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.