In March 2015 March Church from Harvard University will come to Falkirk to launch an exciting new course run in conjunction with the Tapestry Partnership called ‘Making Thinking Visible’.
50 participants will have the opportunity to study in a year long programme that will look at thinking routines and building a culture of thinking in classrooms and across whole schools. The course is open to all Falkirk teachers and Early Years practitioners and will be at SVQF level 11. Following the inititial master class there will be 6 x 2 hour support sessions led by Tapestry tutors. Participants will be expected to complete essential reading and commit to trying out various thinking routines within their own classroom/nursery.
For more information and/or an application form please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will not be accepted after Friday 30th January 2015.
Gillian Campbell (Curriculum Support Officer- Secondary) coordinated the creation and development of ‘Subject Development Groups’ from September 2013. 25 subject specific groups were created and allowed opportunities for staff to look at the development of the new National Qualifications and share the burden of workload across schools.
Over the course of the year the groups met to plan development, implementation and evaluation of the NQs with each of our secondary schools able to send at least one teacher to each group.
Government funding was used, in part, to support the work detailed by each group to complete development work outlined in their individual action plans. This resource allowed SDGs to create and provide professional learning opportunities for subject teachers. In addition to this Falkirk have used the expertise of our SQA Nominees, markers and verifiers to assist with the professional development of their subject colleagues.
A survey was sent out to all staff involved to gauge their opinions on the value and format of SDG meetings. The results showed overwhelming positivity for the groups and the resources and networking opportunities they have provided.Some of the detail from this survey is provided in the infographic attached to this post.
SDGs have continued into the 2014/15 session to support the ongoing development of the nationals and higher as well as looking ahead where applicable to the new Advanced Highers to begin in session 2015/16.
Teachers continue to share work, ideas, thoughts and opinions through shared network and online folders, Glow and email.
For more information on Subject Development Groups or for access to the detailed evaluation of the project, please email: email@example.com
Gillian Campbell, Curriculum Support Officer, oversaw moderation funding projects during the 2013-14 session including one led by Stacey Collier-West, DHT at St Margaret’s Primary School and Nursery Class.
After consultation with the Curriculum Support Team it was decided that, at St Margaret’s Primary School and Nursery Class, Bloom’s Higher Order Questioning should be introduced across the school.
Three teachers were selected to observe good practice in another school and to then come back to St Margaret’s and demonstrate the Bloom’s pedagogy to three of their teaching colleagues.
Before travelling to the local school for observations the teachers involved completed a ‘Record of Collegiate Visit’. On this they detailed ‘Pre-visit’ notes where they outlined what the hoped to get out of the visit. They then used this same form to note points of interest, observations and notes made during the session and action points they feel will be addressed as a result of what they have seen.
After the process each member of teaching staff involved completed a self-evaluation sheet (based on Guskey’s framework) which delved into their personal reactions, personal learning, thoughts on organisation, support and change as well as their feelings about their new knowledge and skills and most importantly the impact on pupil learning.
Feedback from the three teachers involved in the initial stages of the project were positive in their evaluation of the work. One commented:
“I felt very supported by all members of staff and although I was a little apprehensive initially about the unknown, staff reassured me and the experience was highly enjoyable… Management was very supportive and asked at different points how it was going and if it was useful”
Constructive feedback did show that the turnaround between observing another school in the morning and then teaching in their own school in the afternoon was very tight and added pressure for the teachers involved.
The school have taken steps to monitor impact on pupil learning since running this project and will carefully study CEM data and other information including quality assurance information (observations, pupil voice groups and jotter monitoring).
Sarah Myles, classroom practitioner described her thoughts on the project:
“It was very important for me to see the questioning taking place as it made it very clear and manageable whereas before, on paper, I was not sure how to deliver this to younger pupils. The teacher took time to explain where the school had gone on its journey- starting with the fans then adapting them for younger pupils.”
Gillian Campbell (CSO Secondary) has been working with two Falkirk Primary Head Teachers and Glasgow, West Lothian and North Lanarkshire Education Authorities on a major project on moderation. This Education Scotland funded piece of work focused on moderation of their self evaluation procedures and Falkirk were represented by Cathy Quinn (St Bernadette’s RCPS) and Linda-Anne Reid (Stenhousemuir Primary).
One Head Teacher from each of the four authorities involved joined in two seperate groups to visit each other’s schools and act as critical friends. Suggested discussion points had been devised by the group based on the Self Evaluation expectations from Education Scotland. Meanwhile the 4 Local Authority leads met to discuss how each handled quality assurance at a strategic level in their councils. From this work we will look at impact and how individuals, authorities and the whole group will further develop aspects in our schools and authorities.
All 8 Head Teachers and 4 authority represenatives will meet to share their experience and contribute to the final report. If Education Scotland give their approval to the content of the final report then the work will be put on the National Assessment Resource during the summer.
For more information on this project, or assessment/moderation in Falkirk generally, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gillian Campbell (Curriculum Support Officer for Secondary) has been working, since taking up post in September, on the creation of ‘Subject Development Groups’ (SDGs) for Falkirk schools. At present we now have 25 groups representing the subject areas which our secondary schools present to SQA for new National Qualifications.
Each secondary school can appoint a subject specialist to join this group and the majority of the 25 SDGs have represenatation from each of the schools.
In their most recent meetings these groups have created action plans detailing the development work they feel is needed for the coming year in their specific subject area. Individuals and groups have opted to take on pieces of development work which will then be shared across the authority.
In additon to planning upcoming developments these groups discuss their experiences in implementating the NQs and as a platform for quality assurance of materials and for completing authority level moderation. In a time of massive curricular change in Scotland there has been recognition of the importance of secondary teachers working across schools to share workload and these groups are an excellent example of such collaboration.
For more information on SDGs and their work email: email@example.com
As newly appointed Curriculum Suport Officer (Secondary) for the CS Team I have responsibility for orgnanising the ‘Curriculum Manager’s Groups’ that bring together Principal Teachers/Faculty Heads from across the authority to discuss, share and generally raise standards for their subject areas.
In addition to this responsibility I also have a role in working with the SQA Nominees that we have appointed to work on behalf of Falkirk Council. Last year 35 Nominees were selected through a rigorous application and interview process and are now being deployed to various panel events and school visits to moderate assessments for the new National Qualifications.
In light of the recent devlopments in Nationals (1-5), and the imminent implimentation of the new Highers, it was felt that the authority would benefit from the creation of ‘Subject Development Groups’ to drive forward subject specific work in the council and these will replace CMG meetings for 2 of the 4 scheduled slots for the year.
Principal Teachers will have an important role to play in these groups, as will the relevant SQA Nominees who can bring first hand experience of the verification process.
Intitial Subject Development Group meetings will be held at the end on November and then a second meeting in late February. I look forward to updating you with the porgress of these groups later in the year.
For more information on Curriculum Managements Groups, Subject Developments Groups or SQA Nominees, please contact me via email; firstname.lastname@example.org