Category Archives: Bonnybridge Primary School

GTCS Validates Falkirk Employee Review and Development

General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) validates Falkirk Council Education Services Employee Review and Development (ERD) Framework

As part of the ongoing development of our ERD strategy, a team led by Norrie McKay from the GTCS visited Falkirk today to carry out a validation exercise. Along with Margaret Mackay (West Dunbartonshire) and Tara Lillis (NASUWT), Norrie met Anne Pearson, Service Manager of the Curriculum Support Team and Anne Hutchison, Support Officer Professional Development with the Curriculum Support Team as well as four groups of GTCS registered staff.

The groups included:

  • Permanent class teachers
  • Temporary and supply teachers
  • Promoted teachers
  • Specialist teachers ( Art, Music, PE, Outreach, Preschool Home Visiting, Specific Learning Differences teams)- Centre based staff ( QIOs, Pupil Support Manager, Curriculum Support Officer, Probationer Supporters, Support Teacher – Effective Learning and Teaching)

The purpose of the visit was to endorse the validity of the ERD process for GTCS registered staff in relation to Professional Update.

Anne Pearson and Anne Hutchison presented on the history of PRD in Falkirk. They discussed the big messages about the development of the revised ERD process (Glow log in required)and shared three key papers that explain the rationale and processes related to ERD. An engaging professional dialogue took place which was informative for all!

To validate the assertions made by the accountable officers, the GTCS team then met with 4 groups of staff who are involved in the new process and have informed opinions about their work profile & self evaluation prompt materials (Glow login required) . Once the triangulation process had been carried out, Anne Pearson and Anne Hutchison rejoined the validation team to hear the outcome of their scrutiny. Norrie McKay shared the team’s evaluation verbally and the service will receive a written report by the end of the session. This will be shared with all schools.

Overall, the feedback was highly positive and we anticipate that no conditions will be attached to the forthcoming validation report. Key strengths were identified:

– a quality process with quality documentation to back it up

– a clear vision for ERD in Falkirk with exemplary short, medium and long term planning

– coherence with other processes ( e.g. Recruitment, School Improvement Planning, Distributed Leadership)

– clear focus on the impact on teaching and learning

– high levels of trust in the process

– a continually improving process that responds to evaluations/feedback ( e.g. HT & validator survey monkeys)

– High quality partnerships with staff

– Staff think the central team has its finger on the pulse in relation to professional learning

The following recommendations were put forward for consideration:

– ensure involvement of temporary and supply staff

– continue to develop advice on evidence portfolios for Professional Update

– continue to reflect on the revised standards ensuring alignment

– continue to develop the quality assurance processes

This is a cause for celebration and another example of the great work that is going on in Falkirk schools. Thanks to all who gave up time today. Thanks also to all who have given up time over the last 2 years designing, delivering, participating, testing and SUPPORTING!

Click here to go to the Glow Group for Falkirk Council Education Services Employee Review and Development

Active Learning in Health and Wellbeing using Smart Notebook software on a Smart Board interactive whiteboard

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, organised and supported a hands-on continuing professional development session presented by Anne Forrest of Steljes for staff from primary schools in Falkirk on the use of Smart Notebook software with the Smart Board interactive whiteboard to support active learning in Health and Wellbeing.

Anne Forrest guided participants through hands-on use of a host of interactive techniques using Smart Notebook software with the Smart Board which a teacher could use to support learning and teaching in the classroom in health and wellbeing. These included different ways of using tools like the magic pen tool (to zoom in, magnify, spotlight, and fade out annotations), object animations to provide feedback, rub and reveal, move pictures to reveal, hyperlinked objects on images, pulling items to self-correct, matching images within tables, page activity recording. The variety of different gallery items from images to engaging interactive tools such as timers were illustrated in health and wellbeing activity contexts, as well as how to adapt the host of lesson activity toolkit pre-created game-type interactives to any topic. Hands-on use of the resources on the Smartboard by participants illustrated how the activities can be used to help engage pupils in their learning.

There are also many free pre-created templates and question sets ready to be downloaded and adapted by teachers from Smart Exchange to suit the needs of their own pupils. Click here for the online Smart Exchange site where these can be downloaded.

Anne Forrest made her resources available to all participants, which can be accessed by clicking here (note that a Glow username and password is required to access these resources).

Feedback from participants included:

“Excellent with clear explanations and practical examples.” HK – Bonnybridge Primary School

“Excellent presenter.” MS – Kinnaird Primary School

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives and History On This Day – a support session for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives & History On This Day – some of the tools presented by Malcolm Wilson (ICT Curriculum Development Office in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services) at the support sessions for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools (and to which secondary ICT Co-ordinators are also invited) – an opportunity to be guided through a hands-on exploration and use of a variety of online tools to support learning and teaching in Falkirk primary schools.

* The YouTube Channels for Falkirk Council Education Services and schools provides a resource to share videos created for Education Services in Falkirk Council as well as a link to each of the YouTube channels of Falkirk Council educational establishments. Having a school YouTube Channel provides a means to upload school-created videos and more easily share or embed elsewhere such as class blogs or school websites. Playlists in a YouTube Channel also let you bring together videos, of relevance to your own school, created by others from elsewhere on YouTube in topic/curricular headings. Falkirk school YouTube channels are created centrally for each school on request so that the technical setup of settings, etc, is not a burden on schools, yet the control for the each school channel is with the school.

* Powtoon provides a free online tool to create short animated promotional videos for schools or event in schools. These can be embedded on school websites and blogs. These animated videos can be used to promote a school event, activity or explain a topic. A description and examples can be found here: http://glo.li/WY4Ek2.

Interactive Teaching Programs for Numeracy and Mathematics are free online resources designed for whole-class teaching via interactive whiteboard. Each tool is versatile in letting teachers use it in any way to best suit the needs of their learners. For each tool there is an extensive helpguide available as a pdf for viewing either on-screen or printing out. These tools are designed to support the teaching and learning process with a teacher guiding a pupil, group or class of pupils, through their learning, and a pace appropriate to them. They are flexible tools so can be used at many stages in primary school. There is a host of tools included covering: Area, Calculating angles, Coordinates, Counting on and back, Data handling, Decimal number line, Difference, Division Grid, Fixing points, Fractions, Grouping, Isometric grid, Line graph, Measuring cylinder, Measuring scales, Moving digits, Multiplication facts, Multiplication grid, Number dials, Number facts, Number facts, Number grid, Number line, Number spinners, Ordering numbers, Place value, Polygon, Remainders after division, Ruler, Symmetry, Tell the time, Thermometer, and Twenty cards. They are available online here: http://glo.li/UR9HOS

* #OnThisDay in History – resources for connecting historical events, related to specific anniversary dates, to pupils today, can provide a means to connect events of past with work in class on specific days across curriculum – helps make connections with the past whether for a curricular area, a historical topic era, or lesson starter on any specific day. These free online tools provide short descriptions of events which happened on each day in the calendar (for any year). They can be searched on specific days, and any year. So if studying a historical period such as World War 2, the Romans, etc then events in sequnce day by day in any particular year can be shown. If teachers like to help pupils relate to historical events sometimes the starting link can be to look at events which happened on the day (in any any year) of their birth, or the year of their birth. If looking for links to music events, or studying art techniques through artists in history, then there are specific sites here which group these related anniversaries of events (including first performances, display, births and deaths).   The information which suits the occasion for the teacher and learners on any specific occasion can be used on a class blog or school website as a “hook” to connect events yesterday and today http://glo.li/Whu37F

* Twitter for schools – most Falkirk schools have school  Twitter accounts to help share activities going on in the school and increase engagement by the wider community. A list of these Falkirk educational establishments with links to their Twitter feeds (as well as resources supporting the use of Twitter by schools) can be found here: http://glo.li/12iKXTz. Once the Twitter feed of posts is embedded on school websites, posting information via Twitter on a mobile device makes it quicker to add news items onto the website as the information being shared by the school is instantly shared on the website without the need to log into the editing panel of the school website. Using Twitter also means that parents and others in the school community can choose to follow the latest information from the school, and share this with others to help more widely spread the good work of the school. Support can be provided to schools looking at setting up and using a school Twitter account or getting it added to a school website.

Feedback from participants at the support sessions included:

“Great, practical ideas as ever!” JC – St Bernadette’s Primary School

“Lots of useful resources.” AW – Head of Muir Primary School

“Lots of great ideas today – very worthwhile.” GM – St Joseph’s Primary School

“Now a convert to Twitter!” CM – Bo’ness Academy

“Yet another very useful session – many thanks.” LB – Moray Primary School

“Helpful and informative insight into ICT developments.” SD – Grangemouth High School

“Lots of great ideas.” FB – Kinnaird Primary School

“Great information – thanks!” FK – Bantaskin Primary School

“Thank you – very informative as always!” CH – Comely Park Primary School

“Very practical and helpful as ever.” RO – Easter Carmuirs Primary School

Smart Response tools to support Assessment for Learning

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, organised and supported a hands-on continuing professional development session presented by Anne Forrest of Steljes for staff from a variety of primary and secondary schools in Falkirk on the use of Smart Response tools to support Assessment for Learning.

Anne Forrest took participants through the use of Smart Response handsets to respond to a series of questions, then showed how that information could be used by the teacher to support learning and teaching in the classroom. Then she guided everyone through the steps to set up their own teacher profile and their class lists, so that when pupils use the handsets the responses could be analysed by the teacher to provide support as required. Anne Forrest made her resources available to all participants, which can be accessed by clicking here (note that a Glow username and password is required to access these resources).

Smart Response tools work in tandem with Smart Board interactive whiteboard software and provide a means for teachers to get feedback from all of their pupils in their class. This can be before a class starts work on a new topic in any curricular area in order to guage the prior learning of pupils, or they can be used regularly during a teaching session to let the teacher keep ensuring pupils have understood each step before proceeding to the next step (or quickly pick up where different teaching strategies might be required), or as an assessment at the end of a teaching session.

Sometimes called classroom response systems, class voting tools or clickers, these Smart Response tools are just one type of the many tools now available specifically to help gather feedback from all pupils in a class. These let teachers get a quick response at the beginning, during or end of a teaching session. This way the teacher has a wider overview of the undertsanding at any time of the whole class and not just of a few individual pupils. Used as part of an Assessment for Learning strategy a teacher can change the pace or direction of teaching to take account of responses from pupils.

There are many free pre-created templates and question sets ready to be downloaded and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of their own pupils. Click here for the online Smart Exchange site where these can be downloaded.

Click here for more information about classroom response systems.

Responses from participants included:

“Very useful session – took us through the set up step by step which was fab – learned lots – thank you! What an amazing tool.” KD – Stenhousemuir PS

“An excellent course – very informative and great, easy to follow instructions. I can’t wait to try them out. Thank you.” LD – Langlees PS

“A super session and great explanation on how to use Smart response.” JM – Bantaskin PS

Exploring elements of planning with Denny Early Years Cluster

On Tuesday 16th April Yvonne McBlain from the Curriculum Support Team worked with 27 early years practitioners from the Denny cluster. She facilitated a workshop which explored how practitioners were integrating essential elements of assessment into their planning of interdisciplinary learning. The workshop gave these practitoners an opportunity to work with their establishment colleagues on 2 “challenges”. These challenges were designed to enable collaborative and individual self-evaluation of planning effective connected learning. They also supported identification of the most relevant next steps for partricipants. The session was designed to generate questions as well as providing access and guidance on next steps. Participants said that the session was “useful” “informative” “made you think” and was “well-designed and enjoyable”. Here is a selection of next steps identified by participants:

Further conversations with colleagues around planning

Think more about what our success criteria will be while planning – which should make evidence and assessment more relevant

Develop team’s ability to identify appropriate learning intentions and success criteria

Review approach to planning

Share with other staff (higher classes in school)

Exciting changes at Denny Town Centre

Lynne Lauder, Enterprise Co-ordinator, based at Camelon Education Centre attended an exciting meeting with Jacquie McArthur, Economic Development Officer within the Council’s Economic Development, Growth and Investment team today.

Plans are moving along for the new Denny Town Centre and Jacquie and Lynne will be meeting in early April to design a twilight CPD session aimed at staff in the Denny Cluster (but open to all) on utilising the town centre development as a context for learning. 

The session, which will be held in Camelon Education Centre on 22nd May, will include information on the plans, suggestions of how this can be tied into lessons and opportunities to consider skills development around the activities.   

The descriptor will be out to schools post Easter, so watch this space!  This could be just what you were looking for to make those crucial My Future’s in Falkirk links for your Enterprise Awards.

Staff booking onto CPD

Jamielee Dickson, Clerical Assistant within the Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team deals with staff booking onto courses. Jamielee is the person at the end of the phone or sending e-mails for staff booking onto professional development.

Quality Physical Education -2 hour target

Morag Young, Physical Education Lead Officer,  in Falkirk Council Education Services, Curriculum Support Team has been engaging in series of meetings supporting the delivery of quality physical education in Falkirk primary schools. These meetings with Headteachers of Denny and Graeme cluster primary schools were to explore a variety of ways in which schools were able to meet the delivery of the 2 hour target to fulfil the pupil entitlement. These discussions provide the means to share different solutions to the different contexts in relation to staffing, accomodation and resources to name but a few.

Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics

Anne Forrest from Steljes presented a continuing professional development course to staff from a wide range of primary schools in Falkirk on “Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics.” This was organised and supported by Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team.

This provided hands-on guidance to making use of many of the interactive features of Smart Notebook software to support staff to make learning and teaching in mathematics more engaging for pupils.

Reference was made to resources available to download for free at Smart ExchangeSmart Notebook Express provides a means to access some of the tools in Smart Notebook online.

The presentation by Anne Forrest, along with a host of other resources colleated by Malcolm Wilson to support Falkirk teachers to be able to download the software for use at home, can be found by clicking on the Falkirk Glow Group for ICT in Learning and Teaching.

Comments from participants included:

“Lots of interactive ways to engage learners – opportunities to try these out were useful.”

“Excellent ideas to take away.”

“Very good tips on using the Smart Board in class.”

“Excellent mix of information and practical activity.”

“Extremely helpful course which has provided a vast amount of knowledge and resources to help deliver engaging lessons.”