Category Archives: Responsibility of All

Indian and Pakistani delegation experience Scottish education

During January the Education World Forum took place in London, and this year included a strong contribution from Scottish education.

Our own Alan Armstrong was there as part of the Scottish delegation at the forum and Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, provided an important key note speech highlighting  recent developments in Scottish education and new policies for developing skills for life.Alan Armstrong

To follow on from this event, we  joined with the British Council and issued an invitation to delegates from a number of our national priority countries, inviting them to visit Scotland following their attendance at the World Education Forum.

We expected a small group of Ministers and senior officials to respond to the invitation to join us on January 21/22 for an overview of Scottish education, but you can imagine our delight (shock and panic) when over 40 senior government and educationalists  from across India and Pakistan decided to come along.

There were colleagues from Telegana, and Andhra Pradesh in India, as well as from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

Education Scotland worked closely with British Council Scotland, and the international team set to work planning for the visit.

We held a joint reception for the delegation on Thursday 21 January at the British Council (Scotland) offices in Edinburgh. Dr Allan, Minister for Learning, Sciences and Scotland’s Languages provided a warm welcome for the group to Scotland, while Dr Bill Maxwell provided an overview of Scottish education.

Many from across the Scottish education community attended, with lively discussion and networking taking place throughout the evening, and guests were treated to a selection of delicious Indian cuisine.

Delegates were particularly keen on finding out more from Education Scotland about the wider skills and employability agenda, especially the work taking place in Scottish education on STEM and the links between science and technology. Self-evaluation and improvement through inspection was also a hot topic of conversation throughout the evening.

To give delegates the opportunity to see Scottish education in action, we organised visits to educational establishments across Scotland. As the delegation was keen to explore the links between schools and colleges, their Scottish experience included visiting colleges in Broxburn and Ayr (agriculture and aeronautics) and  a school in Murieston to look at their work on the ‘Connecting Classrooms’ project.

This project appealed to the delegation as they wanted to look at ways of increasing school-to-school partnerships with the support of the British Council. The visit was valuable for both groups who exchanged ideas and curricular approaches as well as sharing information on  their respective countries and ways of life.

The delegates were then treated to fashion show and civic reception in Paisley to round off their trip.

The Scottish Government has also renewed its partnership agreement with India and for the first time education across early years, schools and colleges will be included. While we at Education Scotland are looking to establish an educational partnership with colleagues in Telegana and Andre Pradesh to exchange skills and knowledge.

We will provide further updates on the next phase of this partnership working which promises to be equally exciting.

Newsletter: Gaelic Medium Education

Comann nam Pàrant, the national organisation that advises and supports parents/carers of those in Gaelic Medium Education (GME), has recently published a newsletter

The newsletter includes information on

  • Education (Scotland) Bill
  • Children and young people’s achievements in Gaelic Medium Education
  • Useful information to help parents/carers support their child’s learning.

Please continue to read


Reading – the responsibility of every educator

This is one of a series of thought pieces from the Literacy and English team at Education Scotland.  In this one, Madelaine Baker discusses Literacy Across Learning with particular focus on the reading section of the Literacy Across Learning Resource which was published on the Education Scotland website in January 2016.

 Teaching Literacy is the responsibility of all educators. We need to support learners to develop these skills.

Between 27th January and 10th February, the literacy team is hosting a conversation about teaching reading in all subject areas.

Watch the video below for suggestions about how to support reading and where to find resources to help and a chance to reflect on your own teaching practice.

Get involved and join the conversation!



DESMOS Support for Practitioners

Desmos is a graphing calculator which millions of students around the world use for free.   Desmos also create activities on top of that calculator, helping students use a powerful tool to experience all the curiosity, beauty, and sense that math has to offer. Those activities were used so often by so many teachers around the world they created an Activity Builder, helping every teacher create digital math activities that equal and exceed the activities they create themselves.

Using this activity builder the National Mathematics Development Group has created online support for the SQA National Qualifications.

Please log on to GLOW and visit our blog which has handy hints and tips for practitioners alongside activities linked to the SQA Assessment Standards for National 5 , Higher and Advanced Higher Mathematics.

Professional Learning for Gaelic Education: Thursday 28th January at 3.45pm

Comhairle Nan Leabhraichean

Please join Rosemary Ward, Director of Comhairle Nan Leabhraichean, and Maeve MacKinnon, Senior Education Officer for Gaelic to hear about the work of Comhairle Nan Leabhraichean and the support they can offer teachers, children and young people in Gaelic Education. This session will focus on the development of Gaelic writing and promote an interest in reading Gaelic books.   The session will be delivered through the medium of Gaelic and be of 45 minutes duration.

To register to take part in this event, please click on the link below


Scottish Education Awards 2016: Gaelic Education Award

Nominations are now being invited for the Gaelic Education Award. This award recognises the successes of all aspects of Gaelic Education. The Scottish Education Awards also include 16 other categories, for example literacy, numeracy, sustainability, 1+2 languages and partnerships which may be of interest to schools with Gaelic Learner and Medium provisions. For more information, please visit the Scottish Education Awards website. Nominations must be submitted by midday on Monday 15 February 2016.

POLAAR professional learning opportunity

This is one of a series of thought pieces from the Literacy and English team at Education Scotland.  In this one, Marion Cochrane discusses the Primary One Literacy Assessment and Action Resource (POLAAR)  launched by Education Scotland in August, 2014.

POLAAR is designed to help practitioners to identify  P1 learners who are most at risk of developing later difficulties with reading and writing. It is based on a staged model of intervention, ‘observe-action-observe’ which helps identify next steps in learning.POLAAR BOY

Five or six months into the school year, now will be the time that practitioners will be aware of those learners in P1 who would benefit from additional support.  POLAAR can provide a structured approach which practitioners can use to help those learners.

Between the 11th and the 21st January, the literacy team will be hosting a conversation about POLAAR on the literacy blether. This is an opportunity for practitioners, whether they are new to POLAAR or have used it for some time, to discuss how the approach works and how it has benefitted learners. This will also be a great chance for practitioners to ask questions.

Get involved and join the conversation!

Please watch the video and explore the resource consider your own practice and what happens in your establishment.


Some questions to consider…

Join us here to find out more


Find out how to get or update your Glow membership – How do I get a Glow login?


Click to open pdf

This document aims to support care staff working collaboratively with education staff to support children and young people with their learning in the care setting. It recognises that care staff are already supporting children and young people’s learning in care, and aims to provide them with practical examples which will assist services to further improve learning outcomes for children and young people across care and education. The examples of learning experiences which follow are organised in the 3 key curriculum areas which are the responsibility of all: literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.

Click here to open the document as a pdf.

Click here to discuss this in the Inclusion Hub on GLOW.

Primary Futures – a campaign to show children why literacy, maths and science matters.

catherine-calderwood-june-smallScotland’s new Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood today visited Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh to launch the Primary Futures ‘Who’s in Health?’ campaign; to help young children understand how people in the health sector use literacy, maths and science in their jobs. 

Who’s in Health? is a free initiative for state primary schools run by the Education and Employers charity in partnership with the Medical Schools Council. It encourages volunteers from the healthcare sector to visit primary schools and chat informally to children about their jobs. This is to help the children (aged 7–11) see the relevance of what they are learning – especially in science, mathematics and English – and to broaden and raise their future aspirations. Volunteers may be hospital doctors, GPs, nurses, ambulance drivers, high street pharmacists, healthcare assistants, dieticians, surgeons, midwives, students and researchers to name just a few. Volunteers and schools connect via the free online service Primary Futures.

Read more about the campaign here or follow Dr Calderwood’s journey as Chief Medical Officer on her blog.



UNESCO International Literacy Day 2015 at the Glasgow Science Centre

The choice of the Glasgow Science Centre reflected two UNESCO themes for 2015:

  • Literacy and Sustainable Societies and
  • International Year of Light and Light Based Industries
Minister with Literacy and HR
Joined Up Working

Dr. Alasdair Allan, MSP, Minister for Learning Science and Scotland’s Languages provided the keynote speech and launched the Scots Language resource, biographies of famous Scottish scientists in Scots and English. Of special interest is the Scots Scientist James Clerk Maxwell who predated Einstein and contrGlasgow Science Centreibuted to the understanding of light.

Dr Allan said: “Literacy, has a massive effect on the sustainable development of communities around the world.

“Literacy attainment is a key focus in Scottish education and raising the levels of literacy learning is something we’re aiming to address with the Scottish Attainment Challenge.”

Professor Sue Ellis, University of Strathclyde, co-author of the research Closing the Attainment Gap has highlighted the importance of understanding and teaching different literacy strategies for different subjects.

A key impact was the raising of awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a meaningful context for learning

The benefit of interdisciplinary learning was the theme of the key note address from former BBC presenter scientist Heather Reid OBE.  Workshops reflected this interdisciplinary approach.