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

May 092014
 

Part of the remit of The Young Academy of Scotland’s Excellence in Education Working Group is to “draw upon YAS expertise to develop teaching resources that enable teachers to make full use of the interdisciplinary possibilities of CfE [Curriculum for Excellence].” 

This resource, working within the Numeracy curriculum area, utilised the broad multi-disciplinary nature of the YAS membership to show how numeracy matters in the everyday lives and work of Scotland’s emerging leaders from the disciplines of science and humanities, the professions, the arts, business and civil society.

Through this YAS resource learners can find out how Cardiologist Marc Dweck uses numeracy in the diagnosis and treatment of heartattacks, discover how astrophysicist Catherine Heymans uses spread sheets when buying a new mobile phone and, most importantly, find out why ‘Numeracy Counts!’

Access the resources here – http://bit.ly/MqEQrJ

May 022014
 

Forestry Commission Scotland is encouraging young people to feel the benefit of the Commonwealth Games with a new Woodland Workout pack. Targeted at 3-14 year olds the pack promotes opportunities for quality, fun and safe physical activity in the outdoors and includes ideas for games, physical activities and staging ‘adapted’ Commonwealth sports in the woodlands. The pack, complete with teachers’ guide, encourages young people to have fun but to also be responsible for their well-being and consider risk. As well as considering potential hazards in their activity space and taking risks with solving problems, it also allows children the chance to learn how to manage ‘failure’ through reflecting on performance to set new challenges.

The Woodland Workout, with Commonwealth Games supplement has been issued to schools across Scotland and is available to download.

Apr 222014
 

For information, resources, support, key organisations and national guidelines on taking learning outdoors click on the link below to access the Education Scotland outdoor learning online resource:

Education Scotland Outdoor Learning online resource

Key documents available on this resource include:

  • Outdoor Learning 3-18: Self-evaluation resource – this resource is specifically designed to support teachers and educators in pre-school centres and primary, special and secondary schools and Community Learning and Development (CLD) to evaluate the potential of their work to help children and young people learn outdoors.

A downloadable word document highlighting all these links is available here: Education Scotland Outdoor Learning online support materials

Apr 092014
 

The RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate excellence, innovation and outstanding achievement in Scottish nature conservation. The Youth & Education Award celebrates a school or youth group who can demonstrate how they have made a real difference to the conservation and sustainability of Scotland’s wildlife and habitats.

This could be through fundraising for a conservation-related project, a school grounds development, partnership working or best practice in hands-on delivery of learning for sustainability, connecting young people to the natural world.

The awards are now open for entries.

Click here for further information: http://www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/natureofscotland

Apr 092014
 

Sustrans, the British charity which promotes sustainable transport, has developed a learning and teaching resource for P6-7 and S1-3 called The Big Street Survey. It is designed to get pupils thinking and learning about their local environments, how they make them feel and how they can go about developing a manifesto for changing their streets and making them healthier and safer places.

A series of free downloadable resources can be viewed here:

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/change-your-travel/children-and-families/schools/big-street-survey

These resources deliver various Experiences & Outcomes across Health & Wellbeing, Social Studies, Expressive Arts, Literacy and Numeracy.

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