Category Archives: Teaching Standards

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 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.

 

 

Effective Teaching – Uganda style

 

Yvonne McBlain, from Falkirk Council curriculum support team was fascinated to hear about the parallels observed by Sarah Ritchie and Jill Stocks during their recent visit to Uganda. Sarah  embarked upon this visit expecting to focus on the differences between Scottish teaching and that delivered in Uganda. However, instead she has been struck by the similarities of the fundamental elements of teaching in Kampala and Bonnybridge!  One of her first observations was the sharing of learning objectives with pupils – in Kampala classrooms these are very effectively shared with pupils – despite the differences in resourcing levels there. Teachers in Uganda are challenged by very large classes, small classrooms and limited resources – a chalk board and a piece of chalk basically. In spite of these limitations these teachers are making extremely effective use of what we would call formative assessment. Other aspects of practice familiar to Scottish teachers commonly used were: pupils teaching pupils, active strategies used to gauge understanding, regular peer feedback, a very natural and integrated use of outdoor learning, and a very creative range of randomising techniques. Teachers at every stage ensured that pupils had a clear understanding of success criteria for their tasks. The ethos and life of this Kampala school was overwhelmingly positive and affirmative and achievement and learning was truly and enthusiastically celebrated. Click here to view a page of teacher planning Uganda style, and click on the pictures at the start of this post to see short video clips taken by Sarah during her visit.

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.

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

Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Programme

Falkirk’s Teaching for Deep Learning programme is now available to support school-based professional learning. This programme consists of 19 sessions focused on aspects of effective teaching which are essential to the promotion of deep learning in our pupils. The sessions are active, intellectually stimulating and designed to be experienced by collaborative groups of practitioners such as Teacher Learning Communities.

 “Teaching Scotland’s Future” said that the “foundation of successful education lie in the quality of teachers and their leadership. High quality people achieve high quality outcomes for children.” Without a doubt what it means to be a teacher is being re-conceptualised.  Enabling our teachers to operate as enquiring practitioners and encouraging their self efficacy is at the heart of this programme.

 Trialling in a range of establishments this session has demonstrated how flexible the content of the programme is, and that there are varied ways in which it can be used.  View these variations in the document at the end of this post and consider if any are useful to you as you self-evaluate and create your school improvement plans. 

 The programme was created by Susan Dyer, Head teacher at Bankier Primary School, Gillian Campbell, PE teacher from Braes High School and Sharon Wallace and Yvonne McBlain from our Curriculum Support Team. Colleagues across our service have helped the team revise and improve the programme and we have a team of 16 facilitators currently training to deliver it.

 I am confident that the programme aligns with the recommendations of the Donaldson Review, the new suite of GTCS standards & Professional Update and our own Employee Review and Development process. I recommend it to you.

 To discuss how this programme might support your School Improvement Planning in more detail, contact yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk . Click here  to view a summary of programme sessions.

Working collaboratively to spot talent!

Anne Pearson, Curriculum Support Manager, led a staff development session with Early Years and Primary leaders looking at  how talent is managed in Falkirk Education Services.  This work relates to how we are managing change, which in turn is  influenced by context and culture.

Context and  culture is influenced by many things and the groups made use of the following key influencers: 

  • Learning to Achieve (Falkirk Council, Education Services, 2009) Section 4,
  • the revised General Teaching Council for Scotland standards that come in to play in August 2013 

 Falkirk’s goal is to ensure that teaching and learning will be delivered by highly skilled practitioners with increased levels of professional autonomy and accountability. Class teachers through to Headteachers have a role to play in delivering this goal; the focus of the session was how leadersgo about selecting and recruiting new staff.

The learning intentions for the session were

• to have  a clear understanding of revised strategy- know the big picture

•acquire new learning re behavioural event interviewing

In turn, the participants noted it was ‘changed days’ and that it was important to ‘know the processes’  and also ‘to start to think of a long term strategy for talent management’. Another big question was ‘how do we grow and retain our own talent?’ and that in times of fiscal constraint ”how do we make sure we get a return on our investment?’

Here is what some leaders are going to do in light of what they learned: 

  • I need to look at staff development , thinking more about PTs moving on to becoming DHTs
  • I am going to find out how to get involved in our assessment centres
  • I can now apply further understanding  to the planning and running of my future assessment centres
  • I will attend the upcoming Selection and Recruitment training event
  • I am speaking to others so I can  clarify how to take forward recruiting a PT
  • Go talent spotting!

Let’s end on this comment- it sums up where our leaders want to go:

I got such a buzz out of this session- working as a collaborative is powerful !