Category Archives: Uncategorised

Celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Scottish Attainment Challenge – A blog from our Chief Executive

It is incredible to me that it has now been five years since the Scottish Attainment Challenge launched. Those five years may have passed quickly but in that time, I have seen so much excellent work taking place across the country with the aim of closing the attainment gap.

The Challenge proactively aims to ensure that every child has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of their background and circumstances – and many schools have taken a really inventive approach in helping to make this important vision a reality.

I am very impressed by the variety of actions being undertaken by schools across the country to help increase attainment. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to tackling this as sometimes what works for the many will not make a difference for our most vulnerable children.

Many schools are focusing on increasing attainment by considering what happens outside of the school gates by involving parents, developing home-school links, and increasing community support through outreach projects. For example, I was delighted to learn about the work being undertaken at Wallace High School through the Scottish Attainment Challenge to recruit Family Link Workers which support young people and their family, and help them to overcome barriers preventing them from attending school.

Whilst it is fantastic to see this kind of work coming forward, the 5th anniversary provides a useful opportunity to reflect on progress made but also what we need to do next.
We want to accelerate progress, evaluate what has worked well and how we can best drive forward further improvements to narrow the poverty related attainment gap. We want to see even more success stories across the country.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the Attainment Advisors from Education Scotland who have been working in schools across Scotland to support the delivery of the Scottish Attainment Challenge since its launch five years ago. They play a strong role in linking the work of Education Scotland, Scottish Government and Local Authorities to improve educational attainment and to reduce the attainment gap between children from the least and most socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Reducing the attainment gap is not possible without the many hardworking and dedicated teachers and classroom assistants across Scotland, and I also want to acknowledge and thank them for their efforts in helping to tackle this. I was very interested to learn about the partnership work being undertaken in Renfrewshire through the Challenge to devise and deliver a comprehensive professional learning programme for classroom assistants. This is incredible work and underlines the significant contribution our classroom assistants make to increasing attainment.

We now need to continue to focus on pedagogy, engagement and on developing an irresistible curriculum for our children. There are many children who are not yet where they need to be in terms of attainment but through taking a targeted approach to their lessons, and considering where the gaps in their learning are, teachers are helping these children to become more confident and ensuring they maximise their potential.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and research suggests that educational change can be a marathon rather than a sprint, but I am very encouraged by the strong steps forward which have been made since the launch of the Scottish Attainment Challenge five years ago. With the continued commitment and focus of all key players in the educational system I believe that together we can achieve equity for every child.

Gayle Gorman

Developing the Young Workforce – Early Learning & Childcare and Primary Focus

In order to support the implementation of DYW at early learning & childcare and primary school level Education Scotland DYW team are bringing  together teachers, practitioners and DYW leads with experience and interest in this area to participate in workshops. There are three workshops planned in early 2020.

The aims of the workshops are to:

• share current practice and experiences;
• scope requirements to enhance DYW implementation in this area;
• develop support for teachers and practitioners.

We had our first event at the Wolfson Centre in Glasgow in January, over 60 participants collaborated and developed some inspiring ideas to drive DYW in the Early Years and primary sectors.

 

The importance of empowered learners


I have for a long time been an advocate for children’s rights, and embedding rights-based approaches into all services that are involved with children and young people. Learner empowerment is a very important aspect of this, and I strongly believe that we cannot have effective systems for learners if we don’t seek their views and opinions, and act upon these.

Research clearly shows that when learners are involved in making decisions about their learning, schools and communities that there is an improved culture and ethos and raised attainment and achievement. Being involved in decision making also provides children and young people with important skills that will help them to become confident learners, responsible citizens, effective contributors and successful learners.

Those are the very same capacities that Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence sets out to achieve by putting learners at the heart of education. It really highlights the value of empowering learners and the impact it can have on shaping the people they become.

As someone who is passionate about children’s rights, I welcomed the chance to work with children and young people to develop new guidance that sets out clear principles and a rationale for empowering learners. I met with children and young people from primary, secondary and Additional Support Needs (ASN) backgrounds to shape this new guidance which will remain in draft over this academic year to allow even more people to help shape this valuable resource.

Many schools and other education settings have planned systems to ensure that learners are fully involved in making decisions, and are able to lead and contribute to school improvement. I met learners who are regularly asked about their experiences of their learning and what is working well or could be improved. And many practitioners are open and transparent with children and young people, and value and act upon their views and opinions.

It is wonderful that so much focus is already being placed on learner empowerment across Scotland and as one (empowered) Primary Six pupil said to me “kids know what schools should be like for kids”. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Maxine Jolly, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland

New guidance published to support empowerment

New guidance has been published as drafts which aims to support an empowered education system in working together to improve outcomes for children and young people.

The range of draft guidance has been developed in partnership with those working in our education system through the School Empowerment Steering Group.

Each tailored guide sets out what empowerment should look like in practice for eight key partners in an empowered system, including school leaders, teachers and practitioners, support staff and parents and carers.

Gayle Gorman, HM Chief Inspector of Education and Chair of the Steering Group said: “Evidence shows that successful education systems are those where decisions about the education of children are made as close to them as possible so it is important that educators feel empowered to make those decisions.

“It is also important that everyone involved in the education of our children works together and shares their knowledge for the shared aim of achieving the best educational outcomes for our children and young people.

“Over the coming academic year, we would encourage those working in education across Scotland to refer to these new guides which clearly set out what an empowered system looks like in practice and feel confident to make the decisions that will have a positive impact on the attainment of our young people.”

Feedback will be gathered over academic year 2019/20 before final versions are developed by June 2020.

For further information and to view the guides, visit https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/an-empowered-system

New Professional Learning Communities Hub Launched

Visitors can now access all areas of the curriculum from one place and enjoy new features in the new Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Hub.

The PLC Hub is the main home page for all PLCs, latest PLC news, high level documents and an easy place to access the National Educator Yammer feed.

The new and improved hub supports collaborative learning between educators by hosting National documentation, providing latest information and events so you can keep up to date with the latest work happening across schools in Scotland.

The refreshed site has standardised navigation which makes it easier for the user to explore various sites at one time. This means, for example, accessing key documents on the same page and easily retuning to the home page to access another area without having lots of tabs open.

The new look PLC Hub has several additional features to benefit learning and teaching:

Launchpad

We have added a PLC tile to the Launchpad on RM unify. This means you can access the site with just one click.

News Feed

This brand new feature will keep you up to date, pulling in news from each area of the Professional Learning Communities.

Highlighted Content

Education Scotland have created a new infographic outlining what a PLC is and how the space can be used effectively. Glow Community rules are also easy to access on the PLC Hub page.

National Educator Yammer Feed

View latest posts or ask questions via the National Educator Yammer feed which is embedded on the PLC Hub page.

Library

We’re excited to bring you our first PLC for school library staff in Scotland. You’ll find links to the most up-to-date documents and national programmes as well as professional learning resources. You can expect to see some exciting things happening in our libraries like: 3D printing, Robotics and Programming.

Curriculum areas

As part of the refresh we have reviewed and updated content. Everything you see is the most up to date and relevant information and guidance. The curriculum PLCs and non-curriculum PLCs will continue to evolve over time and will continue to move to the new, modern version of SharePoint.

Colour Coordinated

We understand you might want to access several areas at a time. Each new curriculum PLC has a picture of the CfE Experiences and Outcomes and a colour coordinated home button so users can see clearly which area of the curriculum they are exploring.

Continuously Evolving

All of the content in the Professional Learning Communities is shaped by experts at Education Scotland and goes through a rigorous quality assurance process on a regular basis. This means you can ensure everything you see is the most up to date and relevant information all developed by the national improvement agency for Education in Scotland.

Visit the Professional Learning Communities Hub today

 

Adult Learning Strategic Forum Scotland (ALSFS) update

Community Learning and Development Policy transferred from Education Scotland to the Scottish Government in September 2018. Prior to this transfer, the Strategic Forum for Adult Learning, supported by Scottish Government and Education Scotland had been tasked to “develop a national framework for adult learning that outlines the key priorities in delivering adult learning in Scotland”. As a result, the forum developed the Adult Learning Statement of Ambition.

 The Scottish Government is committed to supporting and developing adult learning.  With this in mind, the new CLD Policy Team has worked with the adult learning sector to refresh this forum to create the Adult Learning Strategic Forum Scotland [ALSFS]. The forum’s revised membership and terms of reference were approved in April 2019. The ALSFS is anticipated to operate until 2023.

 The ALSFS will provide strategic advice to the Scottish Government in support of adult learning policy and in particular on matters of direction, performance and planning. Their current focus is to build on the Statement of Ambition and develop a new Adult Learning Strategy for Scotland to be launched sometime in the spring of 2020.  At the Adult Learning Conference at Newbattle Abbey College on 22nd May, the Minister for Further Education Higher Education and Science: Richard Lochhead, announced that the ALSFS would be chaired by the former principal of West Lothian College Mhairi Harrington.

 The ALSFS will continue to consult across the adult learning sector and more widely with other areas of the education and skills system and significant organisations in the public private and third sectors. The Adult Learning Conference in May provided an opportunity for both discussion groups and workshops on the priorities for adult learning and what should this new adult learning strategy aim to deliver for the people of Scotland. The Minister made it clear in his speech that this strategy must be about more than ambition and characterised by delivery and action

 While consultation is and will be essential, the ALSFS has recognised the sense of urgency in the development of the strategy and that clear direction and focus is also needed. To that end it has tasked several members of the ALSFS to form a working group to take the strategy forward. The members of the working group are:-

 Ray McCowan – Workers Educational Association                       

Jackie Howie – Learning Link Scotland

Emma Whitelock – LEAD Scotland

James King – Scottish Prison Service

Jane Logue – CLD Managers Scotland

Wendy Burton – Scottish Union Learning

Sandra Grieve – Newbattle Abbey College

Bonnie Slade – University of Glasgow

Nicola McAndrew – Scottish Government

Elisha Fisher – Scottish Government

Lindsay MacDonald – Education Scotland

 The group met the day after the Adult Learning Conference and have agreed to meet once a month until the strategy is delivered in the Spring of 2020. Work has begun on a survey aimed at ensuring that learners are fully involved in the consultation process and will have a significant say in the strategy’s development. At the same time they are building on the large amount of work already undertaken to develop the key themes of the strategy.  They are considering how they can promote an intensive week of consultation across the country in the early autumn to get some focus on the development of the strategy. The aim is to deliver the first draft of the strategy and to circulate this out for extended consultation by late autumn 2019.

 The intention is to keep stakeholders across the sector fully informed on how the work of the ALSFS is progressing. This will be achieved through regular updates to the sector following on from each monthly meeting of the ALSFS.

 

Regional Working and the CLD Team

Education Scotland has now moved to a regional delivery model and will support improvement and capacity building at local, regional and national level. CLD members are now part of Regional Teams. Each Regional team is headed up by a Senior Regional Advisor. There are six teams based on the geographies of the six Regional Collaboratives. The work of ES staff is not just limited to the RICs. All Regional teams except the Northern Team have a CLD presence. Team members will be in touch to make contact and find out about local developments.

Tayside Regional Improvement Team (Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus) Senior Regional Advisor (acting) –

CLD presence – Susan Epsworth, Development Officer, CLD Susan.Epsworth@educationscotland.gov.scot

South East Regional Improvement Team (Edinburgh City, Fife, Midlothian, East Lothian, Scottish Borders) Senior Regional Advisor – Alistair Brown

CLD presence – Chris Woodness, Education Officer, CLD (secondment) Vince Moore, Development Officer, CLD Vincent.Moore@educationscotland.gov.scot

South West Regional Improvement Team (Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayshire, South Ayrshire and North Ayshire) Senior Regional Advisor – Carol Copstick

CLD presence – Nicola Sykes, Senior Education Officer

Dehra Macdonald, Development Officer, CLD Dehra.Macdonald@educationscotland.gov.scot

Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Team (Falkirk, Stirling, Clackmannanshire and West Lothian) Senior Regional Advisor – Jackie Halawi

CLD presence – Lindsay MacDonald, Education Officer, CLD Lindsay.MacDonald@educationscotland.gov.scot

Mandy Watts, Development Officer, CLD Mandy.Watts@educationscotland.gov.scot

West Regional Improvement Team (Glasgow City, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire) Senior Regional Advisor – Patricia Watson

CLD presence – John Galt, Education Officer, CLD mailto:John.Galt@educationscotland.gov.scot

Laura Mcintosh, Development Officer, CLD Laura.Mcintosh@educationscotland.gov.scot

Northern Regional Improvement Team (Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Argyll and Bute, Shetland Islands, Western Isles, Highland, Orkney) Senior Regional Advisor – David Gregory

Curriculum for Gaelic (Learners) and A 1+2 Approach to Languages

e-Sgoil is an interactive, real-time teaching facility which uses Glow, Office 365 and V-scene to support the teaching of Gaelic and through Gaelic in any school in Scotland. This supports the curriculum for 1+2 Approach to Languages, Gaelic Learner and Gaelic Medium Education. A short promotional video is available here:

http://bit.ly/2Nhvm2F

e-Sgoil is currently inviting expressions of interest for teaching National 5 Gaelic (Learners) from August 2019. This may be to provide progression with the 1+2 Approach to Languages, or to enable learners to access Gaelic as a new subject.

Support for self-evaluation

Advice to support implementation of 1+2 and challenge questions

Case study and challenge questions on improving the secondary GME and GLE curriculum

Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education

A review of e-Sgoil’s first year of operation is available here:

http://e-sgoil.com/media/1133/e-sgoil-report-year-1-june-2018.pdf

 

For more information, please contact e-sgoil@gnes.net or phone 01851 822850.

The UK’s second ever National Numeracy Day is fast approaching…

As you may be aware, nearly half of working-age adults in the UK currently have numeracy levels that we expect of primary school children. Low numeracy skills have a significant negative impact on individuals, their families and society overall and it is estimated that low numeracy skills cost the UK economy £20.2bn a year.

That’s why we are asking you to join us for National Numeracy Day and help increase numeracy levels in Scotland.

Following last year’s highly successful campaign in Scotland, Education Scotland and the Scottish Government are participating in National Numeracy Day on 15th May 2019 as lead supporters.  The day will be an annual celebration of the importance of numbers in everyday life and aims to involve individuals, employers, educators and supporters from across the UK to help improve numeracy levels.

Get involved! 

We would like to offer all organisations in Scotland the opportunity to get involved as a champion of the day. Being a champion means you have access to toolkits to engage and support individuals to improve their numeracy. This will involve encouraging individuals to check whether they have theEssentials of Numeracy’ using National Numeracy’s free online tool and using the resources online to improve their numbers skills.

In return for promoting this campaign and getting individuals to use the online resources, champions will be able to use the National Numeracy day champion logo on all marketing and social media outputs and will receive official recognition of their role as a Champion on the National Numeracy Day website (logo will appear on the site).  Through use of an organisation specific URL we will also be able to give more detailed data back to champions on the number of people from their organisation who completed the challenge and overall average numeracy levels.   

If you would like to get involved, or have any questions, please get in touch. 

Lindsay MacDonald, Education Officer Lindsay.macdonald@educationscotland.gov.uk