Category Archives: Self Evaluation

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”.

 

Curriculum Development at Hallglen PS

IMG_2666On 19th April, Yvonne McBlain popped back to gather staff feedback on their curriculum development so far at Hallglen Primary School. 10 staff members were kind enough to give their time and views during this informal evaluation activity. You can read more about Hallglen’s curriculum development process here.

Staff described the following impact:

  1. Increased knowledge of the curriculum – specifically their ability to interpret the skills, knowledge and understanding built into the experiences and outcomes. This has helped them to build their curriculum more effectively, and enabled better planning.
  2. Although they didn’t realise it at the time, they were moderating their teaching and learning in various ways – through collegiate discussion, learning walks, and then joint planning with stage and level partners. This has helped integrate moderation and collegiality naturally, and contributed to a positive ethos and culture of sharing good practice and ongoing self-evaluation.
  3. Have a powerful understanding of progression – know which E & Os needed to be consistently progressed, and which ones could be done less often.
  4. Topics in school have changed radically and are much more relevant and responsive to pupil needs. Everyone in school has  an overview of which contexts are being used – not just for their own stage or level. This has enabled more powerful and effective transition between stages, and teachers feel confident and clear about what they have to teach and why.There is greater consistency across the school – they have a shared language, u nderstanding and vision for their curriculum
  5. Learning walks, peer moderation and observation visits are all more purposeful and help staff evaluate their progress together.
  6. Next steps in curriculum development are therefore clearer to all, but staff are looking forward to their formal, whole school collegiate evaluation of the changes made this session.
  7. There is the facility to offer pupils flexible and responsive progression pathways across the curriculum

IMG_2664

One of the new developments staff have worked on this session, is pupil understanding of the curriculum. This was felt to be a valuable way to increase attainment and pupil participation, and teachers developed specific learning experiences for their classes. Staff can see ways in which these lessons can be made more meaningful and appropriate to age and stage, and further development of these lessons will be done, but already the following impact has been observed:

  1. Children can have a genuine input into planning their learning.
  2. They now quite naturally reflect upon and evaluate their learning in action during a project as well as at the end.
  3. Pupils have the vocabulary and language to comment effectively on their learning.
  4. The curriculum lessons have “made the penny  drop” for a number of pupils – they can better understand the purpose and structure of the learning they need.
  5. Pupils have a better appreciation of what learning is and what they need to do to help themselves learn.
  6. They are now getting to know their curriculum and can see and comment on links across the curriculum. (Staff are therefore tackling the very challenging job of developing pupil understanding of interdisciplinary learning.)
  7. Pupils have the confidence to make respectful suggestions about how the teaching they receive could better meet their needs.
  8. They are better motivated and engaged by their learning.
  9. They think more deeply about their learning and can talk about it fluently.

IMG_2670

The need for a pupil curriculum understanding lesson was discussed at the last inset day and staff agreed to teach their lessons at the same time in the session. A general lesson was provided which each staff member adapted for their class if they wanted to. Stacey Walker, Kara-Anne Kelly and Louise McGlynn all talked enthusiastically about what they did, why they did it, and what the outcomes were. Stacey,  Kara-Ann and Laura Hurren then gathered the photos of work and displays shared in this post. Click here to listen to their description of this work. Yvonne would like to thank everyone involved for their time, especially Stacey, Kara-Anne and Laura for taking the time to record these files.

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

The new Standards for Full Registration

Hazel Cunningham, Primary Probationer Supporter, Service and School Improvement Team is currently undertaking a To Lead or Not to Lead project on effective transition between the old and new Standards for Full Registration. 

The aims of the project are:

*  to raise awareness across Falkirk teaching staff of the main changes in the new Standards for Full Registration

* to support colleagues in analysing the differences between the old and new Standards for Full Registration in order for them to adapt their practice

* to provide an overview for managers of the main changes to enable more effective Quality Assurance and focused CPD

The focus so far has been gathering evidence of what people already know about the changes in the new Standards and looking at the best way to provide information to a wide audience of people.  Twilight sessions have been run on ‘Working with the Revised Standards’ (August 2013) and input given at the PT Network meeting (Sept 2013), Curriculum Support Team meeting (Nov 2013), Early Careers Network (Jan 2014) and DHT Network (Jan 2014).  Feedback from courses provided so far has been positive –  “a very worthwhile course in developing my knowledge and understanding of the GTCS Standards.  I feel I have gained knowledge which I can pass onto my colleagues through ERD and CAT sessions” (PT Network Meeting).

 

PTs analyse the new Standards

 

By the end of the project Hazel aims to have a package which can be used by schools to support delivery of CAT sessions on the New Standards eg. presentation or poster.

To influence the outcome of this project, post your responses to the following questions:

* How much do you already know about the New Standards ?

* What other support or information would benefit you in your present role ?

* How might this information best be conveyed to Falkirk’s teachers ?

For any further information on the project please contact Hazel Cunningham at hazel.cunningham@falkirk.gov.uk