Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools: ‘A National Strategy for School Libraries in Scotland, 2018-2023’, was published in September. The strategy highlights ways that staff in libraries and schools may collaborate on continuous improvement and professional development. This strategy will be of interest to those in English and Gaelic Medium Education.
The preliminary rounds of the National Gaelic Schools Debate will take place on 6 and 7 November 2018. This year marks the twentieth national debate. By participating in this competition, young people in Gaelic Medium Education are afforded an opportunity to develop their debating skills through the medium of Gaelic.
Education Scotland is pleased to be a sponsor for this competition along with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, The Highland Council, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Qualifications Authority.
The final round of the competition will be on 28 November at The Scottish Parliament.
An Comann Gaidhealach’s newsletter has a summary of the dates for local Mods across Scotland. Education Scotland’s Advice on Gaelic Education refers to such opportunities for personal achievements as an important context for applying language, building confidence and developing a range of skills for learning life and work.
This exemplar outlines a 8 week programme that helps learners in S2 to gain valuable experiences, skills and qualifications in relation to the world of work. Delivered in partnership with a number or organisations this PSHE course component provides learner with the opportunities to develop a wide variety of employability and career management skills as well as key attributes and dispositions to better prepare them for the world of work.
This is one component of a wider whole school strategy on career education that aims to inspire and prepare learners for future pathways and the world of work.
The following will outline the programme in more detail:
Ziggy’s BIG competition is about helping children learn about road safety in a fun, creative way. This is part of a Scotland-wide movement to help young children be safe on roads and about traffic. The competition is open until the end of April 2018.
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.
A blog by Jamie Farquhar Deputy Head Teacher of Dumfries Academy
I am a QAMSO.
Increasingly – in the second year of there being QAMSOs – colleagues know what that is. Good; it saves me unpacking the acronym to its full glory of Quality Assurance and Moderation Support Officer and it suggests we* are having an impact.
My role is to support colleagues in their understanding and application of Moderation in its widest sense through the lens of a particular Numeracy or Literacy level. In my case, this is Third Level Writing.
I am not an English Teacher. However, I am a passionate advocate for the Teaching Profession and of the Responsibilities of All as key priorities for our learners. I believe the Broad General Education (BGE) provides the platform for teachers to co-create a curriculum that meets the needs of individual learners, in individual schools.
To achieve this we need the confidence to spurn the false panacea of centrally distributed WAGOLLs (What a Good One Looks Like) and resist ‘mimetic isomorphism’. In other words; it’s not about teachers doing the same thing, in the same way, either through decree or by the copycatting of perceived eminence. Rather, we should aim for the contextualised consistency of quality; as a QAMSO I advocate achieving this through planning, professional dialogue, reflection, sharing, experimentation and evaluation i.e. through Moderation.
Moderation is about skilled professionals working together to plan, evaluate, feedback and feed forward learning to all learning partners. Moderation is groups of teachers subjecting the entire learning process to rigorous professional scrutiny and so trusting and being trusted in their judgements. Through collaboration we empower a move beyond consistency of practice to an increased confidence in individual judgements, planning and interventions.
The Moderation Cycle provides a framework through which to embark on this process. In my own school, we accessed the cycle through the Evaluation stage by leading engagement with the Literacy Benchmarks and developing professional confidence in making judgements of CfE-levels. This starting point was chosen due to a familiarity, within a secondary context, of judging work against set standards in the Senior Phase. The challenge is to move thinking and practice from summative evaluation of output to include moderated planning of input; to ensure we are teaching and supporting what we later assess.
We have begun. Our Literacy Strategy produced Evidence which, as well as debate over CfE-levels, led to dialogue about the evidence’s relevance and validity. This demanded we reflect on our Assessment tools; which asked questions about the effectiveness of our Learning and Teaching and learners’ understanding of what they were learning and how well they had learned it (Learning Intentions and Success Criteria).
Colleagues then began to revisit their planning (Es and Os) to reflect learning and the Learner more holistically. This provided a range of on-going and holistic Evidence which demonstrated strengths, successes and nextsteps which informed Feedback, Reporting and planning of the next learning experience and so on. The principles of the Moderation Cycle as applied to Literacy have started to impact on practice in other curriculum areas and beyond the BGE.
The Moderation Hub provides an incredible resource to support this work. I will use it extensively in my QAMSO role to support Professional Learning in schools. The Hub provides off-the-shelf material for Professional Learning Workshops and e-learning. I recommend it to all Literacy / Numeracy Leads and Professional Learning Coordinators. I also commend the Moderation Cycle and Hub to all school leaders as a means to lead and evidence genuine Quality Assurance of Learning and Teaching.
The workshops take a little time as they work through each stage of the cycle, asking colleagues to reflect on examples and craft improvements collaboratively. A commitment to mutual engagement and knowledge creation through the Moderation Cycle should lead to a sustained shift of culture and improvement in outcomes for learners that simply being ‘given the answers’ cannot hope to achieve.
The Moderation Cycle provides the framework to be autonomous, contextually-aware, professional leaders of learning.
This QAMSO’s advice: Follow the Cycle – Co-Create – Trust your Judgements.
*There are lots of us: Each Local Authority has a QAMSO for each CfE Level from Early to Fourth in Numeracy, Writing and Reading.
Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) has published a case study which focuses on increasing the uptake for languages as young people move from the broad general education into the senior phase. It demonstrates how self-evaluation has been used to secure improvements.