Category: Self Evaluation

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”.

 

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

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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.

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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

A Saturday Morning spent thinking about Employee Review and Development!

Last Saturday morning Anne Pearson, Curriculum Support Manager, headed down to the Falkirk Football Stadium  to team up with Colin Finlay who was hosting the event in his new role as Falkirk EIS Learning Representative. Over 80 teachers from Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Stirling and North Lanarkshire came along and whilst  football was not on the agenda, we engaged in continuous professional development all about Professional Update  and  Employee Review and Development (ERD) supported by delicious bacon rolls and lots of hot drinks. Ken Muir,the Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council Scotland and Larry Flannagan the EIS General Secretary shared their thinking on the importance of high quality CPD, how this links with Professional Update and is a key factor in school improvement. To quote McKinsey, “The quality of an educational system  cannot outperform the quality of its teachers. The only way to improve outcomes is to improve learning and teaching.”     These national and international perspectives have informed the  rationale for Falkirk Education Service’s ERD systems and processes. Anne Pearson focussed on 4 key elements of effective ERD and shared exemplar Work Profiles, explaining how these were developed and link  to the revised national standards that went live in August this year. The morning ended with a Question and Answer session, the panel being made up of Ken Muir, Larry Flannagan, Anne Pearson and the local EIS Secretary Margaret Smith. The presence of such a large group of committed teachers on a weekend illustrates there is a high level of interest in Professional Update and review and development. Good teachers wanting to know how to be even better! Education Services look forward to continuing our partnership with our professional associations.

 

 

Update on our Teaching for Deep Learning Programme

Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk’s Curriculum Support team has now created a page for each of our Teaching for Deep Learning sessions here in Glow. Five of our secondary schools have used, or are beginning to use these sessions as content for their Teacher Learning Communities and working groups. Nineteen of our primary schools have already accessed at least one of the sessions – sometimes as a whole staff, and other times within smaller collegiate groups. We have 18 TfDL (Teaching for Deep Learning) facilitators who are being trained to deliver the sessions – some want to do this in their own schools only, whereas others are happy to make themselves available across the authority where needed. Four of our secondary schools are modelling a whole range of Donaldson Review recommendations regarding professional learning in their use of the programme. Most have recruited teachers interested in becoming facilitators within their schools, who then attend an information session (Click to view) on the programme from Yvonne. Each school is then deciding how they can enable staff to identify which sessions should be priorities for their professional learning this session. Once these decisions are made, teacher learning communities interested in the same sessions can be formed. The same model of distributed leadership (facilitators) and professional autonomy through self-evaluation is being taken forward by some of our primary schools “in house” too. Feedback from participants of  sessions so far confirms the value of the programme as one of the ways in which we can move Falkirk schools from Good to Great.

Offering a Gateway to CPD

CPD Manager PortalStuart Lennie, along with Lynne Lauder and Anne Hutchison of the Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team have been working to commission and implement a new way for staff to search, request, and record CPD opportunities.

The new CPD Manager Portal, provided by Gateway, replaces the existing paper based CPD course catalogue and booking system, and will allow Education Services staff to browse and request CPD from anywhere with an Internet connection- either in or out of work. In addition, the system will support the Employee Review and Development process and automate Professional Update for GTCS registered staff.

The Administration Team, made up of Ann Peoples, Fiona Dyson, Elaine Hunter, Kate Hotchkiss, and Jamielee Dickson, are currently processing the courses for next session in time for the launch in August!

At the start of the new session, all Education Services staff will receive an email containing their login for the new portal.