Learning for Sustainability in Falkirk

helping to build a socially-just, sustainable and equitable society

June 15, 2018
by Y. McBlain
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Bantaskin Primary School Eats Sustainably

In August 2017 Alistair Findlay, acting principal teacher at Bantaskin PS began to work with primary 5, 6 and & 7 pupils on a “Good Food” project. This project developed from recommendations in the Better Eating, Better Learning document and was instigated by findings from the Healthy Living surveys which take place each year. Evidence from the 2017 survey showed that only 30% of primary 5-7 children were eating fruit daily, and only one fifth of pupils ate vegetables daily.

Alistair therefore saw potential to improve healthy eating habits across the school and the decision was taken to appoint a food technologist to support this aim. Alistair worked with a RACI group of colleagues to plan and teach a series of lessons which included:

  1. Learning about why it is important to have a balanced diet
  2. Learning about the Eat Well plate and recommendations
  3. Developing a range of skills for life including cooking & food preparation, horticulture and growing healthy ingredients for our cooking from seeds, etc.

A kitchen classroom was created within school to facilitate all of this learning and ensure that the new Food and Health experiences and outcomes and benchmarks could be addressed fully. This project extended to enabling parents to become involved in developing their cooking skills and cooking healthy, affordable meals within the school, gradually gaining a REHIS Elementary Cooking Skills Certificate. Susan Kennedy, NHS, supported Alistair and the group in designing this elementary course for parents. Jennifer Robertson from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) also supported the school by cooking with parents one afternoon – a tasty beef stir fry resulting from this collaboration. Both parents and their children took a trip to Bonnyhill Farm to see where their food came from and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of food miles. This visit was supported by collaboration with RHET (Royal Highland Education Trust).

The project involved other partnership working, including Jamie Stevenson from Torwood Garden Centre who donated plants for the evolving “Growzone” – the name pupils gave to their school garden. The school also registered with the Royal Horticultural Society and within a single academic year, has achieved levels 1, 2 and 3 of the Gardening in Schools RHS Award.

A team of gardening parents and grandparents now maintain the school orchard as well as helping pupils with heavy labour required in their Growzone.  The success of the Growzone also benefits from weekly input from gardening volunteer Lorraine Milligan.  These collaborations have all extended pupil opportunities to develop skills beyond school and to gain a broader understanding of skills for work. In addition they have developed the ethos and life of their school as part of its community.

These collaborations have all extended pupil opportunities to develop skills beyond school and to gain a broader understanding of skills for work. In addition they have developed the ethos and life of their school as part of its community.

Yvonne McBlain popped in to get a flavour (no pun intended) of the impact all of this excellent work was having. She very much enjoyed seeing the school displays and awards gained, and meeting Gail Henderson, the school’s food technologist and the pupils she was working with. Primary 4 pupils had chopped & cut to make a cucumber and mint dip with the herbs from their garden. Throughout the school pupils look at and talk about their plants and garden during lunch times and breaks, they look after the garden well, pointing out when plants need water. They are also excited about harvesting their current crop and turning these into delicious meals and snacks.

Alistair and colleagues will harvest crops which mature over the summer and preserve these in the school freezer so that pupils can use these later in the session. Plans for next year include the building of a polytunnel so that children can sow and grow their  crops earlier and perhaps expand the range of things they can cultivate.

January 30, 2017
by Y. McBlain
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National Learning for Sustainability Practitioner Network Meeting

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On Wednesday 18th January 2016, Yvonne McBlain attended the Learning for Sustainability practitioner network meeting organised by Ian Menzies, Senior Development Officer, Education Scotland. The event lasted all day and was organised around short “spotlight” presentations by practitioners, followed by longer opportunities to talk with other delegates from around the country. The people delivering the spotlights represented each educational sector and were:

Anne O’Grady & colleagues from Chesters Nursery in Glasgow

Debra May from East Craigs Primary in Edinburgh

Sandra Buchan from Kemnay Academy in Aberdeenshire

Rebecca Chad from Pilrig Park School in Edinburgh

Each person described how they were taking the various elements of Learning for Sustainability forward in their establishment. Anne’s nursery were combining their LfS (especially their outdoor learning) with Health and well-Being (development of pupils’ mental, social, physical & emotional health). They had a range of projects designed to build up the Ethos and Life of their nursery, and increase family and community involvement.

Debra described her role as the leader of a RACI working group in her school, who were tasked with developing LfS across the school. She shared their progress so far. Sandra’s development of LfS as part of her secondary school development plan (she is faculty head of science) also overlapped with her subject-specific responsibilities. She is gradually building up colleague understanding of what LfS actually is, then supporting them in small projects which progress and enhance their pupil experiences. Sandra and Debra both described how some of their colleagues were planning interdisciplinary LfS teaching which linked to the Sustainable Development goals.

Rebecca had recently returned to her role as head teacher of Pilrig following a “Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce” secondment with Education Scotland. She shared some of the practice she had observed in that role, to illustrate how practitioners could also target skills for work when developing their LfS. She is working with colleagues to make LfS meaningful and enjoyable for her pupils with severe and complex educational needs. All of these practitioners would be happy to welcome visitors wanting to see their LfS in action.

During the discussion times, Yvonne was tasked with finding out how other authorities are supporting practitioners in their development of LfS. She met the Leaders of LfS Learning from Stirling council, who are now developing an LfS practitoner network across their schools. Colleagues from Highland Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council are working towards supporting and encouraging practitioners in similar ways. Everyone agreed that there is still a need to develop awareness of the many elements of Learning for Sustainability, and to reassure practitioners that they are already covering elements of it. Jane Jackson and Yvonne have been working with our own Falkirk LfS practitioner network for a few years now – initially focusing on Outdoor Learning. The next national practitioner network meeting takes place in Stirling Court Hotel in March.

Click here to join the national Learning for Sustainability network group in Glow – this will enable you to access resources, and connect with other practitioners working on LfS. Click here to see the presentation used during this meeting.

March 18, 2016
by Y. McBlain
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Water Celebration at Kinneil Primary School

WP_20160316_001[1]On Wednesday 16th March, Primary 4 pupils at Kinneil PS celebrated the value of water. As part of their global storyline learning, they created their own community called Forth Mountain. Each pupil is a character with a job in this new community – Jessica F is a baker and she is 18 years old. Jessica K is the café owner and works as a waitress in the café too! Jessica Kr owns and works in the hairdresser. There are lots of Jessicas in P4 at Kinneil PS!

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The characters in Forth Mountain get all of their water from a lovely clear lake further up the mountain and have learned to appreciate having this perfect water supply. All of the characters in the village do jobs which help look after the water, and primary 4 planned how to celebrate their wonderful water supply by holding a water carnival.

WP_20160316_006[1]They made a plan for the Carnival with their teacher Mrs Morrison:

  1. Parade around in a big circle swaying to Shakira music and holding up our water float pictures and slogans
  2. Take turns to mime our water jobs in Little Mountain
  3. Work with our community group to show our still image of the water
  4. Sing our water song – complete with the new verses we’ve made up

Yvonne McBlain joined in with the celebration as a reporter “covering” the event for a television network. She interviewed the community groups, who explained why the water was so important to Forth Mountain people. *  WP_20160316_009[1]

Primary 4 have done lots of learning about water as well as creating their community – one of their most interesting tasks, was to find out just how much water they used everyday in their homes. They were amazed by just how much they and their families use. Below you can see some of their work.

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February 3, 2016
by J. Jackson
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Learning for Sustainability in Carron Primary School

We all know how effective learnng can be when it is related to real life, especially when young people can direct further learning and see where/how they can contribute and make an impact.  The subject of  energy usage and climate change was brought to life when  Jenny Deacon, class teacher at Carron Primary School,  worked closely with Brenda Roddy (Climate Change and Sustainability Officer) to explore these issues.

Brenda is able to provide statistics for every Falkirk Council establishment which show how much energy is being used on a daily and annual basis.  These statistics can be used in a range of ways with many opportunities for pupils to influence what they do with that information, where they take their learning and how they link this with global issues like climate change.

carron elec day use

Jenny and Brenda planned two lessons, the first one focused on energy and usage in Carron Primary School but the second lesson involved using heat sensitive cameras.

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The pupils appear to have had an interesting time taking images throughout the school as well as of themselves!

thermal imaging 2We look forward to finding out what Jenny Deacon and her class did with the information they gained from the sessions.

Brenda Roddy is keen to help other schools with issues related to Climate Change and Sustainability and further CPD sessions will be programmed to explore how she can work in partnership with schools.  In the meantime Brenda can be contacted via email brenda.roddy@falkirk.gov.uk.

December 9, 2015
by Y. McBlain
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Community Resilience as part of Learning for Sustainability

@EdScotCommRes and #Resilience-Ed are useful Twitter sources of current ideas and thinking for building emergency planning/community resilience into Curriculum for Excellence. Eilidh Soussi, Community Resilience Development officer, Education Scotland, hosted an event on 4th December where a range of delegates explored how to build effective progression of pupils’ resilience into our education system nationally and locally.

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There was a particular emphasis on using the local context to enable young people to develop resilience, confidence and to feel connected and useful in their own community – and even in their own home. Yvonne McBlain represented Falkirk Council Children’s Services and will continue to support good practice, with Jane Jackson, Outdoor Learning Development Officer, and Fiona McLuckie, Emergency Planning Officer, Development Services. Interested practitioners can help with this by signing up for LfS 29 Emergency Planning – How does it fit with CfE? on 18th February 2016.

Click here to see Eilidh’s resource guide with useful links. Click here to view teaching resources in the Ready for Emergencies website – you may be interested in using the preparing for winter resources to help you build a strong and relevant interdisciplinary unit for your establishment. These resources help practitioners to develop the everyday resilience of young people, but also to progress their capacity to cope with unusual and unexpected emergencies they may encounter throughout their lives. Click here http://glo.li/1NbcKMs to see a video example showing how a geography lesson enabled a young girl to save the lives of her own family and other people on the beach during a tsunami!

 

November 24, 2015
by J. Jackson
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Useful HGIOS 4 summary relating to LfS/Outdoor Learning

HGIOS 4 front coverWillie White – a colleague from East Ayrshire has collated     the statements from HGIOS 4 which are linked to LfS and Outdoor Learning. You can access the document here.

Establishments will increasingly be expected to be able to demonstrate progress being made towards a whole school approach to LfS with  outdoor learning and global citizenship being key features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 18, 2015
by Y. McBlain
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Professional Learning available by Scotdec

 

ScotdecFalkirk practitioners can take advantage of the wide range of continuing professional learning opportunities provided by the Scottish Development in Education Centre for Learning for Sustainability. Falkirk CPD Manager makes it easy to sign up for these free training sessions and previous evaluations by teachers have been very positive. Use the links below for more information. Sign up in the usual way using the course codes to help you.

Global learning, sustainable learning: how is it going with you? 26th November 2016, a location of your choice! LfS14

Done Fairtrade? Tried out an issues tree? Like pupil participation? Keen to make local to global connections?

This GLOW meet is all about sharing good practice in Global Citizenship, thinking about how it supports Learning for Sustainability and finding out what further resources and support are available to you and your schools. Click here for the flyer

Fairtrade Christmas – 3rd December, Camelon Education Centre, LfS 10

A professional learning workshop to reflect on Fairtrade within the context of Christmas, our consumer habits and Human Rights Click here for the flyer

Sustainable living: food, phones and fashion – 14th January 2016, Camelon Education Centre, LfS 13

What do you know about how your mobile phone, your food and your clothes were produced? Who made them? What kind of life do they have? What impact did its production have on the environment? 

Click here for the flyer

Global Citizenship: planning for active and participatory learning 10th & 17th March 2016,  Camelon Education Centre, LfS 09

This course offers a practical approach to planning for a Global Citizenship approach to learning in the classroom us an active learning approach. This is a 2 part CPD followed by a Showcase and reflection on 28 April 2016 where participants will have an opportunity to share good practice with other practitioners.

On 28th April 2016, there will also be a special Learning for Sustainability event where we will celebrate the classroom practice which has taken place following this professional learning – sign up using LfS 15. Signposts for Global Citizenship, has an extensive range resources and ideas for many aspects of Learning for Sustainability.

November 9, 2015
by J. Jackson
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Global Citizenship resources from Inspire Aspire

Inspire Aspire have new and refreshed  project templates for their Global Citizens in the Making programme ready to send to all primary and secondary schools. They are also operating the WW1: Inspiring Purpose project which was piloted in schools last year. Both resources are free and can be covered with a class or entire year group.

The Inspire Aspire programme is a perfect starting point for helping young people have the educational experience that will best prepare them for their future life and employment prospects. The aim of the programme is to give young people the opportunity to think about some of the things that make them who they are: their values, character strengths and who or what inspires them. Reflection in this manner helps an individual to set goals for their future and also helps to discover how an individual’s strengths can be used to take action on the things that matter most to them.

Visit the Inspire Aspire website to take part in either the Global Citizens in the Making or WW1: Inspiring Purpose projects. They have teacher resources available to help introduce and deliver the project in the classroom.

October 23, 2015
by Y. McBlain
1 Comment

What is Learning for Sustainability?

Wordle Education Scotland defines Learning for sustainability (LfS)  as: “an approach to learning, life and work. It enables learners, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially-just, sustainable and equitable society. An effective whole school and community approach to LfS weaves together global citizenship, sustainable development education, outdoor learning and children’s rights to create coherent, rewarding and transformative learning experiences.”

All of the recommendations of the December 2012 Learning for Sustainability Report (click to view) were accepted by the Scottish Government in March 2013. (click to link to doc) The Government response says:

The approach recommended supports a whole-school approach, encompassing the curriculum, campus, culture and community of the school and is intended to complement and strengthen wider changes in education.

Language around learning for sustainability is consistent with the new GTCS professional standards and highlights the value of a holistic approach to sustainable development, global citizenship and outdoor learning. The Group has defined Learning for Sustainability as:

A whole school approach that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable society.

The report contains 31 recommendations, including the 5 overarching recommendations below:

  1. All learners should have an entitlement to learning for sustainability
  2. In line with the new GTCS Professional Standards, every practitioner, school and education leader should demonstrate learning for sustainability in their practice
  3. Every school should have a whole school approach to learning for sustainability that is robust, demonstrable, evaluated and supported by leadership at all levels
  4. School buildings, grounds and policies should support learning for sustainability
  5. A strategic national approach tosupporting learning for sustainability should be established

The wordle image above communicates all of the elements of learning and teaching which could be involved in Learning for Sustainability.

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