Tag Archives: Leadership

Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning – A new cohort of facilitators

On 29th October Yvonne McBlain led the second training meeting for our newest cohort of Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme facilitators. There are 20 facilitators from 13 schools – 11 primary establishments and 2 secondary.

All of these teachers have chosen to make their development of the facilitator role part of their professional learning for the next two sessions.  Most of them are choosing to challenge themselves by taking on a distributed leadership role for their school colleagues. Some are helping build their whole school community and supporting their school improvement plan by using the programme as collaborative whole staff development.

After training session 1, the facilitators used the TfDL Glow group (click to visit) and their private facilitator group to complete follow up tasks. One of these was to say which TfDL session they would like to get to know/experience first. The majority decision was session 9 – Teaching for Deep Learning in an Active and Engaging Way. Click here to view the power point presentation for this session, and here to see hand out 1.

Yvonne was excited to hear how the facilitators are already using the programme with colleagues. They are enthusiastically applying their knowledge and experience  to support colleagues with their ongoing quest to improve classroom practice. Our vision is to move Falkirk schools from good to great!

Latest Developments in the Teaching for Deep Learning

Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Education Services Curriculum Support team has been working with our team of facilitators for the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme. There are 18 trainee facilitators for the programme – 15 from the primary sector and 3 from the secondary sector. Some are already taking on a distributed leadership role in facilitating teacher learning communities within their own establishments. Others are willing to facilitate sessions across the authority, and anyone wishing to access their services should contact yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk . The latest training meeting on 3rd October was the first opporunity for the facilitators to practise delivering the programme content to each other. Kim Davidson from Bo’ness Public PS, Jaime Thomson and Shirley Gallivan of Comely Park PS led the rest of the group through session 12 “Using professional collaboration to reflect upon & support teaching for deep learning”. The group was able to experience this session as participants, and then give feedback to Kim, Jaime and Shirley on their delivery. Read some of the feedback below:

Reflected and developed comments really well; Calm and purposeful

Pace really good – just right amount of time to reflect; Nice conversational feel

Allowed discussion to keep going – allowed it to go deeper; Circulated well

Deep understanding of content;  Made participants feel comfortable

This meeting also gave Laura Wallace, Fiona Caygill and Mary Jalland an opportunity to share how sessions they had facilitated in their schools had gone. Staff colleagues gave these facilitators very positive feedback about the value of the sessions for them. Mary reported that her colleagues had put into practice some of their actions from the session the very next day! This training session was a very positive experience for all concerned, and we look forward to the remaining 3 meetings this year where the other facilitators get a chance to deliver their chosen session to our group. Click here to visit the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Glow group and browse the session materials. * You may have to request permission to join the group – just click and ensure you type a short message explaining who you are and what establishment you work in.

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.

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

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 !

Informed Scotland

Informed Scotland – Issue 9 March 2013 is the first issue of this digest to be circulated within Falkirk Council Education Services. We have taken a subscription for a year and will review towards the end of year 1. The digest is designed for professionals who need to keep abreast of what is happening in the world of learning and skills.

Carol Paton, Curriculum Support Officer Secondary, Falkirk Council Education  Services Curriculum Support Team will review this from responses.

Selection and Recruitment

A two day training programme for senior managers was held recently and included tutoring by Anne Pearson, Curriculum Support Manager of the Curriculum Support Team.

Anne Hutchison , CPD Co-ordinator and Marian Boyle Curriculum Support Officer  Health and Wellbeing of the curriculum support team along with QIOs Tony Bragg annd Lorriane McFarlane  and Caroline Sweeney Depute Headteacher at Carmuirs Primary. All of this being led by Sheena Liddell.

Participants undergo a full selection and recruitment process inclusding live interviews with aspiring principal teachers  or aspiring Depute headteachers who have

The  outcome of this training is that:

Participants are familiar with expected standards relationg to Learning to Achieve section 4

We are looking for participants to adopt a behavioural event interviewing approach, as the best indicator of future performance is past performance. There are no “what would you do if…” questions but instead “tell me about a time when…” questions.

We are recruiting the best teachers and future leaders for our schools which in turn improves the quality of the learning experience for children.