April 21, 2017
by A. Paterson
Comments Off on Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung

I am afraid that I haven’t managed to update the blog for a wee while. Hopefully now Spring is in the air that I will manage to keep up with the blog.

It has been a very busy time within the service and a particularly difficult time. The Education Scotland report on the Education functions of Argyll and Bute Council was published on the 21st March. The report has detailed the following specific areas to be addressed within the service:

  • significantly improve young people’s attainment across the authority;
  • improve the use of data, ensuring greater rigour;
  • continue to improve the quality of educational provision with consistently higher levels of support and challenge from central officers and elected members;
  • improve relationships and communication, promoting a more positive ethos amongst all stakeholders; and
  • improve the quality of strategic leadership and direction at all levels within the education authority.

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March 8, 2017
by A. Paterson
Comments Off on A Week of Networking

A Week of Networking

I spent Monday morning in an online meeting discussing transformational change within the Council Services. An interesting concept about how we deliver services differently and more efficiently. I have been challenged to look at our Education Service and how we deliver differently. I am keen to hear any ideas from colleagues. Can we look at using learning technologies, do we use our resources differently? Please let me know.

After lunch I enjoyed meeting with the Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay Head Teachers to discuss staffing allocations for 2017/18. It was great to get the chance to hear about the challenges and how we can get to grips with getting adverts for next year on the go as quickly as possible. Anne Margaret Houston, Admin Officer: Staffing and Fiona Johnston, Education Officer have been working hard to get the overall staffing picture for the Authority.

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February 27, 2017
by A. Paterson
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Agents of Change

February has been a month for me of change and the need to meet deadlines at a frantic rate.  We certainly need to take on board being agents of change.

The first Sunday in February saw Alison MacKenzie, Principal Officer Early Years and myself head north to Elgin for a meeting at 9.00am on Monday the 6th of February.  We met with colleagues from the 7 Northern Alliance Authorities to discuss the challenges and current policy drivers in implementing 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare.  Like our colleagues in Shetland, Orkney, Western Isles, Highland, Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City there are many considerations on how 1140 hours will be provided in 2020.  Although 2020 seems a long way off there is much to consider including training of workforce, building adaptations and working with partners.  In a wide and varied rural area like Argyll and Bute there is significant challenges to be overcome and many settings require to be looked at on an individual basis.  Alison and I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss these issues with our colleagues and the opportunity to share much of our current good practice.

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February 6, 2017
by A. Paterson
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Closing the Gap

January was always thought of as a quiet and somewhat dull month.  Certainly not this year.  There has been a real focus on the Scottish Government’s Closing the Gap.  This week we have seen the announcement of by the Scottish Government of the new £120 million Pupil Equity Funding scheme.  Across Scotland 2,374 individual schools have been allocated money to target support where it is needed the most.

Argyll and Bute Schools have been amongst the schools to benefit from Scottish Government’s Pupil Equity Funding.  A National event was held in Glasgow on the 1st of February and details of the funding and the requirements were shared.  Further information will be delivered to all Head Teachers at the Head Teachers meeting on the 28th of February.

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/Schools/Raisingeducationalattainment/pupilequityfund/Schoolallocations

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January 24, 2017
by A. Paterson
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Vision,Strategy and Leadership

The first week back in January has been a busy one getting ready for the launch of the new vision and strategy for education “Our Children, Their Future. There has been quite a scurry getting the final document all proof read, lay out agreed and various themes considered. As an Education team we spent time looking at the final document and exploring how we can implement the strategy. Leadership of implementation will be very important across all areas of the service.

Last Monday the new Education Vision and Strategy was launched at Tarbert Academy in a 3-18 setting and it was an important step forward for Education Services in Argyll and Bute.

The Strategy, Our Children, Their Future, strengthens our determination to ensure that Argyll and Bute is the best place in Scotland for our children to grow up in, incorporating a vision of partnership working to deliver equality excellence and ambition.

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January 9, 2017
by A. Paterson
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Looking back and looking forward

picture-1

I hope 2017 brings a great deal of professional and personal satisfaction and wellbeing to all. The last couple of weeks over the holiday period have been very relaxing and happy time for me. This year our family time has been full of visits to and from family and friends. We had a major celebration with our elder daughter becoming engaged on Christmas Day. We have had time for reflection and for future planning.

When I look back professionally on 2016 it has probably been one of the most demanding years in my career. Not only have we raised expectations from Scottish Government on closing the attainment gap and raising attainment for all but we also are fully aware of greater scrutiny from all bodies. With all the external expectations it remains imperative that we continue to focus on the individual children in our care. At the end of December 2016 we saw publication of the new 2017 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan for Scottish Education and the 2016 Evidence Report. Both of these documents continue to challenge the way forward for 2017

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December 20, 2016
by A. Paterson
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Reflections

This time of year tends to be a time of reflection. As educators reflection is always an important part of our daily practice. Perhaps as we get to the year end reflection becomes more of a focus.

On Monday I attended DMT at Kilmory and the meeting involved time with the trade unions and useful reflection took place around the implementation of Service Choices particularly around support staff. This was a difficult time for all staff involved and I am thankful to all involved in how we have managed to meet this saving. Later on Monday I joined the tracking and monitoring group and we reviewed our approach to tracking and the need to greater consistency to improve our collation of data.

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December 15, 2016
by A. Paterson
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PISA and Scottish Education

This week has been quite a week for Scottish Education. The results on Tuesday from the PISA report have made stark reading and identified that there are areas of development across Literacy and Numeracy and Science to be undertaken.

http://www.oecd.org/pisa/

These results made headlines and once again schools became the targets of having to do better. Curriculum for Excellence has again come under scrutiny. I still firmly believe that the principles and purpose of Curriculum for Excellence are correct however along the way of implementation there have been many difficulties. The importance being set against the PISA data and the analysis indicates the current climate for data rich intelligence as a core to improvement. This is something that forms my practice daily as Acting Head of Education.

Pasi Sahlberg touched on PISA results in his presentation at the ADES Conference.

http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ADES-Talk-2016.pdf

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December 7, 2016
by A. Paterson
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Invitations and Visits

This week has seen the beginning of invitations to school festive activities.  So far I have accepted a nativity, a panto and a party tea. I am keen to get out to schools and this time of year is an exciting time to visit and share time with staff and pupils.

week9-3This has been a busy week visiting mainly in the east of the authority.  On Tuesday I attended a meeting with some of the senior management team at Hermitage Academy. Whenever I visit Hermitage Academy I am always struck by the calm environment.  The young people are welcoming and very much involved in the life of the school.   I also met with the Cowal and Bute HT on Tuesday at Dunoon Grammar and we had an opportunity to discuss various issues.  One of the areas under discussion was how to embrace the positive aspects of social media but also be aware how it can be misused and cause problems for staff and pupils.  I completed a very busy Tuesday with a special viewing at Innellan Primary of the art exhibition put on by Toward and Innellan Primary Schools. There was some stunning art work that the children produced and I managed to secure a very special piece to add to my collection in my office.

 

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December 1, 2016
by A. Paterson
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Getting it Right

There has been no greater need for everyone in Scotland to be getting it right for our children.  During November I have heard John Swinney deliver his message for Education three times.  Each time he has mentioned the 3 priorities policies of Getting it Right for Every Child, Curriculum for Excellence and Developing the Young workforce.  He is very committed to Getting it Right but there are many questions still to be answered in how this is to be delivered.  This week on Thursday and Friday I attended the ADES Conference. The theme was Equity.  It was a very interesting conference looking at the future for Education and challenges on how we meet the targets of the government and how Education plays its part in closing the poverty gap and improving life chances for all our young people. On Thursday a powerful presentation was made by the governor of Polmont Young Offenders institution, and I have to say, I sat with a tear in my eye at the amazing work being undertaken to take forward improved life chances.

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