All posts by E. Docherty

Scots language creative writing competition – winners announced

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Education Scotland organised a Scots language creative writing competition inviting pupils to write a poem or short story in Scots.

We received a great selection of entries from across Scotland and we’re delighted to announce the winners:

  • Tris Davidson – Comely Park Primary School, Falkirk
  • Eliot Wearden – Biggar High School, South Lanarkshire
  • Mackenzie Reilly – Airdrie Academy, North Lanarkshire
  • Sarah Green – Keith Grammar School, Moray

The winning entries were all chosen for their excellent use of Scots vocabulary as well as demonstrating the skills and commitment required to write in Scots. They also showed creativity through the range of subject matters, from space fiction to the Loch Ness Monster and the adventures of Pickles the cat.

Having received such a high standard of entries, four runners-up have also been selected for their creativity and dedication to writing in Scots. The runners-up are:

  • Euan Hendry – Comely Park Primary School, Falkirk
  • Eilidh McAllan – Biggar High School, South Lanarkshire
  • Eilidh Currie, Eilidh McDermid and Rachel Thom – Airdrie Academy, North Lanarkshire
  • Lewis Rodgers and Kirsty Duncan – Keith Grammar School, Moray

The winner and runners-up will receive a great selection of Scots language books for their schools.

A special commendation for creativity and imagination has also been awarded to Eva Kerr from Airdrie Academy. Eva not only wrote a poem about the Kelpies but she also created a great animation

Thank you to everyone who took part in the competition. For more information about Scots language visit the Scots Blether on Glow.

John Byrne National Drawing Competition – 2017 runner-up blog

Eleana Meikle, S3 pupil at Wellington School in Ayr scooped 2nd place at this year’s John Byrne National Drawing competition.  Find out why Eleana entered the competition.

I found out about the competition from my art teacher. The department entered lots of work to the competition. To decide on what I was going to draw I decided that I really like textures and thought that a contrast of rough textures with smooth shiny shoes would be very powerful.

I decided to work in mixed media and used biro pen, white pencil and newspaper collage on brown paper to let me layer and create multiple textures. This mixture also gave the drawing boldness but I could also manage to draw the detail with the pen and pencil.

When I was told about my win I felt ecstatic about gaining 2nd place. This made me really happy and proud of my work.

It was a very positive experience coming to the gallery and seeing my work in a frame with other pupils work. I have never done this before and it really was confidence boosting.

If I had to say to other pupils why they should enter the competition I would tell them to go for it, it’s excellent. The feeling was great and the prize was so generous.

The 2018 John Byrne National Drawing Competition is open for entries, find out more on the Education Scotland website.

John Byrne National Drawing Competition – 2017 winners blog

Cameron Lawson, S3 pupil at Cedarbank School in West Lothian won this year’s John Byrne National Drawing competition.  Find out what inspired Cameron to enter and how he felt being announced as winner.


How did you hear about the competition and why did you take part?

I heard about it in the Art class from the teacher Miss Galloway, and I took part because she asked us to.

What inspired you to create your piece?

Usually movies and games that have monsters and weird creatures.

How did you feel when you were told you had won?

I felt surprised because there were a lot of schools that would have entered the competition.

Tell us about the experience of going to the awards ceremony and seeing your artwork on exhibition.

Happy because seeing something that to me was just a simple drawing, winning something that was just so big was amazing.

What advice do you have for pupils entering the competition next year?

Try your hardest and use your imagination.

The 2018 John Byrne National Drawing Competition is open for entries, find out more on the Education Scotland website.

Pupils across Scotland invited to take part in the John Byrne National Drawing Competition

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

Since the launch of the competition in 2014, thousands of 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 30 runners up, whose work will then be exhibited at Paisley Museum and Art Gallery on Friday 16 March.

John said: “I’m really excited to launch the fourth year of the annual John Byrne National Drawing Competition and see the creative flair and talent that we have within our schools.

“It’s really important that we give young people opportunities like this to use their imagination and express their creativity and love for drawing. This competition is a great way to showcase their talent and, once again, I look forward to seeing the remarkable variety of entries.”

Last year’s competition winner, Cameron Lawson (S3) from Cedarbank School, West Lothian was selected from over 4,000 children and young people from across Scotland. Cameron said: “My art teacher encouraged me to enter the competition I was really surprised when I found out that I’d won but it was great to see my artwork on display.  I would encourage pupils to take part as it’s a great experience.  My advice would be to try your best and use your imagination.”

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

To help pupils with their entries, we’ll be sharing a top tip from John each week on the Education Scotland Facebook and Twitter pages.

The closing date for entries is Friday 23 February 2018.

John Byrne National Drawing Competition 2017 – Competition Rules FINALfor competition rules and information about submitting entries.

Children’s Rights and Learner Participation

Apologies, the Realising and Recognising Children’s Rights and Participation resource is no longer going ahead on the 20th of October but has been changed to the 23rd of November in Glasgow. Please sign up using the link below if you are interested in this training. Many thanks.

There will be a day to refresh our ‘Realising and Recognising Children’s Rights’ professional learning resource which will also introduce some of the key messages in our new ‘Learner Participation in Educational Settings’ resource. We are currently recruiting schools to take part in a pilot to explore this resource. We will also be running a workshop on the resource at the Scottish Learning Festival on the 21 September 2017.

Date Event Venue Who is it for
21.9.17 Seminar at Scottish learning Festival



Scottish Exhibition Centre Education Practitioners
20.10.17 Realising and recognising children’s rights and Learner Participation Atlantic Quay, Glasgow Those with an authority wide remit in rights and participation or senior managers or those with a remit within schools.

To book a place on the October training email the Inclusion Team and put ‘Children’s Rights’ in the e-mail subject heading.  Click here to book a place at the Scottish learning festival.

Professional Learning Opportunities with the Inclusion and Equalities team at Education Scotland


A 4 day professional learning course in secondary nurturing approaches, as well as a number of half day sessions, will be delivered before Christmas to introduce our new ‘Applying Nurture as a whole school approach: A framework to support self-evaluation’ resource.  See details below.

Date Event Venue Who is it for
28.9.17 9.30 am to 12.30 pm Recall Day for Secondary Nurturing approaches Atlantic Quay, Glasgow All those who attended secondary nurturing training in May/June 2017
5.10.17, 6.10.17, 6.11.17, 7.11.17 (4 days) Secondary nurturing approaches professional learning over 4 days Victoria Quay, Edinburgh All those who have an authority wide remit for taking forward nurturing approaches, Educational Psychologists and Senior Managers or those with a nurture remit in schools.
11.10.17 9.30 am to 12.30 pm Applying nurture as a whole school approach: A framework for self-evaluation professional learning Atlantic Quay, Glasgow As above. This professional learning will be most beneficial to those who have already undertaken some work on implementing nurturing approaches
27.10.17 9.30 am to 12.30 pm Applying nurture as a whole school approach: A framework for self-evaluation professional learning Victoria Quay, Edinburgh As above

For further details or to book a place on any of these courses please email the Education Scotland Inclusion Team and put ‘Inclusion’ in your e-mail subject heading. Don’t forget to specify the course you would like to attend.

Children’s Rights and Learner Participation

There will be a day to refresh our ‘Realising and Recognising Children’s Rights’ professional learning resource which will also introduce some of the key messages in our new ‘Learner Participation in Educational Settings’ resource.

Date Event Venue Who is it for
20.10.17 Realising and recognising children’s rights and Learner Participation Atlantic Quay, Glasgow Those with an authority wide remit in rights and participation or senior managers or those with a remit within schools.

To book a place on the October training email the Education Scotland Inclusion Team and put ‘Children’s Rights’ in the e-mail subject heading.

Inspection – working together to support improvement

1Blog from Alastair Delaney, Director of Inspections.

It has now been a few months since we told you all about our plans to continue to develop new inspection approaches. We introduced the ‘full establishment model’ of inspection in schools in September 2016 and I’m pleased with how well this is progressing.

We’ve had positive feedback, with schools being inspected saying that they enjoyed using How Good is Our School? (4th edition) and valued discussion with inspectors around these new Quality Indicators, as well as highlighting the professional dialogue with inspectors as helping the school focus thinking and giving them a sharper focus on how to move forward.

Some of the positive feedback relates to a new aspect of the approach that we introduced which is asking the school to identify a Quality Indicator (QI) for additional focus. It clearly demonstrates our commitment to working in partnership with school staff during the process.

We’re well aware that inspection can be viewed as quite a stressful experience as school staff worry about making sure that inspectors get to see all the work they have been doing. Some feel that their work is going to be judged and they “don’t want to be the one to let the school down”. We want to get away from that perception. Inspections are about working together to support improvement through professional dialogue between staff and inspectors. The experience should be helpful, understanding and professional leaving you in a better place to take the school or other establishment forward. That is what we are striving to achieve.

Shorter visit inspection model
I am pleased that the full establishment model has being well received and now look forward to the introduction of the new shorter visit inspection model which started at the end of January 2017. This approach will be piloted in a small number of primary school inspections through to Easter 2017. We will pilot the short visit model in secondary schools after the summer break, modify as necessary and fully implement it across the academic session.

However, the general approach is that this inspection model will be undertaken over fewer days than the current full establishment model and the numbers of inspectors in these teams will be smaller. This will allow inspectors to visit more schools across a year. There will be fewer but more focused areas being looked at during these inspections.

Amongst the feedback we received during the ‘try-outs’ of the short visit model over the 2015/16 academic session was that the increased focus meant that schools felt they were clear about what inspectors needed to see and hear, and they felt there was less documentation and evidence to make available for the team’s arrival.

Greater use of digital technology
We are also continuing to prepare for the introduction of short-notice inspections some time in the future – not to be confused with the short visit model. The idea being that schools will have a reduced notification period before inspectors arrive.

Feedback received during the engagement phase of the review of inspection was mixed with approximately half of teachers saying that they welcomed the shorter notification period as it reduced anxiety preparing for the visit. Almost all of the rest felt that the current notice period was about right with feedback generally saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

There’s still work for us to do before we introduce this model as we need to make greater use of digital technology to support this approach. For example, the paper questionnaires which we have been using until recently need to be issued in advance and can take some time to process so we are currently piloting an online version of this survey to gather views of children and young people, parents, teaching and non-teaching staff and other stakeholders.

The pilot began in January 2017 and the learning from this pilot phase will inform how we implement online surveys for all inspections. The External Reference Group for the inspection review will, of course, discuss what we find out before we finalise and I look forward to telling you all about its feedback and the next steps in the development and implementation of new models.

I am looking to engage with many practitioners over the next few months to hear directly your experiences and thoughts on the new approaches to inspection. The first opportunity will be a Glow meet on 23 February for you to join me and other inspectors for an informal discussion and Q&A session. More details on this coming soon.

In addition, over the coming weeks we will be using a lot of the feedback we’ve been receiving to shed light on many of the misconceptions and myths that have built up around inspections. You can follow these on Twitter and Facebook by searching for us @EducationScot and you can follow our hashtag #InspectionMythBusters.

Alastair Delaney – Director of Inspections

Teachers play a pivotal role in Scotland’s future

The Teaching Scotland’s Future (TSF) legacy event in May 2015 considered how much we have achieved since its publication in 2011 and the interdependency of the national priorities for progress:

1. Improving progress for all learners
2. Enhancing teachers’ practice as active learners and leaders at all levels.

Only this week, the First Minister has pledged to make a difference to the life chances of young people in the most deprived areas of Scotland, and whilst schools cannot achieve this alone, they can develop cultures and practice to enhance teachers’ practice and so improve progress for all learners .

Scotland now has in place the policies and guidelines, and is developing the practices, which support teachers and school leaders to engage in a culture of career-long professional learning (CLPL), where impact is sought, evidenced and acted upon to continually improve the outcomes for young people.

A CLPL cycle of evaluation, planning, implementation and review is illustrated below, with the appropriate national policies / guidelines accompanying each stage of the process. This may be useful as a reference for practitioners throughout the PRD process and to support the planning of career-long professional learning opportunities with/for colleagues.

1. Self-evaluate against the appropriate standards
( GTCS’ standards / PRD guidelines )

2. Set professional learning target/s
( PRD & CLPL guidelines / My GTCS)

3. Develop a Personal Learning plan
(PRD & CLPL guidelines / Framework for Educational Leadership(SCEL)/ MyGTCS)

4. Undertake appropriate activity to develop professional learning
( Mentoring Matters/The Model of Professional Learning( CLPL guidelines )/ Framework for Educational leadership(SCEL) / My GTCS)

5. Reflect on impact
(CLPLguidelines /My GTCS/My ProfessionalLearning /PU/My GTCS)

All of these resources can be accessed from the Education Scotland Professional learning area

For further information contact the teacher education team at Education Scotland.

For more information about the Teaching Scotland’s future legacy event visit.

Celebrate the success of childhood practice

356925_SSSC_Master_Logo_TypestyleThe Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) will host a national conference ‘Improving lives with childhood practice’ to celebrate the success of the award in improving the lives of children and families and helping Scotland become the best place to grow up.

Registration is now open for this free one-day conference, being held in partnership with Education Scotland as a Scottish Learning Festival Extra event. It will take place on 27 August 2015 at Heriot-Watt University conference centre in Edinburgh.

Delegates will have the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers and there will also be a series of workshops showcasing examples of childhood practice from across Scotland, poster displays of practice and a session looking to the future of childhood practice with confidence.

Full details of the keynote speakers and workshop choices will follow when confirmed.


The conference will celebrate childhood practice by:

• demonstrating the difference that the childhood practice award is having on practice and on the outcomes for children, young people and families in Scotland through sharing examples
• showing how childhood practice works and is making a positive difference to the lives of children and young people
• highlighting the emerging role of childhood practice staff in undertaking research in early years and childcare work.


The conference is for anyone working in or interested in childhood practice at any level, including managers, practitioners and learning and development staff. It will also be relevant for policy makers, heads of children’s services in local authorities, childminders, out of school clubs, university staff and students.

The conference is free and you can register online now on Eventbrite. The closing date for registration is 30 July 2015.

Book your place today for the Scottish Learning Festival 2015

SLF_logo_URLSLF is the key education event in Scotland welcoming thousands of educational professionals. SLF 2015 takes place on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September in the SECC, Glasgow.

The theme of this year’s event focuses on raising achievement and attainment for all by maximising educational outcomes through:

• Local partnerships and collaboration – to share approaches that lead to better outcomes
• Self-evaluation – to ensure creative and innovative approaches to sustained improvement
• Work-related learning – to improve transitions into sustainable productive employment

SLF 2015 is free for everyone to attend and gives you access to:

• Inspirational keynotes from Angela Constance MSP, Prof Mel Ainscow, Dr Bill Maxwell and Chris van der Kuyl
• Over 100 professional development seminars where you can engage in activities and learn from practitioners and young people
• Lively debate at the professional focussing on How good is our school?, Closing the gap and Developing the Young Workforce
• Scotland’s largest education exhibition with over 100 exhibitors showcasing educational resources
• Opportunities for discussion and professional networking with peers and colleagues from across Scotland

New for 2015

A number of new features have been added to the SLF line-up, to celebrate the Year of Food and Drink the exhibition will feature a Food for Thought Showcase where schools from across Scotland will demonstrate how they have developed and improved learning and teaching around food education. The Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus will also be at SLF to provide cooking demonstrations.

Another exciting new feature in the exhibition will the Developing the Young Workforce showcase where partner organisations, employers, training providers and others will bring Developing the Young Workforce to life.

Book Now

To guarantee your place at SLF 2015 and your choice of seminars book now, as many sessions do fill up before the summer break. Visit the SLF website to browse the full conference programme and book your place today.