Tag: professional learning

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.

Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Showcase Had a “Great Buzz”

WordleOur first Falkirk Learning to Achieve Showcase took place on 4th June between 4-5.30pm at Camelon Education Centre. 64 practitioners came along to get ideas, or to share work they had done with pupils relating to the themes in the Learning for Sustainability word cloud (top left).

17 pupils from St Bernadette’s RC PS, St Francis Xavier’s RC PS, Deanburn PS, Larbert HS & Stenhousemuir PS – stole the show with their enthusiastic and passionate explanations of their work. They very naturally demonstrated that they were confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens. Ellie Williams, a pupil from Bo’ness Academy, held the room spellbound with her performance of her own song “Train Track” then “Ae Fond Kiss”. Her music and lyrics powerfully communicated her feelings about her own community and were so evocative when combined with her beautiful, note-perfect singing.  IMG_4660

Anthony Hutcheson, Development Officer for Learning for Sustainability, Education Scotland opened the event with a brilliant, concise presentation of what LfS is all about. He really set the scene for the event and has been a great support for our LfS mobilisation team (Jane Jackson ,Yvonne McBlain, Megan Farr & Tony Bragg) and our emerging Falkirk Learning for Sustainability network.

IMG_4682During the short formal part of the event programme we were delighted to celebrate the achievements of 7 teachers who have gained Professional Recognition from GTCS for their Global Storyline development work. Kim McAuley, Global Education Advisor with the West of Scotland Development Education Centre (WOSDEC) kindly presented the following teachers with their certificates Liz Stephen & Laura Beattie (Deanburn PS), Heather Nicol (Carron PS), Holly Keenan (Bonnybridge PS), Brenda Bennie & Gemma Douglas (Kinnaird PS), Jennifer Main (Wallacestone PS). Our education service is proud to recognise this achievement, and it was great that the audience attending were able to help us celebrate their contribution in a public way. IMG_4658

Jane Jackson linked the content of Anthony’s presentation really well to set the scene for Ellie’s performance and then the mingling and sharing of good practice began.

17 establishments were represented at the event: Mariner Support Service, Kinnaird PS, Rannoch Nursery, Bonnybridge PS, Deanburn PS, St Francis Xavier’s RC PS nursery class and their SCIAF project, Stenhousemuir PS, Larbert HS, St Bernadette’s RC PS, Carrongrange School, Larbert Village PS, Wallacestone PS, Slammanan PS, Limerigg PS, Denny HS, Airth PS and Grangemouth HS. Our own Learning Resource Service took over room 13 and turned it into a wonderful cornucopia of resources useful for supporting teaching and learning around Learning for Sustainability – as always, these were beautifully presented and selected.   Visitors could circulate from this room, via the sustainably decorated improvised café (where consultation on LfS in Falkirk could be left, and leaflets could be picked up) into the main market place, then into the foyer where all of the stalls and displays were set up.

IMG_4680The event was made even more valuable by the participation of a number of organisations who support teaching and learning through Learning for Sustainability, and/or can provide professional learning for practitioners. These included Communities along the Carron (CATCA), Scottish Development Education Centre (SCOTDEC), Project Trust, the British Red Cross, and Grounds for Learning. The John Muir Trust, and Traidcraft were kind enough to send in leaflets and materials for distribution at the event. Yvonne McBlain and Jane Jackson would like to thank everyone involved for their enthusiastic participation, and for creating that lovely BUZZ.

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Sign up for the Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Showcase!

Word cloudFalkirk Council Education Services will hold a Learning for Sustainability Showcase event in Camelon Education Centre on 4th June between 4-5.30pm.

Jane Jackson and Yvonne McBlain are working with colleagues in schools and in the Service Support and Improvement team to make the programme for the event as rich as possible.

So far, we know that Scotdec will be there to share the professional learning they can offer and lots of wonderful resources teachers can use with their pupils. We are thrilled that Anthony Hutcheson, development officer from Education Scotland will welcome everyone AND will be sharing the new LfS professional learning area in Glow. Organisations like Opal, the John Muir Trust, Royal Highland Education Trust are all coming along to share how they can contribute to learning for pupils and for staff. CATCA will be there, and members of the Outdoor Learning Network will show how they have developed learning outwith the classroom.  Wosdec will also attend to help us celebrate the achievements of teachers and pupils taking part in the Global Storyline training programme.

We know that Falkirk teachers and early years officers use the Learning for Sustainability theme across many areas of the curriculum and are pleased to have a growing number of applications to share this work at the showcase. We know there is lots more good practice out there though so please click here for an application form and instructions if you would like to share your work too. The word cloud above shows just how diverse Learning for Sustainability is, and with your help, we are keen to show as wide a range of work as possible. LfS snip

Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to share this year at this event – you can always sign up using code LfS1 in CPD Manager. We would love to see you there to help build a strong and appreciative audience at the event. The more, the merrier – we look forward to seeing you on the 4th June!

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!

Professional Update

Claudia Flynn, Management Information Systems Assistant, for Falkirk Council Education Services would like to share a news article on the Professional Update Process for the attention of all GTC registered staff. Claudia has been involved in the development of CPD Manager to support the Employee Review and Development Process. She has been supporting a pilot group of users who have been testing the new system before it becomes available to all Education Services staff after Easter. This group of users included school based staff and a number of centre based staff.

The following article was recently published on the GTC Scotland website and gives an overview of everything you need to know about the Professional Update process with links for further information.

Professional Update will be introduced for all teachers in August 2014. It aims to support, maintain and enhance teachers’ continued professionalism

The key purposes of a system of Professional Update are:

•To maintain and improve the quality of our teachers as outlined in the relevant Professional Standards and to enhance the impact that they have on pupils’ learning.
•To support, maintain and enhance teachers’ continued professionalism and the reputation of the teaching profession in Scotland.

What do I need to know?

Professional Update is a continual process, which includes the following elements:

•An annual update of contact details to GTC Scotland
•Engagement in professional learning
•Self-evaluation against the appropriate GTC Scotland Professional Standard(s)
•Discussion of this engagement and the impact of this, as part of the PRD process
•Maintain a professional learning record and portfolio of evidence five-yearly confirmation of this engagement to GTC Scotland

We asked a number of leaders what Professional Update means to the profession. Here are some of their thoughts:

Download

Update your details every year

The easiest way to do this is via your MyGTCS account. You can create or access your account at: www.gtcs.org.uk/GTCS-login.aspx

Engage in Professional learning

Professional learning is what teachers do to ensure their professional knowledge and practice is informed, up-to-date and stimulating. It is important that professional learning provides rich opportunities for teachers to develop and enhance their professional knowledge and practice, in order to progress the quality of learning and teaching and school improvement. Find out more about Professional Learning at: www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-learning

We know that some supply teachers can have difficulty accessing aspects of professional learning and the Professional Review and Development (PRD) process. We are monitoring this as part of the pilot programmes, and will publish further guidance for supply teachers prior to the national roll out of Professional Update in August 2014. Equally, some registered teachers who are working outwith the education system may not have access to appropriate professional learning. We are working on guidance for such teachers, to help ensure that they will be able to participate in the Professional Update process. This will be published on: www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update

Self-evaluate using professional standards

The GTC Scotland Professional Standards offer support for teachers as they develop their professional knowledge and skills through on-going self-evaluation and professional learning. The Standards for Registration provide a gate-keeping function for entry into teaching in Scotland and Full Registration continues to be the baseline Professional Standard for competence. For teachers who have achieved the Standards for Registration, we have developed the aspirational Standard for Career-long Professional Learning and the Standards for Leadership and Management to support their ongoing development. As the revised Standards have been designed to meet the needs of teachers at all career stages working in Scotland’s schools, all aspects of the Standards may not be relevant to teachers working outwith the school system – we are developing further guidance notes and support materials to cover these circumstances. Find out more about the GTCS Professional Standards at: www.gtcs.org.uk/standards

Discuss the impact of professional learning in the PRD process

Professional Update is based on effective, consistent PRD and high-quality professional learning focused on outcomes for a teacher’s own development as well as aiming to improve outcomes for children and young people. We know that, where PRD operates successfully, it provides a valuable opportunity for teachers to reflect on their practice and to consider how they can improve their professional skills and knowledge. GTC Scotland has a validating role in this process, helping to ensure that local authority PRD systems are robust and that teachers are enabled to demonstrate the skills they already have as well as to learn new ones. Guidelines are available on the Education Scotland website: www.educationscotland.gov.uk

Maintain a record

Maintaining a record of Professional Learning, along with a portfolio of evidence, is an integral part of the Professional Update process. We are currently exploring a range of possibilities for recording professional learning, including an online profile linked to MyGTCS. We are working to ensure this process is neither bureaucratic nor time consuming.

The system of recording that you will use for the purposes of Professional Update will vary depending on where you are currently employed. Teachers employed in local authorities will receive further information from their employers about the systems in place in their authority. We are also looking at how these may be used by supply teachers working across a number of local authorities and by teachers currently employed in roles outwith the education system.

Five-yearly confirmation of this engagement

Engagement in Professional Update is an ongoing process, with professional learning and PRD at its heart. Every five years, teachers will be required to confirm their engagement in this process with GTC Scotland. Like the professional learning record, this will be completed in a number of ways depending on the system applicable to you – MyGTCS or another online system (e.g. Gateway, SOPRA). We recognise that there will be circumstances which may make completion of the process within the designated timescale difficult, such as career breaks or extended leave, and we are developing clear guidelines for deferral processes.

In April of this year you will receive a letter and information leaflet from GTC Scotland outlining what is required of you in order to successfully complete your Professional Update. This will also provide details on how to contact GTC Scotland if you have further queries.

For more information please visit www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update/

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.

Primary Probationer Teachers Get to Know the Teaching for Deep Learning Programme

Yvonne McBlain and Sharon Wallace of Falkirk Curriculum Support Team recently introduced the primary probationer teachers to the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Programme. During this introduction, participants experienced programme session 1 “What is Understanding”. This session explores the concept of understanding and has been used by a number of teacher learning communities in Falkirk schools. Here are some of the definitions of understanding created by the probationer teachers:

Understanding is applying and transfering knowledge flexibly as well as being able to teach others.

Understanding is achieved through repetition (perhaps in different contexts).

Understanding is transferring  the skill and  knowledge to another context. Embedding the skill through revisiting.

– apply and transfer knowledge to other areas of the curriculum

– be able to explain to others

Click here to access Session 1 through Glow, and here to see the power point presentation from Sharon and Yvonne’s session with probationer teachers.

Visitors from Sweden to see our Storyline practice

Yesterday, Yvonne McBlain, Curriculum Support Teacher with Falkirk Council Education Services was pleased to accompany two Swedish student teachers from the University of Gothenburg on their visit to find out about Falkirk storyline practice. Catrin and Sofia are working on their final dissertations and are exploring how teachers in two different education systems employ the storyline approach to progress learning in their classrooms. At St Francis Xavier’s RC PS, they interviewed Vikki Williamson, Joanna Rowe and Margaret Priest about their piloting of Learning Unlimited “Joyning the Learning” materials. Vikki, Joanna and Margaret worked on Fairyland, The Circus and The Unsinkable Ship last session with their primary 1-3 classes, and were enthused by the levels of pupil engagement and parental involvment generated. These resources make extensive use of the Storyline approach to enrich interdisciplinary learning for pupils. The teachers have exchanged email addresses with Catrin and Sofia and supplied them with lots of really valuable reseach information. Yvonne then took our guests to Stenhousemuir PS where Laura Swan welcomed them and shared a loose timetable for their whole day visit on Thursday 21st November. Catrin and Sofia will be able to interview Laura and her primary 1 pupils, about the recent Space storyline they worked on. They will also be able to spend some time with teachers in their classrooms, and speak to the regular Thursday parent’s group. Yvonne enjoyed finding out how Swedish teachers use storyline and discovered that the Swedish curriculum has significant similarities to our Curriculum for Excellence – including a definite place for interdisciplinary learning.