Category Archives: Supporting Learners

The Scottish Attainment Challenge within overall school improvement

By Graeme Logan, Strategic Director, Education Scotland

We have a once in a career opportunity to make a significant breakthrough for children living in poverty in Scotland through the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC). The areas for improvement highlighted in our recent report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (QuISE) report are all very relevant to our national mission to close the poverty-related attainment gap and to strive for excellence and equity for every child in Scotland.

SAC, including the Pupil Equity Fund (PEF), gives us the additional resources to transform children’s progress and attainment. I know that many headteachers I speak to are excited about the possibilities. They are also keen to make sure we make the best use of these resources.

At Education Scotland we aim to provide you with the best possible advice on what works. In addition to the inspection evidence in QuISE, our advice includes access to a Scottish version of the Education Endowment Foundation’s Learning and Teaching Toolkit, and also our own Interventions for Equity, which shares a range of interesting examples and approaches from Scottish schools which have been involved with the SAC programmes.

Other significant changes we have introduced this year will also help. These include clarity on the model of assessment for the broad general education, which is teacher judgement of children’s achievement of Curriculum for Excellence levels, informed by a range of evidence and high quality moderation.  This demonstrates the value and trust placed in our teachers to make overall judgements about children’s progress. In doing this, teachers helped us to create the new Benchmarks for literacy and numeracy, which clarify the national standard for the achievement of each level.

We are taking a broad definition of the attainment gap and are not just considering statistics on overall attainment in isolation. If we are to achieve the vision of Curriculum for Excellence we need to think about achievement in a range of areas too. Earlier this year I spoke to around 2,000 headteachers from every part of the country in a series of events. We encouraged them to think about the attainment gap in the context of five key areas:

  • Attendance
  • Attainment
  • Exclusion
  • Engagement
  • Participation

The first three may seem more obvious and in some respects easier to measure. However, engagement and participation are equally as important for children’s progress and development. Some schools have started to track all five areas, for example, observing the extent of children’s active engagement in learning through use of tools such as the Leuven Scale of Engagement.  They have also started to track the extent to which children participate in the school’s wider curriculum and wider offer.

Schools will not be able to make the breakthrough we want to see for children living in poverty on their own. Many third sector and partner organisations are making a major contribution to improving children’s progress and engagement, and there are examples on the National Improvement Hub; type ‘Scottish Attainment Challenge’ into the search box to see all our resources.

One of the most important partnerships is that with families and communities. In the first year of the Challenge this was the area in which we saw least activity, and we’re actively looking at how we can change that. Our Review of Family Learning provides a good evidence base and recommendations for ways in which family learning can be developed within communities.

With inspection looking at attainment (QI 3.2) from August, including how schools are using PEF to close the gap, now is a good time to self-evaluate your approach to attainment. We will be particularly interested in the rationale and initial decision making for the use of PEF, as we believe that this will be key to ensuring that the most effective interventions are selected for each individual school and community context.

Online collaboration is also a key feature of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. Our Yammer group on Glow for headteachers has over 1,000 members! The largest ever online collaboration between Scottish headteachers. My keynote presentation from the pupil equity conferences is available on the Yammer group. Further key materials will be shared through the Yammer group too. I am currently preparing a keynote presentation for our September Curriculum for Excellence conferences for headteachers. During this presentation I will discuss ways in which curriculum flexibility and curriculum design can be used to close the gap. I will also share the most effective approaches attainment advisors have shared and also draw on the key strengths from schools where HM Inspectors have evaluated the new QI on raising attainment and achievement.

Closing the poverty-related attainment gap is a national endeavour and something which many teachers feel passionate about. For many the main reason they entered the profession was to make the biggest difference to children’s chances in life, particularly those who live in poverty. Reflecting on QuISE’s five priorities for improvement, as well as the specific focuses of SAC, will help ensure the success of our drive to remove the pattern between lower attainment and living in poverty.

QuISE’s five improvement priorities are an excellent place to start.

DYW Interesting Practice – Sanderson High School: Tailored learning pathways to meet the needs of all

The whole school approach to DYW offers learners at Sanderson High School in South Lanarkshire a wide variety of career related and work-based learning opportunities that aims to inspire the exploration of future pathways.  The learning experiences within and beyond the curriculum not only provide learners with a significantly enhanced skills portfolio, tracked and referenced through profiling, but also ensure meaningful connections with the world of work and accreditation in the senior phase. As part of this approach the school created the subject ‘Education for Work’ which now forms part of the core curriculum at all levels. 

The school has also developed a Position Statement which states that “all young people will learn about the world of work; and where appropriate all young people will participate in suitable work experience; and all young people will have a clearly defined and individualised pathway from S1-S6, resulting in sustainable, meaningful post-school destinations.”

Staff use the entitlements from Career Education Standard 3-18 (CES) to ensure these aims are put into practice and audit the skills the young people are developing. For example, staff in each subject area match their curriculum and teaching and learning approaches to the relevant entitlements from the CES and the appropriate skills . The school has a good range of work placements for young people in the senior phase, which provides them with an excellent experience of the world of work and which links well to the curriculum.

There is also a close partnership with Calderglen High School on the implementation of DYW with learners taking up  volunteering opportunities at Sanderson HS.   Video clip: Volunteering at Sanderson HS

Find out more about the schools DYW approach by accessing the Interesting Practice in Skills DYW – Sanderson High School summary information.

Improving assessment measures in primary schools

By Sadie Cushley, HM Inspector and Lead Officer for primary inspection

It’s been an interesting and rewarding process to review our primary inspection findings for the recent report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (QuISE). In addition to that four year view, this year we have continued to observe improving practice, and this blog is a good opportunity to share some of that with you.

You can read the primary chapter from QuISE on our website. In primary schools, inspectors found that staff generally used a good range of learning and teaching approaches which enabled children to be more actively involved in their learning. Schools have taken many positive steps to develop and improve the curriculum and should build on this to meet the needs of all children.

Our evidence shows that schools now need to put in place better arrangements for assessing and tracking children’s progress, including having a shared understanding of standards within Curriculum for Excellence levels. As a priority, they should identify and address any gaps in attainment and achievement between their least and most disadvantaged children.

Our inspections continue to show that staff are working hard in most of the schools inspected to ensure that children are actively involved in their learning. Increasingly we see children less passive in their learning due to efforts made by staff to encourage children to think. A common misconception is that if children are moving around they are active in their learning.  Our strongest schools ensure children are thinking and learning during activities.

Often on inspections we can observe really strong practice in an aspect of learning in one class but not in another. It is important that staff visit other classes regularly to learn from their colleagues. A particular strength we observed in one school was where, as part of the moderation at a cluster level, staff at the same stage across the cluster planned a series of lessons to ensure consistency in standards. In addition, they observed these lessons being taught in classes providing feedback on the quality of learning and teaching. In doing this not only did they share expected standards but they achieved more consistent high quality learning and teaching.

This academic year there has been a noticeable improvement in the number of schools who now have a system to track children’s progress more effectively. In almost all schools inspected the headteacher and staff now have an overview of children’s attainment. Where this works best staff all have a clearly understood approach to assessment within their classes which is robust and informs their professional judgement.

In the strongest schools this is articulated in an assessment framework to ensure staff are clear of expectations. We have had several strong approaches to assessment in some of our inspections where staff plan assessment as they are planning their learning and teaching. Assessment is then part of the on-going work, it is less bureaucratic and there is a balance between the use of summative and formative assessment to inform staff of children’s progress.

Already we are seeing schools making good use of the benchmarks to assess children’s progress and make judgements about achieving the level. Since August we have noted some strong practice where staff and the senior management team  meet regularly to discuss the attainment of individuals and cohorts of children. In doing this, interventions are planned to raise attainment or close the gap in attainment, and previous interventions are evaluated as to their effectiveness.

A few schools inspected, in addition to having an overarching view of children’s attainment, drill down to monitor and evaluate the attainment of specific groups. For example, they look at specific cohorts such as children with English as an additional language (EAL), children who are looked after and accommodated (LAC) and children living in SIMD 1&2. This is particularly important in planning interventions to ensure the impact of pupil equity funding.

It is good to see these initiatives being implemented, and I look forward to seeing their impact on the outcomes of our primary pupils.

Erasmus+ Act for Careers Conference, 15th June 2017

We would like to invite you to attend the Glasgow City Council Education Services Erasmus+ Act for Careers Conference on Thursday June 15th  2017, 09.30 – 16.00 at, The Prince’s Trust Wolfson Centre.

Programme Erasmus+ Conference Glasgow

Glasgow City Council and the City of Nuremberg have been collaborating since 2014 under the Erasmus+ European education programme to improving support for young people’s employability skills in their transition from school to work.  The project entitled ‘Act for Careers’ has involved, schools, colleges, employment support teams and businesses to examine and learn from best practice in this field to inform and enhance local/national policy and practice at key transition points in young people’s development of their employability skills.  On March 9th 2017, City of Nuremberg delivered a conference on their findings and collaboration with the City of Glasgow. 

The conference will offer a range of workshops and plenary sessions on learning about the German education system, the benefits of:  international engagement; funded European job shadowing opportunities; enhanced practice on employability skills from school to work and on supporting young people from a refugee background into employment.  Speakers will include the Depute Mayor of Nuremberg, Executive Director of Education Glasgow City Council and project participants from both Glasgow and Nuremberg, including young people from Lochend Community High School.

Registration: Please complete the Erasmus+ ACT Registration Form and return it to by Friday 12th May to: UnitHeadEAL@gdss.glasgow.sch.uk  

 

Confident collaboration for improvement – the legacy of QuISE?

by Dr Bill Maxwell, HM Chief Inspector of Education

The publication of our report on Quality and improvement in Scottish education (QuISE), ranging back over the period 2012 to 2016, has been a great opportunity to take a step back from more immediate short-term concerns and take a ‘bigger picture’ view of what has been achieved over a period of major reform which has touched every area of Scottish education.

Having launched the report, I would now encourage each education setting to read their dedicated chapter and consider it in their self-evaluation.

Of course there is already good evidence around that, as result of the professionalism and expertise of staff and of course the efforts of learners themselves, outcomes have improved over that stretch of time. National Qualification outcomes have steadily improved and the proportion of young people entering a positive destination post-school now sits at a record high. Although there is still a long way to go, we have also seen evidence of progress in beginning to close the attainment gap between pupils from the most and the least disadvantaged backgrounds.

Equally, of course, not all in the statistical garden in rosy. We have also seen some unwelcome indications that we should be concerned about the pace of progress in literacy and numeracy through the broad general education, for example, and we saw a disappointing set of PISA results for 2015.

The QuISE report, offers a distinctly different, but complementary, perspective from that which you can get by simply looking at the statistics. It provides an analysis based on first-hand observation and evaluation of the quality what is actually happening in playrooms, classrooms, lecture rooms and other educational settings throughout the country. It summarises observation and evaluation undertaken by expert professionals, HM inspectors and indeed many other associates and lay members from education sectors across the country who join our inspection teams contributing a valuable additional perspective.

Our analysis of what has emerged from that more qualitative evidence base over the last four years has led us to conclude that there are some very positive and growing strengths in the provision and practice within Scottish education. These are strengths that align directly with the ambitions of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and other related reforms.

We are seeing improvement in the quality of learning experiences, with the result that young people are increasingly well motivated, engaged and actively involved in their learning. We are seeing schools and other education settings becoming more inclusive, we are seeing a broader range of achievements being promoted and recognised, and we are seeing the impact of strong leadership, with a clear and sustained focus on raising the quality of the day-to-day learning and teaching that learners experience.

The report also sets out a set of five priority areas. This is where we believe targeted improvements in practice and provision would reap dividends in enabling us to make further progress towards meeting our collective national ambition of achieving excellence with equity for all Scottish learners. They include: exploiting more fully the flexibility of CfE; improving assessment and personal support; enhancing partnerships; strengthening approaches to self-evaluation and improvement; and growing a culture of collaborative enquiry. In all cases these go with the flow of current reforms and national strategies and in each case there are already examples of excellent practice in the system.

Taking a longer view of what has been achieved over the last few years, and thinking about where we go next, has also had quite a personal dimension for me, as I retire from the role of Chief Executive of Education Scotland this Summer. As I prepare to move on, I am convinced that the Scottish education system is well placed to make substantial progress across each of these key areas.

If I were to pick out a linking theme it would be about collective commitment across all partners in the education system to work together, to help each other, and indeed to constructively challenge each other, in ways which provide richer, more coherent, more personalised learning pathways capable of matching the needs of all our learners. Confident collaboration for improvement rather than competitive isolation should be the Scottish way, reflecting our deep national commitment to a strong education as a common public good.

Taking account of the themes in this report, and with the National Improvement Framework providing a new level of clarity and focus from national to local level, I am confident that we can rise to the challenge that the OECD left us with following their 2015 review: to make sure we achieve the potential of a progressive programme of national educational reform, by taking bold and specific action to fully realise its benefits. I hope the QuISE report helps inform discussion and debate in education settings of all types, across the whole country, about where that specific action is needed and how boldness can be ensured as it is pursued.

 

The CDN College Awards 2017: Call for Entries

We are seeking entries for this year’s CDN College Awards. The deadline date for entries is Friday 7 July 2017.  

Entries are invited in the following eight categories:

  • Developing a Regional Curriculum Award
  • Digital Education Award
  • Employer Connections Award
  • Essential Skills Award
  • Health Promoting College Award
  • Inclusive College Award
  • Innovative College Award
  • Student Citizenship Award

For further information and how to enter please visit online:   

www.cdn.ac.uk/cdn-college-awards-2017/ 

 The winners will be announced at a black tie awards dinner.

SCQF School Ambassador Programme

In 2015/16 the SCQF Partnership launched its School Ambassador programme with the aim of identifying and confirming SCQF Ambassadors in schools to raise awareness and understanding of the SCQF as well as promoting its use among learners, school staff and parents. A successful programme ensures the impact of the Framework is maximised, that it is perceived as a vital tool for progression and that the benefits of the Framework are being communicated to learners across all schools.

Six schools were initially approached, all of whom were extremely keen to take part. After training and as part of the package to schools, both plaques and badges were awarded to:

Margaret Ford Monifieth High School, Dundee
Laura McQueen Prestwick Academy, South Ayrshire
John MacPherson Oban High School, Argyll
Raymond Perry Braeview Academy, Dundee
Jane Cleghorn St. Mungo’s Academy, Falkirk
Sharon Watson St. Andrews Secondary School, Carntyne, Glasgow

In the latest phase of the programme the SCQF Partnership has developed a Memorandum of Understanding which makes it clear what is expected of participating schools and what support they will receive.

In summary the Partnership will:

  • Deliver an initial training session for participants;
  • Present trained ambassadors with an “SCQF School Ambassador” Certificate, Ambassadors badge and an Ambassadors Resource Pack containing exemplars of materials required to deliver on-site sessions;
  • Support Ambassadors by providing all the necessary resources to deliver training sessions in schools including lesson plans, case studies, presentations and associated materials;
  • Provide opportunities for schools to participate in real life SCQF projects;
  • Provide opportunities for staff and pupils of the school to be involved in events which showcase the different ways in which the SCQF can be used;
  • Provide opportunities to engage in SCQF related competitions; and
  • Provide opportunities for pupil work experience within the SCQFP office in Glasgow.

 

Schools signing up for the programme will:

  • Undertake the initial training at the SCQFP office in Glasgow or an appropriate regional venue;
  • Cascade this training to other staff members and appropriate school pupils;
  • Ensure SCQF is highlighted on the school’s website and has a prominent place at Parents’ Evenings/events;
  • Engage with SCQFP via social media;
  • Ensure SCQF leaflets/newsletters/promotional materials are endorsed at school events;
  • Utilise SCQFfold, the SCQF online toolkit;
  • Promote short training sessions on the SCQF delivered by staff for parents; and
  • Promote short training sessions on the SCQF delivered by senior phase pupils for younger pupils and for parents.

 

Benefits for participating schools include:

  • A ceremony at school to award a plaque. This can raise awareness and act as a good promotional activity for the school;
  • A heightened profile for the school and acknowledgement of sharing good practice;
  • Opportunities for staff development through training for nominated Ambassadors;
  • A set of dedicated resources to allow ambassadors to deliver in-house events;
  • The opportunity to participate in real life projects such as developing web pages and toolkits for the SCQF website, designing promotional materials and taking part in school competitions which will further promote the Framework;
  • A better awareness of how to use the SCQF for pupils to plan their learning journey and make decisions about future learning;
  • An increase in confidence and self-esteem for pupils involved in the programme.

Schools have shown great interest in the programme and we are currently planning training events with Bearsden Academy, Greenwood Academy, Greenfaulds High School, St Joseph’s College and Cardinal Newman High School. We are keen to explore opportunities across Scotland.

Sign up for our SCQF Ambassador training workshop taking place in our Glasgow office on Tuesday 7th March 10.00 – 12.00. If you are interested in finding out more about the programme please contact:

Brian Keegan at b.keegan@scqf.org.uk or phone 0141 225 2926

My world of work: What career options are available with a qualification in Gàidhlig, Gaelic (Learners) and Gaelic Medium Education?

My World of Work offers career information, advice and resources to help children and young people learning Gaelic and in GME make informed choices about their future.     It enables children and young people to choose school subjects based on labour market information and career pathways. Find out more.

For information on teaching Gaelic, or through the medium of Gaelic, please visit Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s website

 

 

Govan High School Marks £2 Million Milestone For Youth & Philanthropy Initiative Scotland

yipThe Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) in Scotland has announced that a total of £2 million has now been awarded to local grassroots charities since the programme was first introduced in Scotland by The Wood Foundation in 2008. This year alone a total of 210 Scottish secondary schools will participate in YPI, actively engaging over 26,500 students in a hands on experience of social action and philanthropy.  The latest £3000 grant will be awarded at Govan High School’s YPI Final on Friday 18th November, marking a significant milestone for the YPI programme.

Commenting on Govan High School’s YPI Final and hitting the £2 million milestone, Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation said, “YPI is by far The Wood Foundation’s most successful philanthropic initiative in Scotland.  Beyond the grants YPI has awarded to local charities, the programme most significantly impacts upon young people, not only providing a valuable experience of philanthropy but also nurturing critical employability and enterprise skill development.  We are proud that today’s YPI celebration event at Govan High School marks a total of £2 million invested in local communities across Scotland through the programme.  This is a remarkable milestone, made possible through the dedication of our participating schools and charities, the support of our programme funding partners, and the enthusiasm of all participating students.”

Govan High School has now participated in YPI Scotland for two yip-govan-hsyears, delivering the programme across their full S2 cohort as part of the school’s Wider Achievement Programme. Through YPI, Govan High School students are encouraged to draw upon their strengths and learning from across the school, and look beyond the classroom in order to link closely with the wider school community.  Teachers at Govan High have noted a massive impact on their learners through the development of vital skills including research, communication and team work, and students have also demonstrated real commitment to the programme, with many dedicating their own time to visit local charities, as they address local social issues.

Nancy Belford, Head Teacher of Govan High School, commented, “As a school we strive to create a caring, inclusive and happy learning community and the whole ethos behind the YPI Programme helps to enhance this vision. YPI encourages our young people to care about their community through identifying a social issue that is important to them; it builds links between people and organisations in the wider community as students explore and visit charities; and it helps to promote inclusion as our young people come to understand what is happening on their own doorstep and what it is they can do to help some of the most vulnerable groups within the local community.”

The YPI programme is now delivered across 31 local authority areas throughout Scotland and over half of all secondary schools in the Glasgow City area are now actively involved in the programme.

Maureen McKenna, Director of Education at Glasgow City Council and guest judge at Govan High School’s YPI Final stated, “YPI is proving to be a highly effective framework through which students can broker and establish meaningful partnerships across their school community, develop essential skills for learning, life & work, and directly support local people & groups most in need.  This in itself encapsulates what Curriculum for Excellence is all about.  I am very proud of the involvement of schools in our area and that Govan High School’s 2016 YPI Final also recognises a total of £2 million invested in local Scottish charities through YPI.”

1000 Girls – 1000 Futures!

1000-futuresThe New York Academy of Sciences is inviting girls aged 13 – 19 years to participate in an exciting initiative called the 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures programme with the Global STEM Alliance! Fourteen Scottish girls participated in the pilot programme last year with two girls being invited to represent Scotland at the concluding event in New York. Visit this blog to see how one girl benefitted: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/STEMcentralinmotion/2016/08/24/girls-into-stem-new-york-style/

Girls participating in the program are matched with a specially-selected STEM mentor and given access to a virtual platform hosting immersive content that will help them develop their 21st century skills – leadership, communication, and critical thinking. In addition, mentees can also take advantage of the college and university readiness module, live online engagements and webinars with inspirational guest speakers, a global, female community, and relevant, important discussions surrounding different STEM topics.

If you know of any girls interested in STEM who would be willing to commit to the programme then please encourage them to apply via the following link: http://www.1000girls1000futures.org/

Please note that the deadline for applications is Friday 7th October.

If you are interested in finding out more about how you can promote gender in STEM then please see Education Scotland’s research briefing at: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/stemcentral/gender/index.asp