Feb 122015
 

 Making your space work harder:

Using your school grounds as an outdoor learning resource

Free twilight professional review and development opportunity facilitated by Architecture + Design Scotland.

Venue: Delivered in your school.

Audience: Secondary teaching staff teams from all curriculum areas or cluster teaching staff.

Cost: Free

Date: Dates are available in March 2015

Are you using your school grounds effectively? Have you considered the outdoor learning opportunities on your doorstep? This session will provide you and your team with a space to develop creative ideas for outdoor learning using your current immediate outdoor environment.

Designed to address the GTCS Standards for Career Long Professional Learning the workshop will support participants to develop confidence and capacity in the delivery of outdoor learning.

Workshops will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

To book a workshop or for more information please contact Samantha.macdonald@ads.org.uk .

Feb 022015
 

Another phase of funding has been announced as part of The Food for Thought Education Fund to support schools across Scotland to develop and improve learning and teaching around food education.

Schools are also required to identify and work in partnership with a local business to enhance their project and to develop skills for learning, life and work.  In Phase One, 176 different businesses engaged with schools. The value of their time, resources, advice, expertise and volunteering was estimated by Scottish Business in the Community to be worth £300,000, which is very close to match funding the £358,618.61 awarded to schools as part of Phase One.

Now in its third year, the aim of the Food for Thought Education Fund is to support schools to use food and health as a context for learning across Curriculum for Excellence, to improve teacher confidence in delivering food education and as a way to engage with parents and the wider community.

The Fund allows schools to apply for grants individually or in a joint application as part of a cluster of schools from their education authority. More information about applying for funding can be found on the Education Scotland website.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, said:

“In Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink I want to see more young people engage with the journey of their food and drink – but not only that: I want them to look to the future and think about the potential careers they could have in an industry that is full of promise – they can learn about business management and how to plan and promote events in the sector.

“I’m delighted that the Food for Thought funding has entered its third phase, with another £300,000 going towards developing and improving both teaching and learning around food education. Scotland’s food and drink industry is booming, and interest in what we have to offer has never been greater. This is a successful sector which Scotland can be – and is – proud of, and it’s really fantastic to see schools getting involved.

“This third round of funding is now open through the Education Scotland website and I would encourage more schools across the country to look at possible projects and get involved in helping Scotland to become a Good Food Nation. I’m also keen to see the private sector support this project – both to increase the funds available and to develop productive relationships between schools and local firms.”

Suzanne Hargreaves, Senior Education Officer for Health and Wellbeing at Education Scotland, said: “We are thrilled to be able to give schools the opportunity to apply for the third phase of the Food for Thought Education Fund, which is having such a positive impact in schools across Scotland already. Since the fund started we have helped support 9,143 learners get involved in new and exciting food education projects.

“One very interesting project we have supported is at Charleston Academy, Inverness where the school has had the help of world-renowned chef Albert Roux over the last five years with both culinary and financial support. The Food for Thought Funding combined with funding from Highland Council and the school’s own fund raising activities has allowed them to open The Albert Roux Training Kitchen at the school. We wish them all the best with this project and would encourage all schools to consider the great opportunities this funding could bring to their learners.”

A total of 232 schools were involved in the first phase of the fund, amounting to an average spend of around £1,532 per school across 25 local authorities, with 20 per cent of the fund targeted at schools to help learners from disadvantaged backgrounds

To enquire about applying for funding or to read a copy of the full evaluation report from Phase One of the Food for Though Education Fund, please contact the Food for Thought team. Schools who were awarded funds in Phase Two are currently evaluating the impact of their projects, and schools who have applied for funding in Phase Three will be notified if their application has been successful by June 2015.

Additional information:

£358,618.61 of funding was granted in Phase One and £649,006.41 in Phase Two.
232 schools were involved meaning an average spend of £1,532 per school in Phase One.
•A total of 9,143 learners were involved in Phase One.
•There were 61 successful applications across 25 Local Authorities, with 20% of the fund focused on the least advantaged areas in Phase One.
•There were 124 successful applications across 30 Local Authorities in Phase Two.
176 different businesses engaged with schools, some with more than one school in Phase One.
•The value of the time, resources, advice, expertise and volunteering provided by the business who were engaged with schools in Phase One is estimated to be worth £300,000 according to Scottish Business in the Community.
•In Phase One 100% of schools reported that learners, staff and the local community benefited as a result of receiving funding.
 

Education Scotland has been working in partnership with a number of organisations and food education partners to embed food and health in the curriculum and produce resources, host career-long professional learning events and to provide guidance and support to schools developing their food education programmes. These partners include the Royal Highland Education Trust, Crofting Connections, Scottish Food and Drink Federation, Food for Life Scotland, Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus, Seafood Scotland, Chefs@School, Dumfries House, Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland, Food Standards Agency Scotland and Eco Schools Scotland.

Jan 232015
 

B8BNSIzIcAARPFbThe Scottish Youth Parliament today launched their new campaign “Poverty – See It / Change  It” from the innovative Fuse Youth Cafe in Shettleston in Glasgow.

Louise Cameron, the Chair of SYP, spoke eloquently and passionately about the overwhelming support from MSYP (Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament) constituents to back and support a campaign seeking to eradicate child poverty in Scotland, where 1 in 5 children are growing up in poverty. Read the facts about child poverty in Scotland from Save the Children. Louise said that:

“Scotland could be the best place in the world to grow up” and that child povery was an “issue that transcends party politics” and that “together let’s do more!”

Supporting the event were many MSPs and MPs, including the MSP for Shettleston, John Mason (SNP) and the MP for Shettleston, Margaret Curran (Labour). John Mason said that, “challenging stigma to poverty and raising awareness to poverty” were key parts of the campaign. Margaret Curran stated that young people should be able to “fulfill their potential and make their own decisions of the life they want to live.” And that “life shouldn’t be determined by the postcode in which you were born.”

MSYP Nairn McDonald set out the aims for the campaign:

  1. SEE IT  Raise awareness and let people see the reality of poverty in Scotland
  2. CHANGE IT MYSPs will work across the country speaking to young people, charities and other groups – changing attitdues and challenging stigma through peer to peer discussions.
  3. KEEP IT MYSPs will actively urge decision  makers to ‘keep’ their committment to tackling poverty.

The campaign is already in full swing and thoughout the day MYSPs have been meeting with various charitable groups to learn more about what they do to alleviate child poverty and how the MYSPs can support their efforts. To find out more and chart the progress of the campaign follow the hashtag #seeitchangeit on Twitter.

To find out more about the Scottish Youth Parliament and how the MSYP are elected look here: http://www.syp.org.uk/about-syp-W21page-94-

tam-trauchleIf teachers wish to explore some of the issues around child poverty there are some thought provoking archive films from Scotland On Screen that can be used as great lesson starters.

Tam Trauchle’s Troubles (1934) is a fundraising film for the Glasgow Necessitous Children’s Holiday Camp Fund, which raised money to help send poor children on a holiday during the summer break.

Man Without A Wife (1970)  is about a man whose wife left him to bring up six boys on his own and the difficulties he experienced.

Children of the City (1944) is a dramatised study of child delinquency in Dundee during World War II.

The Health of a City (1965) describes the foundation of day nurseries in Glasgow for children with missing parents.

Glasgow Today and Tomorrow (1949) outlines the Glasgow Corporation’s plans for the redevelopment of Glasgow, including the removal of slum housing and overcrowded tenemants.

Jan 212015
 

Now open for applications!

Scotland’s Finest Woods (SFW) and the Outdoor & Woodland Learning Scotland (OWLS) (formerly Forest Education Initiative Scotland) have once again teamed up to run an annual Schools Award in Scotland.

The Award is to encourage and reward schools that increase young people’s understanding and appreciation of the environmental, social and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests and of the link between trees and everyday wood-based products.

Prize money and prestige to be won!  Closing date for entry – 31st March 2015

For further information click on this link – www.sfwa.co.uk/

Dec 102014
 

On Saturday 22nd of November we hosted a further ‘Risky Behaviours’ event, mainly aimed at primary, secondary and further education practitioners but also attended by representatives from our Health and wellbeing (HWB) partner organisations. The event took place in the Dalhousie Building at University of Dundee and was attended by over 100 delegates from across Scotland. In keeping with the spirit of the day, we took a risk in beginning with a flash mob style performance by students from Dundee & Angus College. Working in partnership with NHS Tayside, the dance/drama project is piloting support in mental and emotional wellbeing for secondary school pupils. Some of our delegates identified this as a highlight, which provided an “uplifting” start to the day.

The day was organised into three sections using the following HWB curriculum organisers:
~ Mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing
~ Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood
~ Substance Misuse

Each part of the day was introduced by a key note speaker. Firstly, Brian Donnelly (Directory of Respectme) presented a common sense approach to anti-bullying in schools with powerful messages on the nature, intent and impact of bullying. He also offered suggestions on how schools might re-think their anti-bullying policies and approaches, including online bullying. Many of our delegates stated that Brian’s speech was ‘inspirational’ and that his messages will have an impact on their future practice.

The second part of our day saw an excellent presentation from John Naples Campbell from Knightswood Secondary School on LGBT, which took delegates on an emotional journey as John gave insights into his personal experience. He called for a change in the way that homophobia is addressed in schools and offered resources and strategies to support children and young people.

Finally, Emma Hamilton from the Scottish Drugs Forum provided a very informative presentation on drug use in Scotland, with a particular focus on drugs that young people are accessing and using. Bringing us right up to date with the issues that need to be tackled, Emma offered suggestions on what schools can do and provided links to further sources of information and support.

Throughout the day 15 workshops took place showcasing examples of innovative practice, resources and strategies from a range of schools and partner agencies. Many of the workshops highlighted how partnership working has helped learners to become better informed and to develop the skills and confidence to make informed choices about risky behaviours. Details of all the workshops which took place can also be downloaded here: WorkshopDescriptors

A special thank you must also go to the range of peer educators, including those from Kirkcaldy High School, The Corner (Dundee) and LGBT Youth who gave up their time (on a Saturday of all days!) to present at this event. This was praised as a particular strength of the day, as it was felt that the contributions of the young people added depth to inputs and gave learners a voice. Many of the young people have commented on what a valuable (if a little nerve wracking) experience this was for them also.

Feedback from the event has been very positive with many participants already making use of the contacts, resources and ideas they gained from the day. Participants have also had the opportunity to put forward suggestions for future ‘Risky Behaviours’ events which will be of great use in our planning. Our next ‘Risky Behaviours’ event is due to be held in Inverness on 28th of February 2015.

Further information on this event including presentations and materials from the workshops and links to all of the partner organisations that took part can be found on the new Glow HWB Learning Community which can be accessed here: hwbrisky by searching for ‘HWB events’.

Many thanks to the representatives from University of Dundee, Dundee and Angus College, Respectme, Knightswood Secondary School, Scottish Drugs Forum, International Futures Forum, University of Dundee College of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing, Dundee City Council, Fintry Primary School, North Ayrshire Council, NSPCC, Sexpression, LGBT Youth, Angus Council, Perth and Kinross Council, NHS Tayside, Kirkcaldy High School, The Corner, Medics Against Violence, ASH Scotland, Police Scotland and Tayside Council on Alcohol. An additional thanks goes to the Education Scotland staff who supported with presentations at this event.

Dec 082014
 

Nominations for the Scottish Education Awards 2015 awards are now open. Celebrating the hard work and success in Scottish education, the awards recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people.

There are 17 awards available across a range of categories covering all areas of education. New awards for this year include learning for sustainability, making languages come alive and transforming lives through partnerships.

If you know of a school or teacher that deserves to be recognised for their hard work visit the Scottish Education Awards website for more information and to submit a nomination.

Nominations must be submitted by Monday 16 February 2015, good luck.

Nov 262014
 

On Saturday 15th November the second of our ‘Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools’ events took place at Speyside High School in Aberlour. The day began with an opening presentation from Nigel Engstrand, Head Teacher, Speyside High School who shared his thoughts on the relevance and importance of learning outdoors and discussed the commitment that Speyside High School has made to outdoor learning.

Throughout the day 12 workshops ran offering participants a variety of practical ideas on how to use outdoor learning approaches across the curriculum. Examples included using the outdoors to develop literacy skills, outdoor learning through physical education and physical activity, creativity in the outdoors, taking science outdoors and progression in outdoor learning from S1-S6. Many workshops also highlighted how partnership working had also helped enrich outdoor learning experiences. Details of all the workshops which took place can also be downloaded here: Workshops – Detailed descriptors

Representatives from 11 partner agencies also took part in the market place providing a wealth of information on further resources available to support outdoor learning.

But the undoubtable highlight of the day was the captivating keynote speech delivered by S4 Speyside High School pupil Zeki Basan. Zeki, a junior ‘Ray Mears’, provided a fascinating talk on bush craft (or the term he has coined ‘Bushology’) in which he shared his vast knowledge of the medicinal properties and practical uses of the wild plants and trees which exist in the local Speyside countryside. Most inspiring was Zeki’s candid account of how a meeting with Ray Mears together with his own passion for the natural world and thirst to learn more about it helped him to overcome his own personal barrier to learning.

Many thanks also to the other Speyside High School pupils Lee Tarling, Annemiek Daggert, Connel Laing and Elliot Gould who kindly gave up their Saturday to help meet and greet the participants and to share their experiences of outdoor learning at Speyside High School.

Feedback from the event has been very positive with many participants already making use of the contacts, resources and ideas they gained from the day:

“It was good meeting such positive teachers and outdoor learning providers. Seeing a school being successful in incorporating OL in the curriculum and not making it an add on.”

“Having young people involved and sharing their passion was the most engaging part of it.”

“I have already discussed using the local farming community with a geography colleague who wasn’t sure where to start.”

“I have an increased awareness of the value of outdoor learning within school and will work with others to improve, increase, support good practice.”

Participants have also had the opportunity to put forward suggestions for future outdoor learning events which will of great use in our planning.

Further information on this event including presentations and materials from the workshops and links to all of the partner organisations that took part can be found on the new Glow Outdoor Learning Community which can be accessed via: http://bit.ly/1umiCug. From here click on the tile ‘Previous events’ to access the sites for the Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools events.

Many thanks to staff from Moray Council, Speyside High School, Banchory Academy, Kemnay Academy, Grantown Grammar School, Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), The National Trust for Scotland, Horseback UK, Cairngorms National Park Authority, The John Muir Award, Field Studies Council, OPAL, Grounds for Learning, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Adventure Aberdeen, Classroom Outdoors, The Outward Bound Trust, Abernethy and Angus Education Service.

Nov 132014
 

15 primary schools from the Oban area have taken part this year in an Outdoor Learning Programme  delivered by Stramash, the Oban based social enterprise and charity.

“The programme uses the unique environment of the west coast of Scotland to help inspire the next generation to enjoy and engage with all the great outdoors has to offer. The programme offers a range of outdoor experiences for children & young people that challenge and inspire, enrich the learning that takes place inside the classroom and supports the personal, social and emotional development of each individual.  This supports Curriculum for Excellence, providing experiences which stimulate learning, connect to the natural environment and encourage active, healthy lifestyles. The programme is varied and tailored to suit each school. We have delivered the programme in forest, woodland and coastal environments and the children have participated in a variety of activities including hillwalking, orienteering and sea kayaking as part of the programme.” Outdoor Learning Manager, Stramash

Stramash have created a film to tell the story of the programme. To view the film click on this link http://vimeo.com/110570839

Oct 272014
 

The Forestry Commission Scotland offers training for early years’ staff in developing forest kindergartens. The training consists of a one day taster course for Heads and Managers of nurseries and a three day training course for nursery teachers and early years practitioners.

One Day Taster Course – The taster course gives promoted staff an introduction to the philosophy of Forest Kindergartens, an opportunity to consider controlled risk taking and discussion of the value of learning in nature using natural materials in woodlands or other green spaces. The content of the course consistently refers to the Early Years Framework and Curriculum for Excellence. This course gives promoted staff the opportunity to consider their role in supporting staff in developing forest kindergartens and sharing information with parents and the wider community. Part of the day is held indoors and the remainder outdoors.

Three Day Course - This course is designed to support staff in embedding forest kindergarten as part of their Pre-Birth to Three and Curriculum for Excellence practice. The course gives staff the opportunity to share their hopes and concerns, discuss controlled risk taking and understand how this approach embraces the Rights of The Child. Participants learn about the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, challenging outdoor experiences that can be offered and ways that the Curriculum for Excellence supports experiential outdoor learning. The course gives staff a theoretical overview and the opportunity to engage in practical outdoor activities. Staff also visit an established forest kindergarten and discuss practice with staff who have completed the course and are now experienced forest kindergarten leaders. Part of the course gives staff opportunities to consider responsive planning approaches and ways in which woodland experiences can impact on indoor practice and the nursery outdoor environment.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three days. All my inhibitions and fears about taking children off site are well and truly gone. The course was delivered to a very high standard and I know I’ve learned a lot”

“I was not really a fan of getting outdoors and getting dirty but now I understand the benefits it has for the children and I am motivated and excited to get started”

Forestry Commission Scotland Support – Forestry Commission Scotland offers this course to all staff delivering the curriculum for Excellence at the Early Level in nurseries and schools. Ongoing on-site support continues from FCS to assist staff in identifying suitable woodland or green space and involve staff teams, parents and carers and the local community. FCS can also participate alongside staff to support them in developing the quality of their session. Each participant receives a training pack and pen drive loaded with essential information. This  includes awareness raising materials and activities to engage children, staff, parents, carers, and the local community.

A new Training for Trainers course is being prepared so that existing forest kindergarten leaders can deliver training alongside forestry commission staff within their own local authorities. North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire staff are currently co-presenting the 3 day course.

There is an opportunity for staff to continue developing their knowledge and skills through supplementary courses lasting one and a half days each to learn how to use ropes, fire and tools. In future a course on The Pedagogy of Forest Kindergartens will be offered

Forest Family Bags are also being created to support families using woodlands with their children and a Transition pilot programme is about to be developed to support the continuation of forest kindergarten into primary one.

For further information on any of the above please contact: Marian Cairns, Acting Central Scotland Education Officer, Central Scotland Conservancy Email: marian.cairns@forestry.gsi.gov.uk Tel: 01698 368553, Mob: 07747474790

Oct 102014
 

Developing the Life and Ethos of West Barns Primary School

Over the past 12 months at we have been working with pupils, families and the wider community to help us develop a clear rational for our curriculum based on shared values of respect, happiness, confidence, responsibility, safety and friendliness.  The school continues to develop open and supportive relationships with children and their families.  We are now beginning to see the impact of many months of hard work on the life and work of the school.

This year we have introduced Learning Journeys which will support pupils in reflecting on their learning and identify their next steps as well as recording their wider achievement.  We are sharing these with parents and families on a regular basis and encourage them to add their own comments, photos, certificates etc. and help their child set health and wellbeing targets.  This will provide parents with a great opportunity to become more involved in their child’s learning and achievements. By the end of this first term we are already seeing pupils engaging more in discussing their learning, identifying their strengths and next steps, thinking of strategies to help them move forward and evidencing their achievements.

Learning journeys

Parents and families also recently helped our Primary 4-7 pupils understand the importance that literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing skills will play in their adult lives.  Pupils interviewed adults as part of the Family Homework task (download parents survey). Pupils then worked together to process and present the information.  This gave our children a greater understanding of why it is important to master these basic skills during their school years.  Younger pupils have been thinking about what jobs they would like to do when they are older and which skills they will need.  Staff continue to make the links between the children’s learning and skills for learning, work and life.

Family homework task

This year we felt it was essential that we looked at how we could better promote emotional resilience in our pupils.  We are using a whole school approach to health and wellbeing through using Edinburgh City’s ‘Creating Confident Kids’ resources (http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20075/information_for_professionals/383/learning_publications ).  The Headteacher is working with all classes to develop a whole school approach through active learning and school assemblies.  The Playground Committee has also been looking at ways that we could better support pupils during break times through developing games and activities and have introduced their own Playground rules.

Playground rules

The whole school community are now working together to develop an ethos of positive behaviour to promote effective learning and wellbeing across the school.  This year, before choosing new House Captains, pupils were asked what attributes they valued most in a leader.  The results were unanimous – pupils wanted role models who showed respect, kindness and responsibility.  Candidates then used these findings to inform their election campaigns and now have a clear remit of what the school community expects from them in their new roles.

Most valued attributes in a leader

Our recent pupil survey showed us that our children wanted to contribute more to the life and work of the school.  We are now giving all our pupils the opportunity to exercise their responsibilities through playing an active part in one of our 4 school committees.  We have timetabled quality time and invested in resources to ensure that pupils have real opportunities to participate responsibly in decision-making, contribute as leaders and role models and offer support and service to others through meaningful projects that will benefit the school and our wider community.

Although we have an open door policy here at West Barns and welcome communication from parents, we were keen on trying to involve our parents more in the day to day running of the school.  Our Parent Council have recruited many volunteers through the West Barns Helping Hands scheme which involves parents, families or neighbours offering their help in a variety of different ways from creating resources, digging the garden, mending toys, making curtains and helping organise events.  We are seeing many more parents and families becoming involved in the school and we are making headway with many new projects thanks to their help.

Next month see how our curriculum rationale is being developed.