Feb 132015
 

IMG_20150211_142800

It was great to be invited to join with ELCC colleagues in Wishaw to take forward their thinking about Numeracy and Mathematics. I really enjoyed the level of debate and discussion that took place. We talked about the importance of ensuring that children have lots of experience of using arbitrary measures and how they should be engaged in experiences that help them to experience the passage of time.

Colleagues managed to keep their focus despite the warm temperature in the room. I am sure everyone cooled quickly when outside.

Just a reminder about ways to keep in touch. Become a member of the Early Years Glow community. Login to Glow and search for http://bit.ly/earlylearn. All materials from the session are available when inside the Community.

I’d be very interested to know how you are taking forward what was discussed today. Lots of colleagues were interested in finding out about how to take Numeracy and Maths outdoors. Perhaps we could start a conversation about that in the Glow Community? Remember the Glow Community is a closed group so only members can see what is being discussed.

Follow us on Twitter @CaFTeam and search for #TalkELCC. There are some good photos of colleagues debating the issues of the day.

Just a reminder that we are having Local Conversations about Professional Learning in ELCC in March in Ayr, Edinburgh and Inverness. If you’d like to come along, register here.

Best wishes/Dùrachdan,IMG_20150211_142921

Lisa

Lisa McCabe Education Officer – Children & Families (Early Years)

T: 44 (0)1506 600466 | M: 44 (0) 7701 280805 | E: lisa.mccabe@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk | Glow: Lisa.McCabe@glow.gov.uk | Follow us on Twitter @CaFTeam

Feb 062015
 

logo-yeBlueThe deadline is fast approaching for the Tenner Challenge. All schools must register by the 27th February. To do so go here:

http://www.tenner.org.uk/about-tenner#

The Tenner Challenge is for young people aged 11-19 who want to get a taste of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. It gives them a chance to think of a new business idea and make it happen, using real money to take calculated risks in the business field, make a profit – and make a difference. Tenner is a national competition and young people from all over the country can get involved.

Tenner can be a great way to take on a Challenge in your local area and make money at the same time.

How it works:

Step 1 – Here’s a Tenner!
Young people are pledged £10 from the Tenner Bank on 23 February.
Step 2 – Get started
They use this start-up capital to get their business off the ground, working alone or in a group.

Young Enterprise can help kick start your Tenner Challenge by running a half day masterclass for your participants.  This does have an associated cost, subject to local funding streams.  Please contact us for further information.
Step 3 – Keep it going
They have 4 weeks to make as much profit as they can from their tenner while also trying to make a difference and give back to society.  Participants can also take part in weekly competitions to keep them engaged and motivated.

There are online resources available in the unique area of the website to help teachers lead their students through the Challenge, some of which include; guidance, activities, templates and more.  For the students there will be templates and guidance as well as an online logbook to help them keep track of how they are getting on, which will also be their entry to the National Competition.
Step 4 – Keep the profits
Participants are in full control of the profits they have earned and should decide themselves what they would like to spend them on  – for example, a day out, resources or activities for school, or they may wish to donate their money to a charity of their choice.
Step 5 – Payback for the future
At the end of the month, participants enter the National Competition and payback their £10 plus a suggested £1 legacy donation so more young people can participate in the Challenge next year.

 

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 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.

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.

Oct 072014
 

Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools
When: Saturday 15th November 2014
Where: Speyside High School, Aberlour
Time: 9:30am-4pm

In the revised GTCS Standards for Career Long Professional Learning teachers are required to “understand and develop the most appropriate contexts for learning including outdoor learning and be able to apply appropriate pedagogies for these environments”. This event aims to support this and build confidence and capacity in the delivery of outdoor learning in secondary schools.

Throughout the day participants will have the opportunity to attend a variety of practical outdoor workshops delivered by teachers and outdoor partners. These workshops will showcase outdoor learning approaches and will demonstrate how these can be incorporated into practice.

A market place and other networking opportunities will allow practitioners to meet with outdoor partners and find out more about the range of resources available to further support outdoor learning.

This is a free event open to secondary staff in Scotland – in particular those who are starting out on their outdoor learning journey and wish to develop their confidence in taking the curriculum outdoors. There is an expectation that those who attend this event will be willing to share their learning with colleagues in their establishment.

Registering for this event:
If you wish to attend this event please register online by Wednesday 29th October @ https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7P9PS8R

Early registration is advised as this event is likely to be very popular. Workshop choices will be sent out at the start of November.

If you would like further information about this event please contact:
Fiona Cruickshanks, Development Officer, Outdoor Learning Fiona.Cruickshanks@educationscotland.gov.uk

Jun 162014
 

lf you could be an engineer in Scotland – what would you do?

The Leaders Award for STEM is a Primary Engineer programme open to students from 5 to 19 years old. It is a fantastic way to increase their awareness of the breadth of opportunities open to them within STEM subjects. Students  have the chance to speak directly to professionals from different fields in STEM. This award is a great opportunity to engage pupils with real engineers who will convey the importance of STEM in their daily working lives. Schools will be able to develop relationships with industry, both local and worldwide, giving pupils a unique perspective of professions and their significance in the wider world.

The Challenge
Pupils are asked to research engineering and interview a practicing engineer to interpret the statement “lf you could be an engineer in Scotland – what would you do?”. Primary pupils are asked to illustrate their response, accompanied by 100 words. Secondary pupils are asked to illustrate their response, accompanied by 350 words.

The website contains resources and lesson plans which can help pupils get their research underway. Just visit the ‘Downloads’ section of the website at www.leadersaward.com.

All successful participants will receive a certificate and winning entries will be exhibited to the public at the Barony Hall, University of Strathclyde (date TBC).

Closing date: 10th February 2015

How to get involved
Register your school via the website www.leadersaward.com. Once registered, you will receive an application pack and further guidance on completing the award.

May 202014
 

Leaders Award for STEM is a fun and rewarding way of finding out about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). We also play host to additional Special Leaders Awards which run throughout the year, each having a particular focus.

If you could be an engineer in Scotland – what would you do?

We challenge Primary and Secondary school pupils in Scotland to research and interview inspiring engineers!

This award is a great opportunity to engage pupils with real engineers who will convey the importance of STEM in their daily working lives. Schools will be able to develop relationships with industry, both local and worldwide, giving pupils a unique perspective of professions and their significance in the wider world. Our website contains resources and lesson plans which can help pupils get their research underway. Just visit the ‘Downloads’ section of our website at www.leadersaward.com. All successful participants will receive a certificate and winning entries will be exhibited to the public at the Barony Hall, University of Strathclyde (date TBC).

Closing date: 10th February 2015.

The Challenge

Pupils are asked to research engineering and interview a practicing engineer to interpret the statement “if you could be an engineer in Scotland – what would you do?”

Primary pupils are asked to illustrate their response, accompanied by 100 words.

Secondary pupils are asked to illustrate their response, accompanied by 350 words.

Register your school via the website www.leadersaward.com. Once registered, you will receive an application pack and further guidance on completing the award.

For more information about the Scottish Engineering Special Leaders Award, please visit www.leadersaward.com