The Falkirk Children’s Services Literacy Network began four years ago and continues to evolve and respond to current events. Consequently, our first meeting of this new school session took place via Microsoft Teams on 3rd September 2020. The agenda for the meeting and a brief summary of the discussion which took place is provided below:
- Catch up about how literacy is happening during recovery phase – what is working well or proving challenging in schools/settings?
- Share and discuss new literacy support materials, RIC and national literacy news
- Discuss Recovery Phase literacy support required
- Identify 2020-21 literacy priorities for our network
- Agree meeting frequency, purpose and dates
Item 1 – Pupils and staff have had a very positive return to school and to learning with a focus on Health and Wellbeing and relationship building. In all sectors practitioners are establishing where their pupils’ learning is and identifying resources and strategies to support ongoing progression. These include Read, Write Inc, Accelerated Reader and ongoing development of a reading culture and reading for enjoyment. Borrowbox is being extensively and effectively used and our Learning Resource Service and school librarians and secondary colleagues have implemented creative solutions to the practical challenges of accessing texts which Covid presents.
In response to these challenges, changes to curriculum, learning spaces and processes/methodology are evolving in line with the specific needs of each establishment. These include enabling pupils to connect learning and apply their skills across learning in Carrongrange High School, virtual storytelling opportunities in Grangemouth and Braes HS, and establishing a shared pupil and staff understanding of online communication via the creation of “Codes of Conduct” for working online at Braes HS.
During discussion, opportunities for literacy/STEM learning through books were shared, as was the wonderful “Lost Words” book and outdoor learning resources created by the John Muir Trust – click here to access.
Item 2 -.The literacy resources created by our Falkirk Literacy Team to support reading comprehension (click here) and for listening and talking (click here) were signposted and discussed (sign up for Professional Learning session LIT 220-21 [6.10.20 4-5 pm] in CPD Manager to discuss these booklets). These include the Recovery Reading list compiled by Yvonne Manning and Maggie Burns. Yvonne Manning highlighted the national Reading Accreditation pilot project – a small number of Falkirk establishments are signed up to participate already and other schools can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. Carol Turnbull explained that the current Forth Valley Regional Collaborative Literacy Plan will carry forward subject to national developments currently under discussion. We are looking forward to working with Dr Janet Adam who is our FVRIC literacy lead, and with Helen Fairlie, senior development officer for literacy, Education Scotland. Janet and Helen can be contacted by schools or clusters regarding specific professional learning/support – email Janet CLjadam@glow.sch.uk (please copy to email@example.com to keep us informed). Yvonne McBlain explained how the literacy team have collated all national and regional support materials within this blog (click to view) for convenience and to avoid colleagues feeling swamped by the range of online tools available – national support wakelet here, practitioner newsletter with literacy support linked to the Thriving plan here, and RIC blog with updates here.
Louise Amos and Jude Davies have been working with support for learning teachers in the primary and secondary sectors and will host our first SfLT Falkirk Literacy Catch up on 23rd September with Yvonne McBlain via Teams. By co-ordinating more closely with SfL teachers, we hope to extend our understanding of the literacy learning which is working well and how we can meet ongoing challenges to progression in literacy for all children and young people.
We are also analysing the autumm 2019 primary 4 and 7 SNSA data provided by Kimberly Robinson, Data Coach, Falkirk Children’s Services. We will collate our findings in a digital format which can be accessed and used by our establishments. The findings will also inform the literacy priorities identified during this valuable first meeting as well as shaping our professional learning menu.
Items 3 and 4 When we discussed the literacy support required at this time, it became clear that there is a need to allow time for everyone to settle back in to school life and learning, and that the confidence of children and young people needs to build. One or two schools are finding that some children need a gradual acceleration of the pace of learning whereas others require more challenge.
5.The network agreed to meet via Teams once per term over this session – next meeting will therefore be mid-November and anyone wishing to join the Literacy Network should contact firstname.lastname@example.org