Tag Archives: Parental Involvement

Grants of between £500 and £2,000 -Scotrail’s Community Grants

Scotrail’s Community Grants Fund
The ScotRail Foundation provides grants of between £500 and £2,000 to grass roots community groups and charities in Scotland.

Your PTA or parents’ group might qualify  as long as there is a wider benefit.  Applicants should read the guidelines before making an online application.
Applications must fit within at least one of the following criteria to be eligible for funding:
• Promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing
• Targeting improvements in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in primary schools
• Improving the community’s environmental impact at a local level, encourage recycling or upcycling, or run environmental information or outreach programmes.
The next deadline for applications is 30 September 2016. 
Contact: Foundation Scotland, Tel: 0131 524 0340 [ e-mail | website

Learning Families – Intergenerational Approaches to Literacy Teaching and Learning

“All of the programmes featured in this publication by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning  share valuable experiences and lessons. They reflect a view of effective learning families whereby each child is a member of a family, and within a learning family every member is a lifelong learner. Among disadvantaged families and communities in particular, a family literacy and learning approach is more likely to break the intergenerational cycle of low education and literacy skills..” (Elfert and Hanermann 2014)



Family Learning Research

This report presents findings from a study of family literacy programmes in England carried out by the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) between July 2013 and May 2015. This mixed-methods study was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and explored: 1) the impact of school-based family literacy programmes on young children’s progress in reading and writing; and 2) how parents translate and implement what they learn in these classes into the home literacy environment. This study provides evidence that after attending family literacy sessions children improve their literacy skills and there are positive changes in the home literacy environment.



Twitter in the Primary School Classroom


You are being asked to take part in a research study that will investigate how effective the use of Twitter is in the primary classroom. My name is Kirsty McKay and I am a fourth year teaching student from the University of Dundee. The research from this study will be used by myself and is supervised by Anna Robb.


Participation in this research would benefit staff working within a school and parents as it aims to find out whether or not Twitter is an effective communication tool to encourage parental involvement. This research would also benefit myself in relation to my own professional development and can inform my future practice.

You can find out more about Kirsty’s research and access her thesis questionnaire at Twitter in the Primary School Classroom.

Newsletter: Gaelic Medium Education

Comann nam Pàrant, the national organisation that advises and supports parents/carers of those in Gaelic Medium Education (GME), has recently published a newsletter

The newsletter includes information on

  • Education (Scotland) Bill
  • Guidance on Gaelic Education
  • National Parent Forum Conference for Parents
  • Supporting the development of literacy and numeracy with Read Write Count
  • useful information to help parents/carers support their child’s learning.

Please continue to read

Join Literacy Week 2015



Join Literacy Week 2015: a week full of literacy-related events throughout Europe this fall!
The European Literacy Policy Network (ELINET) supports Literacy Week 2015, which aims at raising awareness for low literacy throughout Europe. It will start on 8 September 2015, UNESCO’s International Literacy Day, and run until 17 September 2015. ELINET spiced up the campaign by organizing a contest for the best literacy event, as well as an official closing event featuring high-level speakers in Brussels on 17 September.
The Literacy Week 2015 website (www.literacyweek.eu) already shows over 90 registered events! Those registered before 17 August 2015 automatically took part in the contest. A jury will assess the creativity, feasibility and resourcefulness of registered events and invite three nominees to the official closing ceremony in Brussels, where the winner will be presented with the Literacy Week Innovation Award.
Aside from the prize ceremony, this distinguished literacy event will also feature a story exhibition, panel discussions, a reception, and speeches by prominent speakers: Tibor Navracsics (European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport), Marianne Thyssen (European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility), H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands (UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development), Barbara Bush and Dorothy Bush Koch (Founder and Honorary President of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy), a Learner Ambassador and high-level panellists from different sectors.


Family Learning at UNESCO International Literacy Day 2015

Making rockets!
Making rockets!
UNESCO International Literacy Day 8th September 2015

UNESCO International Literacy Day has been celebrated for over a decade. This year the theme is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. There will be a large range of partners coming together to share the diverse range of approaches used in Scotland to cultivating literacy skills and to explore science as a context for developing literacy skills for all. Family learning will be featured as an approach to engaging families with children from an early age to develop literacy skills through inspiring and fun experiments!

Following the success of last year’s network of networks’ celebration of UNESCO International Literacy Day in the Emirates Arena we invite you to join us on Tuesday September 8th at Glasgow Science Centre from 10.00am until 3.30pm.

This year’s theme is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. See the UNESCO info graphic about Literacy and Sustainable Development

Our keynote speakers are Dr Alasdair Allan Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, and Heather Reid OBE CPhys, FinstP (Heather the Weather).

Participants will have the opportunity to attend a morning and an afternoon seminar as well as to explore the science centre. Further details will follow.

Places are limited so register here now.

The workshop, delivered in partnership with Dundee Adult Learning Team, will highlight everyday activities that families can do with materials found around the home that will support a love for sciences and increase literacy and numeracy skills.

Join us at International Literacy Day 2015 in the Glasgow Science Centre for the workshop “Babble and Dabble”!

Citizen Science workshops for East Ayrshire Council practitioners

Citizen Science workshops for East Ayrshire Council practitioners:

St. Joseph’s Academy, Kilmarnock 5th May 3:45pm

Mauchline Primary, Mauchline 6th May 3:45pm

Citizen science is an exciting way of engaging learners with real-life science in the world around them. Schools across Scotland are undertaking important scientific work, collecting data and using that data to improve their own environment or passing the data to the scientific community. Some great examples of this can be see with the RSPB Birdwatch and the Great British Bee Count.

The workshop will be an opportunity to learn about more of the projects happening around Scotland, learn how to set up your own project and find out more about the OPAL environmental surveys and other organisations and support they offer.

Practitioners will learn about how citizen science activities can be incorporated into the curriculum, how they can be planned across stages and how the Sciences Progression Framework can be used when planning progression of citizen science activities. The session will then focus on air quality, pulling together the data that is available on Scotland’s Environment web with knowledge and understanding from other resources and linking it to real-life air quality data that learners can collect and analyse.

Resources will be available for practitioners to try out. Survey Packs will be made available to look at and request copies.

There will also be time to share practice and discuss ideas with each other.

For further information/to request a place please contact East Ayshire STEM Co-ordinator Martyn Hendry.

Citizen science on prime time tv!

Citizen science on prime time!

Sunday night’s Countryfile programme on BBC1 highlighted the issue of tree diseases and the effect on our environment and our economy.

The biggest threat to British trees is disease – and in many cases there’s no cure. The Countryfile team investigated the threats to our woodland and found out what we can all do to defend our trees including collecting data using the Forestry Commision website and app. You can also use the OPAL Tree Health survey to record findings.


Developing a rationale for the West Barns Curriculum 2 – Pulling the pieces together

Over the past year staff, pupils, families and the wider community have been working hard to improve our school. Feedback from pupils, families, staff and visitors has already shown us that our children are more motivated and engaged in their learning, we are able to support our learners more effectively, parents and families are more involved and willing to participate in the life of the school and their child’s learning and we are developing a real ethos based around our vision of ‘Team West Barns’ and our values and aims.

It has been necessary to implement many changes at West Barns in a short space of time, most of these were carefully planned from the outset, but a few have evolved from developing needs within the school. As part of our ongoing self-evaluation process we decided to take a step backwards and look at how well we are developing as a school in line with a Curriculum for Excellence and our own vision, values and aims. This would give us a clear picture of our strengths and help us identify our next steps.

We decided to do this through comparing the two documents side by side, discussing each element, identifying how we were meeting this and making links between the two documents. We used Post-it notes to record our thoughts.

West Barns PrimaryGill2


We discussed how we could evidence what we have achieved and identify our next steps.

This was a very powerful process. As a staff we could clearly see how by developing our learning and teaching through the introduction of initiatives such as Cooperative Learning, introducing our Learning Journeys, new programmes of study and joint planning and teaching sessions we were delivering many elements of the curriculum and our own school aims more effectively. Similarly, by introducing our Nurture Group, Paired Reading, Maths Recovery, Developing Emotional Resilience Group, joint planning sessions and working more effectively across classes we were providing the support to help all our pupils achieve. We were also able to identify areas for further development, including supporting P7-S1 transition through arranging cluster small schools learning days from P4 onwards and re-developing our interdisciplinary learning topics through a different approach.

We have begun to collate this information through a pupil-friendly PowerPoint and now want to engage pupils and families in helping us evidence the impact our curriculum is having on our children’s’ learning and the life and ethos of the school. We also want to work with our families to find an effective way of sharing this information across Team West Barns.

Below is a copy of our our draft ‘Building the West Barns Curriculum’ PowerPoint – still a work in progress. We still have to add some of the staff evidence then share it with the pupils. This will give us an opportunity to discuss impact and evidence and next steps with our learners.

Building the West Barns Curriculum