Category Archives: Supporting Learners

Portlethen Academy: Raising the profile of skills in learning and teaching.

Every classroom has a poster for Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work. Pupil-friendly definitions of these skills were produced by a working group of staff. Teachers are asked to make reference to these skills in their learning intentions and success criteria and in the content of the lesson itself. The impact of DYW is discussed in the videos:

All S1 pupils are recording the development of these skills in a Skills Passport booklet during DCT. The main purpose of the booklet is to help the pupils document the skills they are developing, the subjects in which they use these skills and the evidence they have to support their judgements on how well they are progressing with particular skills in learning, life and work. The booklet also includes sections on profiling, SMART targets, reflection, mental health, recognising wider achievement, subject reports and self-evaluation.

The school has used several key methods to ensure that the strategy has the desired impact to the learners:

  • Researched examples of skills frameworks and received valuable input from Larbert High School after seeing their materials on the National Improvement Hub
  • Decided to develop their version of a skills framework and to link it to their tutor time programme for tracking purposes
  • Established a staff team to develop the framework and materials
  • Introduced the focus on skills to staff at collegiate session.
  • Introduced the focus on skills to pupils at year group assemblies.
  • Produced a set of posters for every classroom
  • Obtained feedback on reference to skills for learning, life and work through pupil focus groups where 5 pupils are selected from various year groups once a week.

The school believes that the changes have impacted on their learners, the key indicators:

  • Promoted skills development in learning and teaching
  • Ensure staff are consistently embedding skills development in their classroom practice
  • Ensure pupils know what skills they possess
  • Helping pupils develop the ability to confidently articulate the skills they are developing
  • Ensure pupils can utilise these skills across different subject areas
  • Ensure pupils realise the value and importance of skills they develop in school and how these relate to the world of work

This is a journey for staff and young people, the key points are:

  • Staff are referencing skills development in their lesson planning
  • Pupils are noticing the increased focus on skills and realising the value as they progress through the school
  • Pupils are becoming more aware of how often they are using different skills
  • Pupils are realising the value of transferrable skills
  • Pupils are realising the importance of skills for their future careers

It has allowed them to monitor it through their focus groups, and they can reference it more easily due to the visual nature of their posters. When they have speakers or reference areas of employment in their career of the week they ensure skills are highlighted.

Portlethen are working hard on partnership and engagement with industry. Curricular experiences through DYW include:

Breadth of careers
Mock interviews
Rural skills
Air traffic control
NHS
Enterprise day (S2)
Micro Tyco
MWOW ambassadors
Hospitality (chef of the week, Royal navy chefs)

Porthlethen see DYW as integral and underpin out their work with young people by making the links between skills and the workplace. They refer to the school as just another workplace, which reinforces the link between education and skills for work. The skills framework has helped by providing a clear focus.

  • Having a visual display of the skills you are focusing on
  • Reference skills in all aspects of the lesson where appropriate
  • Help pupils realise the range of skills they possess
  • Ensure pupils know which skills they are developing
  • Help pupils transfer these skills to different contexts and subject areas

Next Steps
They have started formally recording and documenting skills development and progression in S1. They are looking at creative ways to record and document skills development as the cohort become more mature and progress through the school. They will formalise the inclusion of skills development in lesson planning, learning intentions and success criteria to ensure a consistent approach by all staff.

“I like the framework because I can click on it and see what it means” S1 pupil

“Having the framework on your website helped me link my presentation to the skills required to work in the catering industry in a way that pupils could understand”  DYW presenter.

“The framework diagrams give me a key point of reference in planning lessons and for reference in class.” Teacher

Marine Engineering Workshop

The Marine Engineering STEM Workshop was chosen to receive the Maritime UK STEM Award for 2019. The award recognizes the quality, hard work and dedication of the team in delivering workshops and promoting DYW and STEM as a route into engineering for pupils in schools throughout Scotland. Since starting the program 4 years ago, they have delivered the workshop to more than 26,000 pupils nationwide.

They have developed a new marine environmental engineering workshop that looks at our ocean plastics problem and how students and engineers can help to save our world’s marine wildlife. The workshop culminates in the students building a working submarine with the ability to retrieve materials from the ocean floor.

Their diary is now open for 2020/21/22 and they would like to give all Scottish schools the opportunity to book their free workshop.

MEP JP Buoyancy Workshop Flyer

Castlemilk High School-Skills Framework

Developing young people’s skills is a priority in Castlemilk High School. The leadership team comprising of a senior staff member, a Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) lead, youth worker, careers advisor and MCR pathways coordinator have adopted a streamlined and transparent approach to developing young people’s skills for life, learning and work. To support this, a ‘Skills Framework’ – known as ‘the Two ships and the 3’C’s’ has been implemented across all aspects of the curriculum.

The Framework is embedded into learning to ensure that all young people are engaging with a holistic language which was carefully created to allow them to recognise and understand their skill sets and relate these to their career aspirations. The impact is that young people are better able to articulate their skills set preparing them for the world of work.

Collaboration with both the wider community and employers has been integral to successful realisation of this goal. Following guidance in key documents such as BTC4, a strategic meeting of the team identified assess skills gaps in the labour market. The staff and parents of young people were asked to identify skills that young people needed to develop further to make them ‘work ready’.
The view of our partnership employers events were also aligned with this. This ensured that the Framework reflected both our local community too. The development of visual design for the Framework was supported by a local graphics company.

The consultation with staff, parents and partners was highlighted as a key strength of the Framwork during a recent inspection by Education Scotland and was praised for its sector leading approach to skills development.

In a competitive world, Castlemilk High School feel it is important for our young people to be able to confidently articulate their skills to give them a better chance of securing positive destinations. The ‘Skills Framework’ was developed to address the skills requirement for the current and future labour markets. By creating a common language, they expect that these transferable skills will become more transparent and identifiable to the young people across their curricular learning.

Staff in the school are openly engaging with young people in conversations about their own skill sets and have displayed their own personal ‘skills journey’ from school to the work place in attractive poster displays created by the DYW team.

Staff use the ‘Two Ships and the Three Cs’ to compliment learning and teaching:

Science

Pupil Log Books are adapted to encourage learners’ to identify skills they have developed during a unit of work allowing them to make meaningful connections as to how these skills can be applied across curricular areas.

Drama and Music

A skills focus is shared every lesson with one skill from the Framework at the fore, strengthening our young peoples’ ability to recognise transferability of skills between curricular areas.

Wider Achievement programme has further developed and helped to track skills using the Framework. Young people elect to take three Wider Achievement blocks, one per term. Using a tracking system, young people assess themselves against the skills framework, recording their skills journey through a variety of activities designed to enhance personal achievement. For example:

Young person may decide to focus on enhancing their leadership skills during a wider achievement block. By opting for an activity designed to enhance that skill, they can target skills that need improvement and take ownership over working towards them.

Many young people need support in articulating their skills and describing the qualities that they have developed. By providing a common framework and language, this enables our young people to confidently compete more effectively in the post-school market against their counterparts. The Skills Framework is key in allowing us to work with the young people against the cultural and economic barriers they face in our community.

In addition, we have embedded flexible and tailored work placement opportunities for young people by effectively tracking our young peoples’ skills and aspirations. This approach has been praised by external agencies involved in DYW.

The work placement format focuses on ensuring young people get the most out of their time in the work place, setting goals with regard to the Skills Framework prior to going and reflecting on these when returned.

In addition, work-related subject choices with a focus in the Skills Framework have been embedded into curriculum:

Princes Trust,

Rural Skills

Community Youth Work Skills.

This ensures  learning is focused on providing the skills that allow them to flourish. These courses not only gain qualifications but they build on skills that aren’t always available in a more traditional school curriculum.

The Skills Framework has allowed a greater focus on the aspects of work-related learning that can have most impact to our young people. Partnership has been at the very heart of our ‘Skills Framework’ from the outset. The team itself consist of a number of diverse stakeholders drawn from existing partnerships with the Castlemilk Youth Complex, MCR Pathways and Skills Development Scotland. This has allowed the ‘Two Ships and the Three Cs’ to filter readily into our community.

The DYW team are responsible for co-ordinating all aspects of young person’s work journey and the Skills Framework are increasingly moving towards the centre of this. For example, in conversations with Skills Development Scotland advisor, young people are encouraged to describe and apply their skills when writing personal statements and applying for college or part time work. The Framework is used as a toll in 1:1 conversations to explore and develop young people’s career management skills, allowing them to identify their own skills and how this fits into the world of work.

In addition, MCR pathways co-ordinator uses the Framework to support her work with care-experienced young people. Young people are encouraged to develop their skills from the Framework and five S3-S6 young people are MCR Pathways Young Ambassadors.

S1-S3 YP are given opportunities to visit universities, S3-S4 can participate in a wide range of Talent Tasters that range from Construction, Hair Beauty, Factory Working, Law, Architect, Police, Nurse, Primary Teaching & Engineering. They use the Framework to reflect on skills developed. These individualised university visits, Talent Tasters and our flexible work experience opportunities have ensured that our young people are making informed choices about developing their skills to suit their future careers.

The totality of this work means that young people are therefore more able to sustain a positive destinations.

SDS Event: ‘Ensuring Foundation Apprenticeships are at the heart of the curriculum’ – catch up

A thought-provoking event on the further expansion of Foundation Apprenticeships across the country has taken place in August with a number of inspirational presentation s by gues speakers:

Presentation – Damien Yeates
Presentation – Tony McDaid
Presentation – Diane Greenlees
Presentation – Philip Black
Fife case study
South Lanarkshire case study
East Renfrewshire case study
Glasgow case study
Perth and Kinross case study

If you would like a colleague from Skills Development Scotland to get in touch regarding Foundation Apprenticeships, contact SDS at conference@sds.co.uk .

Introductory Dyslexia Module

Members of the Specific Learning Difficulties Network along with colleagues from Education Scotland, Dyslexia Scotland and the CLD Standards Council have recently developed a free online learning opportunity to increase awareness of dyslexia in CLD practice. This module will launch in July 2018 on the Open University website. The module will be available to anyone within a CLD role wishing to undertake professional learning around the issue of dyslexia and will incorporate links to current practice based on practitioners experience, teaching strategies and resources. For further information please contact Lindsay MacDonald.

Parkhill Secondary School: Preparing flexible learning pathways for young people with additional needs

Parkhill Secondary School in Glasgow has developed an exciting and innovative approach to preparing young people with additional support needs for the world of work.  In partnership with colleges and employers the school has established their own Enterprise Academy that provides pupils with  work-based learning opportunities and industry relevant qualifications.

Access the outline of the programme here:

The following film clips outline the format, experiences and impact of the Academy programme :

The school has used the Career Education Standard to reflect on the progress made in delivering against the expectations set out within the standard:

 

 

 

ILF Scotland Transition Fund Now Open!

ILF Scotland has now opened the Transition Fund! The Fund will initially support those aged between 16 and 21, who are at an important transitional stage in their lives.

The Fund will provide short term grants (with £5 million of funding available per year) to young disabled people, providing them with opportunities that facilitate their participation and inclusion within their communities, creating a lasting impact on their lives.

 

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said:

“We want everyone in society to have the same quality of life, and providing support to disabled people is one of the areas we have worked on. This Transition Fund will support young disabled people to take up opportunities to contribute to and participate in their communities, to help them live as independently as possible.

“We have worked directly with disabled people to develop this fund and to ensure that we give people choices and treat them with the fairness, dignity and respect they deserve. I would encourage all those who are eligible to apply for funding to do so now.”

 

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said:

“I’m delighted this fund is now open for application. Our Disability Action Plan lists a number of actions to transform the lives of disabled people in Scotland and that includes actions setting out to tackle the inequalities and barriers faced by disabled young people, including tackling social isolation, employment opportunities and improving lives at points of transition.”

Young disabled people will be able to apply to the Transition Fund for a grant to enable them to participate in activities in their communities they have never had the opportunity to before, such as joining a club or a class.

Ryan Cuzen, an individual looking to apply to the Transition Fund, said:

“I see this fund as a positive step forward and a gate opener for young disabled folk in transition to improve their lifestyle and to get out and about.

“I want to be able to try new adult orientated activities, like mixed martial arts, and applying to the Transition Fund would give me the chance to do this.

“The hope is that the fund will give young disabled people, including myself, more confidence and help to develop community social skills.”

Peter Scott, CEO of ILF Scotland, remarked:

“We are thrilled that our Transition Fund is now open, providing a real opportunity for young disabled people to break down social barriers, and to fully participate in their communities, enhancing their independence.

“Disabled people, their organisations and their carers have been at the heart of developing this fund and its implementation. We will continue to work closely with them to maximise positive outcomes and the impact of the Transition Fund for young disabled people.”

To find out more information about the Transition Fund, the full eligibility criteria and how to apply, please go to the Transition Fund section of our website here.

Sleep in the Park: 1000 Free School Tickets!

This year Social Bite are bringing together 9,000 people in Princes Street Gardens, on the 9th of December, for the world’s largest ever Sleep-Out to try and end homelessness in Scotland for good. Participants will be joined by some of the world’s biggest artists to sleep in the cold for one night.
We have invited some amazing musicians to “busk” stripped back acoustics sets including Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald and Frightened Rabbit. We also have Rob Brydon hosting the event, Sir Bob Geldof sleeping out and John Cleese has agreed to come and read a bedtime story!

The website is: https://www.sleepinthepark.co.uk/
You can see a little video about the event here:

 Sleep In The Park Launch Video.mp4

Please note:  This allocation is for young people 16 and over and they must be accompanied by an adult.

Opportunity for Your School

Ordinarily, in order to participate in the event people have to pay an initial donation of £50 and commit to raise at least £50 more. However, we have had a wealthy individual donate £50,000 to fund the participation of 1,000 School kids (aged 16 and over).

Therefore I am writing to see if you would like to take an allocation of free tickets for children over 16 at your school. The group would need to commit to raising a minimum of £50 or more per person in order to take part, but would not have to pay any initial £50 registration fee as this has been entirely funded. They would also have to be accompanied to the event by a teacher(s).

We are giving the school ticket allocations out on a first come first served basis and we expect the demand to be high and the 1,000 available to be taken quickly. Therefore could you let me know if you would like an allocation of tickets? If so please let me know the number of tickets you would like for your school?

Josh Littlejohn MBE

Social Bite

Co-Founder

t: 0131 220 8206

 

Equality & Inclusion: Good practice exemplars

The following four good practice exemplars have been published on the National Improvement Hub to highlight initiatives that help learners requiring additional support to develop skills and find employment.

Exemplar 1: Enable Scotland’s ‘Stepping Up’ programme

This innovative employability programme offers comprehensive support for young people aged 14 to 19 who have learning disabilities which takes participants from an initial investigation of the world of work, through a process of discovery and planning for their future, to engagement with employers in real workplace settings. Find out more here.

Exemplar 2: ‘Thinking Digitally’ – a new resource

This credit rate module by Lead Scotland allows candidates to develop relevant digital skills and build confidence operating in online environments.  More on this here.

Exemplar 3:  ‘TOPs’ – training opportunities for young parents

This programme run by Rathbone Training, a UK-wide voluntary youth sector organisation which supports young people aged 16 to 24 who have disengaged from society, aims to help young parents in their personal development. More here.

Exemplar 4: ‘Community Action and Leadership Award

This is a course created by the charity Lead Scotland so that more people can learn how to influence change and make a difference within their communities. More information here.

A different perspective

By Cat Thomson, Senior Development Officer, Enquire

The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are aged between 12 and 18 and represent 22 of the 32 local authorities in Scotland. The group aims to:

  • Share young people’s views and experiences of inclusion;
  • Raise awareness of Additional Support for Learning with other pupils to reduce stigma and improve understanding;
  • Improve school staffs understanding of inclusion;
  • Work together to develop ways to develop and support inclusive education.

They are supported by Education Scotland, Enquire [the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning] and individual local authority staff.

In June, the young people took their messages about inclusion to the Scottish Cabinet.

“We want to be seen as individuals with our own set of unique strengths and skills.”

These are impressive words from Alistair, one of the Young Ambassadors for Inclusion who met Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, John Swinney in June to share their views on inclusion and support in school.

During the meeting, 11 members of the group shared findings from their work. They were keen to raise issues they think it is important for policymakers, local authority staff, school leaders, teachers and support staff to hear and reflect on when making decisions about support for pupils with additional support for learning.

One of the first questions the Ambassadors considered was what inclusion means to them. Their comments make for interesting reading. Many of the young people saw inclusion as a positive thing making pupils feeling safe, accepted, and treated equally. Common messages were “everybody [should be] included in education regardless of need”, “being able to work together with a range of people”, “everybody involved, nobody left out” and “not being defined by any difficulties you have”.

A small number of Ambassadors talked about inclusion adding additional pressure to young people but the universal message was how incredibly important it is to young people to feel listened to, understood and supported. Comments included: “It’s good when we are listened to and asked what we need”, and “When staff have an understanding of different additional support needs and can understand certain behaviour it helps them understand why young people may act in a particular way.”

What works less well is when pupils feel excluded or unsupported: “Many class teachers and other staff do not have awareness of additional support needs, what that means for us and how to support in the classroom”, and “Pupils need access to all areas of the school and curriculum.”

A number of pupils wanted to encourage schools to give pupils with additional support needs the same opportunities as other pupils and not to make assumptions about their abilities, highlighting that sometimes trying something and not succeeding is better than not trying.

Key themes

Some of the themes they identified from their work included: raising awareness, friendship and belonging, positive attitude and support.

Raising Awareness

“Whole school awareness of ASN can support much better understanding and reduce stigma and isolation”

“Taking opportunities to share that people are different and you should not make fun of them.”

Ambassadors recommended that all teachers should have training on inclusion and the different types of additional support for learning pupils may have and how this might affect them in school.

They felt more could be done in primary school to raise awareness of additional support for learning and called for zero tolerance of bullying of pupils with additional support needs.

They suggested holding pupil conferences, taking part in national awareness weeks, putting on school assemblies led by pupils, or developing awareness raising days about specific issues such as mental health or LGBT.

Friendship and belonging

“I didn’t really feel part of mainstream school.”

Ambassadors called for schools to help young people feel more confident, build friendships and feel included. Schools should provide opportunities to take part in activities with peers.

Positive Attitudes

“Don’t segregate pupils with needs.”

“It helps to be patient.”

As one Inclusion Ambassador said to John Swinney: “We need to create positive stories about pupils with additional support need rather than focus on the negatives.”

Ambassadors felt schools should focus on raising awareness of the range of reasons a pupil may need support and how this might make a pupil feel in school, while also encouraging a more positive view of additional support needs.

“Supportive teachers in mainstream are crucial”

“Teachers need qualifications to work with pupils with additional support needs and medical needs.”

“Staff off and no replacement really affects learning”

Making it easy for pupils to ask for help and offer the right support

Sharing information about how pupils can ask for help and having supportive and empathetic teachers who can support pupil’s emotional issues was highlighted as helpful to encourage young people to ask for help when they need it.

Ambassadors stressed the importance of schools listening to pupils about the type of support they wanted in school. They also highlighted the impact of crucial support not being available to help them get the most out of school, with many reporting support had been reduced due to budget cuts. Others shared experiences of inconsistent staffing, and highlighted the impact this had on their learning and school experience.

Ambassadors encouraged schools to have a range of options for collected pupils views, including focus groups and questionnaires.

What next?

The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are planning to create a pledge that schools can use to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion. They will also be involved in developing a support pack for schools, including a short film to raise awareness of inclusion, the range of additional support needs and the impact on pupils and their families.

This article also appears in August’s Children in Scotland magazine.

www.enquire.org.uk @ASLadvice