Category Archives: Grangemouth High School

Grangemouth HS Developing Practitioner Enquiry for Professional Learning

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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”.

 

Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Showcase Had a “Great Buzz”

WordleOur first Falkirk Learning to Achieve Showcase took place on 4th June between 4-5.30pm at Camelon Education Centre. 64 practitioners came along to get ideas, or to share work they had done with pupils relating to the themes in the Learning for Sustainability word cloud (top left).

17 pupils from St Bernadette’s RC PS, St Francis Xavier’s RC PS, Deanburn PS, Larbert HS & Stenhousemuir PS – stole the show with their enthusiastic and passionate explanations of their work. They very naturally demonstrated that they were confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens. Ellie Williams, a pupil from Bo’ness Academy, held the room spellbound with her performance of her own song “Train Track” then “Ae Fond Kiss”. Her music and lyrics powerfully communicated her feelings about her own community and were so evocative when combined with her beautiful, note-perfect singing.  IMG_4660

Anthony Hutcheson, Development Officer for Learning for Sustainability, Education Scotland opened the event with a brilliant, concise presentation of what LfS is all about. He really set the scene for the event and has been a great support for our LfS mobilisation team (Jane Jackson ,Yvonne McBlain, Megan Farr & Tony Bragg) and our emerging Falkirk Learning for Sustainability network.

IMG_4682During the short formal part of the event programme we were delighted to celebrate the achievements of 7 teachers who have gained Professional Recognition from GTCS for their Global Storyline development work. Kim McAuley, Global Education Advisor with the West of Scotland Development Education Centre (WOSDEC) kindly presented the following teachers with their certificates Liz Stephen & Laura Beattie (Deanburn PS), Heather Nicol (Carron PS), Holly Keenan (Bonnybridge PS), Brenda Bennie & Gemma Douglas (Kinnaird PS), Jennifer Main (Wallacestone PS). Our education service is proud to recognise this achievement, and it was great that the audience attending were able to help us celebrate their contribution in a public way. IMG_4658

Jane Jackson linked the content of Anthony’s presentation really well to set the scene for Ellie’s performance and then the mingling and sharing of good practice began.

17 establishments were represented at the event: Mariner Support Service, Kinnaird PS, Rannoch Nursery, Bonnybridge PS, Deanburn PS, St Francis Xavier’s RC PS nursery class and their SCIAF project, Stenhousemuir PS, Larbert HS, St Bernadette’s RC PS, Carrongrange School, Larbert Village PS, Wallacestone PS, Slammanan PS, Limerigg PS, Denny HS, Airth PS and Grangemouth HS. Our own Learning Resource Service took over room 13 and turned it into a wonderful cornucopia of resources useful for supporting teaching and learning around Learning for Sustainability – as always, these were beautifully presented and selected.   Visitors could circulate from this room, via the sustainably decorated improvised café (where consultation on LfS in Falkirk could be left, and leaflets could be picked up) into the main market place, then into the foyer where all of the stalls and displays were set up.

IMG_4680The event was made even more valuable by the participation of a number of organisations who support teaching and learning through Learning for Sustainability, and/or can provide professional learning for practitioners. These included Communities along the Carron (CATCA), Scottish Development Education Centre (SCOTDEC), Project Trust, the British Red Cross, and Grounds for Learning. The John Muir Trust, and Traidcraft were kind enough to send in leaflets and materials for distribution at the event. Yvonne McBlain and Jane Jackson would like to thank everyone involved for their enthusiastic participation, and for creating that lovely BUZZ.

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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.

11th Enterprise in Education & Enterprise Champions Awards

Lynne Lauder, Enterprise Co-ordinator, oversaw the 11th Enterprise in Education Awards at Grangemouth High School on Thursday 12th June.
10 Schools attended the event to receive their certificates presented by Nigel Fletcher, Acting Director of Education.
The Awards, which started in 2006, recognise excellence in the delivery of  Enterprise in Education in schools. Awards are presented at Bronze, Silver and Gold level.  Schools who have managed to sustain Gold level for three years have the opportunity to go for Platinum.  

The schools recognised at Gold Year 2 or Year 3 at the event were, Antonine PS, Bantaskin PS, Grange PS, Kinneil PS, Deanburn PS, Larbert Village PS & St Margaret’s PS.   Four schools achieved Platinum status, Drumbowie PS, Maddiston PS, Carrongrange School, Larbert HS.  We now have 21 Platinum Enterprise schools in Falkirk.Schools also have the opportunity to nominate partners as Enterprise Champions and to date we have 461 individuals who have received recognition for their work in inspiring and motivating young people to be more enterprising.
The event was a great success as is demonstrated by these smiling faces .

Visitors from the Flemish Community in Falkirk.

Anne Hutchison (Support Officer for Professional Development), Hazel Cunningham and Nicola Soroka (Probationers Supporters) and colleagues in the Curriculum Support team welcomed educationalists from the Flemish Community. This gave them a flavour of life in Falkirk’s schools and an overview of the unique support provided by the Council for Probationer teachers.
In the morning, the group visited Airth Primary School, Grangemouth High School and St. Mungo’s RC High School, where they had the opportunity to meet staff and pupils.
In the afternoon, the group participated in the Induction Meeting for next session’s Probationer teachers.
We would like to thank GTCS for providing the opportunity to work with a great group of people! Thanks also must go to Julie McKenna, Paul Dunn, Stephen Phee and their colleagues for making the group welcome in their schools.

Commonwealth in rhyme – creating and editing audio recordings to share online

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, supported pupils from the Grangemouth High School cluster to create and edit audio recordings which they shared online as part of a national Digital Commonwealth project. Creating, editing and using an online tool to share recordings provided one set of skills learned across a series of themes in this project.

Working with Dugald MacGilp (of Young Reporters for the Environment, part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful Charity) and Steve Duffy of Grangemouth High School the pupils were set the task of creating an audio recording of a piece of writing in rhyme which represented a Commonwealth country of their choice. Some groups of pupils chose to find a representative poem from a Commonwealth country of their choice, while some did some research about their chosen Commonwealth country and their Commonwealth athletes (in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow) before creating a piece of writing, poem or rap.

Click here for Jamaica Rap which one group of pupils pupils created, edited in Audacity (including adding backing sounds) and uploaded to AudioBoo, free online podcasting host.

Click here for Swaziland Rap which another group of pupils created, edited in Audacity (including adding backing sounds) and uploaded to AudioBoo.

Audacity is free downloadable software which works like a word-processor except it is used to edit  audio recordings. With a simple click on a record button in the screen, and with a connected headset/microphone a redording can quickly be made of any audio. Once recorded there are simple cut/copy and paste icons just as in a word-processor to remove unwanted noise or move elements and reuse in a different sequence. It can also be used to have multiple tracks so that once the spoken word (for example) is recorded you can play it back and also record a new track at the same time (such as to add a beat sound). Once you are finished editing the audio you can go to File – export – and save as an mp3 file which is then ready to be shared with others for playing back. Click here for more information about where to download the Audacity software and how to use it.

AudioBoo is one of a number of free online tools which can be used to either upload previously recorded mp3 files or to record straight from microphone. The resulting AudioBoo recording can then be shared with others and played straight from the page where it is stored.

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

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’.