Category Archives: Braes High School

Grangemouth HS Developing Practitioner Enquiry for Professional Learning

Image result for photo of grangemouth high school

Yvonne McBlain attended the most recent meeting of secondary professional learning co-ordinators to hear how Falkirk secondary schools are using an enquiring approach to their self-evaluation and development of teaching and learning. Yvonne provided an update on the success and impact of the practitioner enquiry element of Falkirk Children’s Services’ probationer induction programme. Co-ordinators from each school then shared how they are exploring the extent to which this approach can impact on learning. Ash Wood, depute head at Grangemouth HS wrote up the following account of what this looks like in his school.

We have purchased resources to supply a “practitioner enquiry” section for teachers in our library.  We also offer limited financial support to enable teachers to buy resources to support their enquiry.  When they have completed their findings these resources are added to the library.  We have created a one side of A4 template for teachers to complete to share their findings with their colleagues.  Mrs Laura Gallagher (Teacher of Chemistry) has developed an interactive “toolkit” for teachers to use to help them understand, prepare for and complete a practitioner enquiry.  She has also conducted a pilot of the tool with her faculty colleagues and received very positive feedback both about the toolkit and the benefits of the practitioner enquiry process.  Laura has also shared and demonstrated her toolkit to CPD Co-ordinators in the authority.

Dr Alex Fraser (Teacher of Biology) will present his practitioner enquiry on pupil voice to our Extended Leadership Team later this session to promote the benefits of practitioner enquiry and demonstrate its relevance.  His findings will support PTs who have pupil voice as part of the Faculty Improvement Plans.

Laura will promote her toolkit, and practitioner enquiry in general at our staff meeting in February.  Leanne Welsh and Amy Nichol, two of our NQTs from last session who are now with us permanently, will also share their practitioner enquiries from last session to illustrate the process and how it has benefited their practice.

We are currently considering using our core School Improvement Groups as a way of taking practitioner enquiry forward, while conscious that the voluntary nature of the exercise is key to teacher “buy-in”.

 

The SCOTS Programme in Falkirk – Schools College Opportunities To Succeed

Steve Dougan, Falkirk Council Opportunities for All Co-ordinator, has been working with staff in all of Falkirk Council’s high schools as well as staff in Forth Valley College to develop the SCOTS  (Schools College Opportunities To Succeed) programme for learners in Falkirk. The video below provides a summary of the programme and the positive impact it has had on young people.

OneNote Class Notebook Creator

OneNoteMalcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of the Service and School Improvement division of Falkirk Council Education Services has been providing support to staff in several high schools in Falkirk on the use of OneNote Class Notebook Creator.

What is OneNote?

The ordinary OneNote is a free tool available to anyone. OneNote Online a free tool either for use online or as an app on a mobile device or via a web browser on a desktop PC or mobile device. It is akin to a ring-binder online – it can have multiple sections (like with colour dividers) each with multiple pages​. It can be used for a whole variety of purposes from pupil topic research tool to a learning journal shared by pupil with teacher. Microsoft OneNote is part of Microsoft Office 2013​ and is also part of the suite of tools available free to all users via Glow in Office 365. OneNote online is available via Glow and works with mobile devices​. For more information about how to go about using OneNote click here.

What is OneNote Class Notebook Creator and how is it different?

OneNote Class Notebook Creator is available to schools signed up to Office 365 for Education – which schools in Scotland get through Glow. OneNote Class Notebook Creator gives the facility for a single notebook to have different sections, each with unique access rights. So on setting one up in a class space within Office 365 (a Glow site) it automatically has a section which is open to the teacher to add content, and where the pupils can all see this content (but not change it or add to it). Another section gives all pupils a space to collaborate – they have access set up automatically to let them share and edit content with all others in that class. And the final section is for individual pupils to each have their own pages where only that pupil and their teacher can see the content – ideal for tasks competed by a pupil to be seen by the teacher and where the teacher can add comments to support the pupil, and where that is not seen by others in the class.

For more information about setting up and using OneNote Class Notebook Creator go to the following:

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/onenote-to-rule-them-all/ – the section at the top deals with OneNote itself, while the section at the foot of the page deals with the OneNote Class notebook Creator.

 

RED Book Award

 

Yvonne Manning , Principal Librarian, Service and School Improvement Team of Falkirk Council Education Service led the 8th RED Book Award ceremony on the 29th January  2014 in the Falkirk Town Hall.

 The shortlist this year was Mortal Chaos by Matt Dickinson, Torn by David Massey, Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley and Slated by Teri Terry.

This year there was an international dimension to the Book Award with young people from Nairobi (International School of Kenya and Mathare North Library) shadowing the award. It was very successful and they have renamed their book group The RED Book Club!

250 pupils from  the secondary schools in Falkirk Council participated in the Book Award reading, enjoying and debating the shortlisted books. Along with the Kenyan young people, they voted in December for their favourite book and planned a creative interpretation of one of the books to be performed at the award ceremony.

The Award ceremony had a wonderful atmosphere thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the young people. The performances showcased the creativity and  confidence of the young people. We particularly enjoyed the performances from Nairobi sent to us electronically. At the ceremony the radio broadcast team from St Mungo’s High School recorded interviews, pupil journalists from Graeme and Larbert High Schools wrote a news report which will appear in The Falkirk Council News, a film team from Braes High School filmed the event and a pupil from Falkirk High School, interested in photography, shadowed the council photographer.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Feedback from the some of the authors:

“Thank you so much for everything this week. I had the best time at the RED book awards. I think having the colour red as part of things added such a fun element to the day. I really enjoyed myself, and was amazed at how good the presentations by the schools were. ” Teri Terry

“Could I just say a big thank you, on behalf of David and myself, for the hospitality shown to us during our time in Falkirk. We enjoyed our visit to Scotland so much and are looking forward to returning when we have more time. Some of our favourite moments were seeing the children act out parts of the shortlisted books – especially Torn of course!” David Massey

And the winner of RED 8 is Slated by Teri Terry

Active Approaches to Numeracy

 

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Service and School Improvement Team recently organised a professional learning opportunity entitled ‘Active Approaches to Numeracy’. 57 colleagues from Primary, Secondary and the Curriculum Support team (including QIO) spent the day examining a range of active strategies to improve attainment in mental mathematics.

 Helen MacKinven, from Big Maths provided an overview of strategies including: jigsaw numbers, CLIC and partitioning. Colleagues were also treated to the experience of a ‘Beat That’ mental maths quiz.

Clusters then worked together to look at ways forward to improve attainment in mental maths. Feedback from this day has been extremely positive.

A number of colleagues have put their names forward to be part of the Numeracy Mobilisation Team. This work will inform the update of Falkirk Council’s numeracy strategy. The first meeting for this group is being held on 12th February. For further information on this, please contact Sharon Wallace at sharon.wallace@falkirk.gov.uk

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

English Focus Group – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Effective teaching and learning teacher and Carol Paton, Curriculum Support Officer, both of the Curriculum Support Team have begun work with a focus group of English teachers with representatives from all Falkirk High Schools.

This group has been set up to identify the key features of current approaches to the learning and teaching of English and to identify commonalities and differences between Primary and Secondary establishments.

The group began the first meeting defining Active Literacy. They then went onto provide an overview of current practice in the teaching of English in their schools.

 Colleagues from our High Schools have requested a further meeting with Sharon and Carol to examine the Active Literacy key methodologies and strategies explicitly taught at Early, First and Second level.

Sharon was able to share some of the online resources available via GLOW, Falkirk’s You Tube Active Literacy training videos as well as the Curriculum for Excellence – engaging parents short film.

Colleagues were able to consider next steps in establishing effective transition of literacy skills across learning. These included sharing ideas with their department, reviewing materials on GLOW and finding out more about Active Literacy in their cluster primary schools.

Comments included:

‘Am looking forward to coming back and finding out more about Active Literacy’.

‘Thanks – looking forward to meeting again’.

School College Opportunities To Succeed

Lynne Lauder, Enterprise Co-ordinator, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team attended the first Joint Team planning meeting for the implementation of the new  SCOTS (School College Opportunities to Succeed) programme which will be piloted as part of the Schools College Consortia in Falkirk during the 2013-14 session.

The event, planned and facilitated by Steve Dougan, Senior Phase/Opportunities for All Co-ordinator, Falkirk Council, Fiona Brown, Curriculum Manager Quality Assurance, Forth Valley College and Hazel Mackie, Principal Officer, Falkirk Council Employment and Training Unit brought together key staff from both Forth Valley College and the Schools.

Having shared an overview of the proposed pilot which detailed the importance of joint delivery and targets, staff from the varous college faculties presented their suggestions of what the college input would be.   Joint teams then worked to generate ideas of how work undertaken in the schools would complement the overall delivery.

Some time was spent on the practicalities of delivery i.e. the recruitment and interview processes and on identifying next steps.

There was a real buzz in the room as the group synergy brought forth some really exciting possibilities.  This is an exciting new addition to the curriculum in Falkirk which will bring rich benefits to the young people of the area.

The group meet again in early May so watch this space for updates.