Swinney met Primary 2 pupils who were reading stories and doing counting activities from the Read, Write, Count bags with the help of Primary 7 buddies.

Mr Swinney said:  “Evidence shows that parental involvement has a significant positive effect on children’s achievement and I was pleased to hear how Read, Write, Count helps children and parents have fun while learning together.

“I want to see standards and attainment improving and literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing are the priorities for our children’s education. Parental involvement and engagement plays a prominent role in our national plan to tackle inequality and close the attainment gap between our least and most disadvantaged children.”

The Scottish Book Trust worked in partnership with Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland to devise and deliver this year’s bags. In total, 453,450 free books will be gifted to children in Primaries 1, 2 and 3 during Book Week Scotland.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “We are delighted to be gifting the ‘Read Write Count’ bags during Book Week Scotland as there is no better time to celebrate the joys of books and reading. Each bag contains books and activities especially chosen to encourage learning and storytelling in a fun way that engages the pupils’ interests, and supports their learning in the classroom. Book Week Scotland encourages reading for pleasure and the ‘Read Write Count’ bags build on this.”

www.readwritecount.scot

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