All posts by Sinead Wylie

Larbert High School Inspection Experience

As part of Education Scotland’s on-going Inspection Mythbuster’s campaign, which has been developed to help beat the common misconceptions of inspection which have built up over the years, we have invited the Headteacher at Larbert High School, Falkirk, to blog about his inspection experience:

“You know at some point an inspection is inevitable and it was actually a bit of a relief when we received notification of our inspection for January 2017. No more ‘dreaded boxes’, just a simple and efficient email from our Inspection Administrator at Education Scotland and a call from our Head of Service.  This was followed by a lengthy conversation with our Managing Inspector, who in a very reassuring manner, described the process in detail and answered our (many) questions.

There is definitely some lingering scepticism in the system as to whether or not ‘HM Inspectors are working in partnership with the school’ (as is heralded) but our experience – before, during and after – absolutely affirmed that this was their genuine intention from the start. Each and every member of the team operated with that mindset in every interaction we had with them, we just treated them as part of our team and viewed it as a rare opportunity for some robust external validation.  You always think what you are doing is the right thing, and you constantly self-evaluate and compare yourselves to others, but you do not always have the luxury of having the national perspective.  Therefore, the validation for us was important.

It is important to ‘manage’ the preparation, ensuring everyone remains calm, reassured but focussed. The most significant preparation for the Senior Leadership Team following notification was the collaborative approach to completing the Self Evaluation Summary and we were forensic in its completion, matching the evidence we were providing for the team against HGIOS4. We thought we knew our school really well but having completed this exercise, we know it even better now and this is something that we would strongly recommend all schools do in advance as part of their self-evaluation cycle – even if you are some time away from a visit.

Inspectors are busy people and there is a lot to fit in during the course of a week. As the opening discussion was taking place with some members of the team, others were out and about in classes.  We did not have a big, elaborate presentation just a very honest and direct conversation around the paperwork that we had previously submitted.  During the course of the week the conversations and interactions continued and we found the team to be flexible and accommodating – it genuinely seemed like a partnership and we got the impression that they wanted to do the very best for us (as well as us for them). 

The hardest part is the build-up to the actual inspection week which undoubtedly does comes with a little professional anxiety; everyone wants to do their very best. The self-evaluation summary is the building block from which it all starts, and if it is robust and honest, it makes the week far easier allowing time to be spent engaged in conversation – we could not stress that enough, so make a mental note to start on it soon.”

Jon Reid, Headteacher at Larbert High School, Falkirk

For more information about the Inspection Mythbuster’s campaign please visit the Education Scotland website.

 

John Byrne National Drawing Competition 2016/17

Budding young artists in Scotland are being urged to enter the third annual John Byrne Drawing Competition.

Since the launch of the competition in 2014, over 7000 entries from pupils across Scotland have submitted their artwork to be judged by the renowned artist and playwright himself, John Byrne.

The competition, in partnership with Education Scotland, is aimed at pupils from primary four through to third year.

John Byrne, along with a selection panel, will choose the overall winners and runners-up, whose work will then be exhibited at Paisley Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday 16 March.

John said: “It’s important we give the young people in our country the opportunity to harness their artistic skills and love for drawing. This competition is a great way to showcase that and, once again, I look forward to seeing the remarkable talent that will be unveiled.”

john-byrneLast year’s competition winner, Alba Cooke Ribes (P5) from Hermitage Park Primary School in Edinburgh was selected from over 4,000 children and young people from across Scotland.

Ron Cowie, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland, added: “Art is an important part of the curriculum and this competition aims to encourage pupils across Scotland to develop their drawing skills and use their creativity. Education Scotland is proud to be involved in this competition as it is a great way to raise the profile of drawing.”

The closing date for entries is Friday 3 March 2017.

Read more for competition rules and information about submitting entries in the link below.

john-byrne-national-drawing-competition-2016-competition-rules