Category Archives: Continuing professional development

Falkirk Staff Online Spaces for Sharing Resources and Collaboration

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, has been supporting many central staff and staff within educational establishments across Falkirk Council to set up shared online spaces for making available resources to colleagues working in Falkirk Council, and to provide them with tools to collaborate.

These online spaces provide a means to share resources within the education community of all Falkirk Council establishments and can be accessed from here: http://tinyurl.com/pvmjx92

Each site provides at least one document store, and in many cases multiple document stores for making accessible resources in different formats, as well as picture galleries for sharing examples of practice, a discussion area for asking questions or sharing ideas, a news area for updates, and a weblinks area for quick access to related material elsewhere online.

Some of these sites are for sharing centrally sourced resources, some are for providing the means for staff in establishments to share with others, some provide a means to share with specific colleagues in different establishments, some provide structured professional development combining reading material, presentations and video, space for reflective comments with colleagues undertaking the same professional development and making use of video-conferencing spaces, and some provide a common space for clusters of schools to plan together and to pool resources for activities across multiple establishments.

These shared online spaces include Active Learning, Active Literacy, Art Teachers Network Falkirk, Bilingual and Traveller Pupil Support Service, Denny Cluster (including for Mathematics and for Outdoor Learning Network), Education Communications, Education Matters, Employee Review and Development, Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes Expanded for all curricular areas and for all levels, Falkirk Confucius Classroom Hub, Falkirk Headteachers, Good Practice Network, Graeme Cluster Good Practice Network (including cluster transition event planning), ICT in Learning and Teaching, Instrumental Music Service for Falkirk Council, Interdisciplinary Learning in Falkirk Council, Numeracy and Mathematics, Physical Education, Primary Language Learning 1+2 Resource Bank, Specific Learning Differences, Storyline, Teaching for Deep Learning, and the To Lead or Not to Lead programme, amongst other online spaces specifically for staff working in Falkirk Council.

Staff within Falkirk Council Education Services can access the above spaces by clicking on this link.

Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Facilitators

On 9th October members of the initial cohort of facilitators for the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme had their first network meeting for  session 2014/15. The main agenda item for this meeting was a general catch up on how each facilitator was using the programme to facilitate professional learning for colleagues.

The whole Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme is available in Glow (click to visit) and is being used in a variety of ways by teachers and schools across the authority to impact on teaching and learning. Here is a brief outline of what the facilitators are doing now that their initial training is complete.

  • As a result of using session 6 Using Higher Order Taxonomies as part of Teaching for Deep Learning (click to view power point) Iain Farrington and colleagues at Antonine PS have developed this (click to view) High Order Skills poster for their classrooms. Staff will use the chart to help them explicitly plan HOS for one curriculum area per term. Their eventual aim is for pupils to be able to identify the higher order skills they are developing and applying. Iain’s TLC is a voluntary one which he and colleagues choose to attend.
  • Sharon Welsby at Stenhousemuir PS also facilitated session 6 for colleagues and will deliver session 7 Planning Higher Order Skills into Teaching for Deep Learning (click to view) next. Teachers at Stenhousemuir are trialling and sharing how they are building HOS into their practice and are also aiming to build pupil awareness and understanding of which skills they are using when.
  • Charlaine Simpson is very interested in session 3 – Effective Questioning as part of Teaching for Deep Learning. A new Learning and Teaching policy for Grangemouth HS has been launched which gives opportunities to integrate many elements of the TfDL programme.
  • Kim Davidson and colleagues at Bo’ness Public PS particularly enjoyed session 6 in early October and have used all of their sessions so far to engage in really valuable professional dialogue. Kim is skillfully adapting the session materials to tailor them for her TLC and feedback from her colleagues is very positive.
  • Susan Macleod at Bankier PS also had very positive feedback from colleagues following her facilitation of sessions last year. She and colleagues want to take more time over fewer sessions from the programme this year in order to delve deeper into specific areas of classroom practice. Their chosen sessions are built into their SBNC and linked to the school improvement plan.
  • Fiona Caygill facilitated 2 sessions in Bowhouse/Victoria PS last year and will also be using session 6 this year to support development of classroom practice around HOS.
  • Pamela Webster intends to work with her colleague Rosemary McGaw to offer voluntary TLC sessions (1 per term over this session) using the programme. They will consult colleagues in Larbert Village PS about which sessions from the programme would be the most valuable.

Yvonne McBlain is the curriculum support officer with accountability for the ongoing development of the programme. She will add further posts sharing detail and evidence of impact of the programme, and the next facilitator network meeting will take place on 5th February 2015.

Dance – Progression

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, Physical Education Lead Officers from Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team organised a series of two Dance twilight sessions for primary class teachers and specialists. These courses were led by Anne Murphy,  from Education Scotland. Anne demonstrated how to provide a progressive Dance programme focussing on the Significant Aspects of Learning in PE from Early Level through to Second Level.  Content examples were given to and developed by the group showing how to link learning in a dance context with all other curricular areas.

Examples of the very positive feedback are shown below.

“This has impacted on the way I would teach a dance block with the children now as it is not about following a routine.”

” Children will get more ownership of their learning through dance by using these approaches”

” Will now use the ideas given to promote higher order thinking skills while teaching dance.”

 

 

 

 

Gymnastics – Using Apparatus

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, Physical Education Lead Officers from Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team organised a Gymnastics twilight for primary class teachers and specialists. This course was led by Anne Murphy,  from Education Scotland and specifically focussed on using apparatus. Anne demonstrated how to provide a progressive Gymnastics programme focussing on the Significant Aspects of Learning in PE from Early Level through to Second Level.  This was a follow on course from the first session with Anne in February, focussing on  developing practical content with literacy and numeracy links.

Examples of the very positive feedback are shown below.

“This was a wonderful course to support teachers, such as myself, when working to build confidence in our own practice.”

“The opportunity to learn more about the various techniques and how to carry them out properly was excellent and very enjoyable.”

“Demonstrations of the equipment has allowed me to be more confident using the equipment in my teaching.”

 
 

 

Avonbridge Dancers

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, PE Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team arranged a visit to Avonbridge Primary School to work with their Scottish Country Dance group. The purpose of this visit was to showcase good practice in Scottish Country Dance and create a  resource for class teachers. The  resource will help with the delivery of this activity context through curricular PE or as an extra-curricular club in preparation for the annual Day of Dance . We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the pupils and staff of Avonbridge for their warm welcome and willingness to assist us with this project.  Particular thanks to Mrs Rankine for all her input with the dancers.

Inter-Authority Moderation

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: gillian.campbell@falkirk.gov.uk

Raising the Bar in Physical Education

Morag Simpson and Morag Young PE Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team organised a hugely successful Raising the Bar Event for Physical Education on the inservice day on Thursday 13th February.

The day provided the opportunity for delegates to expereince  a combination of  practical workshops and presentations from both Education Scotland and HMIE. Feedback from all sessions has been extremely positive with the opportunity for Q & A sessions being greatly appreciated by all.

Morag Simpson and Morag Young are hoping to provide the same opportunity at the next inservice day on the 2nd May 2014.

Here are some examples of feedback given:

“Excellent day, informative and very useful”

” A very interesting day with lots of fun ideas and activities”

” Great having notes and resource links”

“Excellent resources to support teaching”

New Interdisciplinary Learning Blog!

Yvonne McBlain and Malcolm Wilson of Falkirk Council Service and School Improvement Team have created a new interdisciplinary learning blog. Yvonne will develop and maintain this blog as a major element of support for IDL across Falkirk Council education establishments.  She is working hard to fill the blog with useful material and valuable IDL practice. Click here to visit, and contact yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk if you have suggestions, ideas or  interdisciplinary learning practice to share.