Category Archives: Primary

Glow Meet, Supporting the Sciences: planning the primary and early years science curriculum

Following the publication of its 3-18 Curriculum Impact Report for Sciences in September 2012, Education Scotland organised a series of conversation days where priorities for action to secure improvements in science education nationally were identified.

Key aspects for development emerged, which included primary and early years practitioners requiring:

  • support with the initial planning for learning and teaching in the sciences
  • guidance and exemplifications for assessment in the sciences
  • support to develop and improve confidence in teaching the experiences and outcomes, including how to deliver practical activities

To address each aspect the sciences team will be hosting three Glow meets, complimented by a series of professional learning twilight sessions.

The first Glow meet Supporting the Sciences: planning the primary & early years science curriculum will take place on Wednesday 17th September 3.45 – 4.30pm.

To register for the glow meet:  http://bit.ly/supportingthesciences1

Further information regarding dates and venues for the professional learning twilights relating to this Glow meet will be available shortly.

Building the West Barns Primary School curriculum part 1

Welcome to the first post from West Barns Primary School in East Lothian. The school community will be telling their story via monthly posts on the Primary section of the Learning Blog. They will be describing the process they are using to develop their curriculum together…

West Barns Primary School is a small village school situated on the outskirts of Dunbar.  We have 71 primary pupils split between 4 classes and 13 children in our Nursery.  The school is well supported by our families and the local community. Our pupils enjoy the wonderful school grounds and the opportunities offered by the outstanding local environment.

This year the school has been working with the whole school community to build a curriculum that provides our children with relevant, motivating and challenging experiences that meet the needs of all our learners.  Children and their families, staff and the wider community are helping us create a new vision for West Barns Primary School, identify what we need to do to get there and plan how we are going to bring this about.

Together staff, children and their families have begun to examine the different elements of the curriculum and have embarked on a journey to find out how we would like it to look in our school.

We used a button vote to find out the views of parents and carers.

Some of the questions and statements the children used with the parents included:

  • My child enjoys learning at school.
  • I feel encouraged to be actively involved in my child’s education.
  • I receive clear reports about my child’s learning and progress.

Download the full list of parent questions here.

The results gave us a clear picture of what we were doing well and the areas we needed to improve.

From the start we wanted to encourage our children to contribute more to the life and work of the school and exercise their responsibilities as members of our learning community.  We began by involving our children in a series of workshops designed to build a picture of how they saw our school. All pupils filled in an ’ How good is our school?’ survey.  Older pupils supported younger children by explaining the questions and helping them traffic light their answers.

Download the children’s survey here.

The children analysed the results and collated them so that everyone could see what was working well and what needed to be improved. We used this information to help us develop our School Improvement Plan.

Survey results

To help develop our next steps we also asked all our children some important questions, including:

  • What makes a good learner?
  • What makes a good teacher?
  • What makes a good school?

Download the template with all the questions here.

Pupils from across the school worked together to gather their ideas.

You can see what came out as important in the Wordles pupils created with the results.

We thought it was great that the words ‘good’, ‘helpful’ and ‘responsible’ came out as important for both our teachers and our learners.

Pupils, parents and staff then worked together by using a button vote to choose new values for our school.

It was interesting to see that respect, happiness, confidence, responsibility, safety and friendliness were our outstanding choices.  This has given us a clear direction for the future and has informed our health and wellbeing programme for this year.

Come back in October to see what the West Barns school community do next as they develop their curriculum together.

Teachmeet @ SLF 2014

Sign-up now for TeachMeet @ Scottish Learning Festival 2014.

Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. This is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and learning. Anyone can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. Education professionals from all sectors are welcome to take part.

The Scottish Learning Festival TeachMeet is always something special. It is usually the biggest TeachMeet in Scotland and often attracts some of the biggest names in education. It is also great fun!

John Carnochan at SLF 2014

With SLF 2014 now only 4 weeks away we hear for one of this year’s keynote speakers, John Carnochan about his keynote and thoughts on Scottish education.

Responding Differently

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” Herman Melville

Teachers, parents and families have a collective responsibility to ensure our children receive a rounded education that helps prepare them for life. Sadly, in the process, we too often forget or ignore the fundamental importance of human connection and relationships in our lives.

We seem to think now that as professionals we just need to do more of the same and everything will be ok, more policy, more training, more process and everything will be fine. This slavish adherence to professional process is, at times, naively arrogant and often ineffective. Not only does it ignore the value of human attributes, it often deliberately de-values them as being somehow unprofessional.

Professionals do not have all the answers and neither can we continue to assume that professional skills are the only “skills” appropriate or adequate responses to persistent problems. The strategies, systems and structures that exist today often can only manage the problems we face, new thinking is required if we are to make these problems better. We must begin to Respond Differently.

Professional and technical skills are important but they are not more important than the human attributes that demand we care for our fellow humans that help us establish relationships and that keep us connected. By combining the professional technical skills with our human attributes we will produce far more effective services and also help us do the right things for the right reasons.

Teachers are on the front line of Responding Differently, helping prepare our children for life. It’s certainly true that our children will need many of the technical skills delivered so effectively everyday in classrooms across Scotland. But these technical skills alone will not be enough if our children are to lead successful and productive lives. There is every possibility that many will be working in roles and doing jobs that have not yet been invented; they may be working in industries that haven’t been created yet. The skills that will be of most use to them in everything they do will be human “skills’. Our children will need to be resilient, adaptable, courageous, thoughtful, collaborative; they will need to communicate, problem solve, negotiate, compromise. Most importantly they will need to connect with others, they will need to be human; create better relationships and in schools it will create better learning and better behaviour.

In Scotland we have started to Respond Differently, particularly in Education. We have defined What our ambition is for our children, we want to make Scotland the Best Place to Grow Up. We have also defined How we are going to do it with the introduction of national policies such as GIRFEC and CfE. The inclusion of “wellbeing”, in CfE, with its aims to help children become Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens is hugely important.

This is an exciting time for Scotland and I sense that we have started to Respond Differently to children how we educate them and how we include them.

We know What we want to do and we know How we’re going to do it that’s a great start. Change is always difficult but if we remember also Why we are doing it the angst borne of the change will lessen as our aspirations increase. We are after all humans first and change is what we humans do, its what we have always done. Leadership has a role to play but we are all leaders and we can all Respond Differently.

If you want to hear John’s keynote then register for SLF 2014.

Glow Meet, Supporting the Sciences: planning the primary and early years science curriculum

Following the publication of its 3-18 Curriculum Impact Report for Sciences in September 2012, Education Scotland organised a series of conversation days where priorities for action to secure improvements in science education nationally were identified.

Key aspects for development emerged, which included primary and early years practitioners requiring:

  • support with the initial planning for learning and teaching in the sciences
  • guidance and exemplifications for assessment in the sciences
  • support to develop and improve confidence in teaching the experiences and outcomes, including how to deliver practical activities

To address each aspect the sciences team will be hosting three Glow meets, complimented by a series of professional learning twilight sessions.

The first Glow meet Supporting the Sciences: planning the primary & early years science curriculum will take place on Wednesday 17th September 3.45 – 4.30pm

To register for the glow meet:  http://bit.ly/supportingthesciences1

Further information regarding dates and venues for the professional learning twilights relating to this Glow meet will be available shortly.

Series of 6 Glow TV Events with Engineers

Meet the Engineer with Primary Engineers.

This is an exciting series of 6 Glow TV events between the 4th of September and the 23rd of October from 10am until 11am to help support the Scottish Engineering Special Leaders Award with Primary Engineer and the Leaders Award for STEM.

Ask your pupils the question ‘What would you do if you could be an engineer in Scotland?’ to help them formulate their answer join our Glow TV interviews with engineers and a Glasgow based solicitor who can tell you how to protect your ideas!

For the third year in a row Education Scotland supports this award as an exciting and relevant way for students from primary and secondary schools in Scotland to discover more about the impact and diversity of engineering, alongside paths and routes into this amazing career.

The list of all the dates and speakers is shown below and their biographies can be found on the leaders award website http://leadersaward.com/index.php/corporate/glow-meets

4th September –            Philip Hannay – Cloch Solicitors (Patents Solicitor) – Watch Again

11th of September –              Craig Goldie – Director Sweitelsky

25th of September –              Gordon Masterton – Vice President Jacobs Engineering

2nd of October –            Tom Sreeves – Director of Manufacturing Aggreko

9th of October –             Douglas Anderson – Founder and CEO OPTOS – this presentation will not be interactive and will be recorded and uploaded to the Education Scotland website Technologies pages

23rd of October –              Emma Henderson – Senior Engineer Expro Group

You can find out more and sign up for any of these events by following the relevant links above.

The Leaders Award for STEM website holds resources such as lesson plans for primary and secondary schools, links to resources from The Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame and award winning engineering companies from across Scotland through Scottish Engineering.

Entry deadlines are the 12th February 2015 with awards being presented in Glasgow alongside a public exhibition in March 2015.