Are you all right? – Reflections on a visit to Polmont

Through the Scottish Attainment  Challenge, the profile of poverty and the implications for attainment and outcomes  for children and young people has never been more to the forefront of discussion and policy.

As part of the Challenge, I have a role in looking at poverty and its resulting complexities from an academic viewpoint and in researching some recent articles.

I recently had the privilege of visiting Polmont Young Offenders Institute with  a group of colleagues to hear and see at first- hand some of the initiatives to increase life chances and improve opportunities in this context. I left the experience with great admiration for the  direction of travel not only to help prevent re- offending but more importantly, the clarity around understanding the stats and stories behind the young people being there in the first place.

These stats had a profound impact on my conscience and strengthened my resolve to share information about prevention rather than cure…..

A fundamental life experience touched almost all of the young people and that was an experience of bereavement, often a close family member. A high number of young folk had multiple losses, one as many as 17 in their life story. Another common feature, was school exclusion and interestingly, most did not dislike school when they were attending but did resort to ‘class clown’ behaviours. This clown image was evident in a striking piece of artwork on the wall of the performance arts studio in Polmont.

Speaking to some of the young people it was clear that common experiences and regret for poor choices was evident but in spite of these difficulties, there was hope for a better future and those who choose to gain skills and qualifications were hopeful these would help them once liberated. After the young people leave is a whole different blog post!

As a result of the visit, I developed this Sway presentation

I hope you find some of the content interesting and thought provoking and would ask you to consider these points.

  • How often do you encounter the ‘class clown’ ?
  • How often do you find the time and space to ask “Are you alright?”
  • What support would make a difference?  
  • What options do youngsters at risk in your care have and how are these made known to them?

This Sway may be useful as part of a professional learning session in your school. If you want to take part in a secure, online discussion of the questions, we are talking about them on the Scottish Attainment Challenge community on Glow

If you need your Glow password reset, see How do I get a Glow login?


Interactive Eatwell Guide

Food Standards Scotland is proud to have launched the new Interactive Eatwell Guide today. This teaching resource is designed to show the balance of food groups required for a healthy diet. We would be delighted if you would be one of the first to use and share this resource with your peers.


The tool makes learning about a healthy diet simple, fun and accessible. We would also like to invite you to share the resource through your social media channels if possible. Below you will find some suggested social media content, and attached to this email is a still form of the resource which you can use to add a visual element to your posts too. Thank you in advance for your support.

The Interactive Eatwell Guide

Use our interactive Eatwell Guide tool to teach your class how to get a balance of healthier and more sustainable food.  It will help you teach about the different food groups and the proportions of each one we should all be eating, in a fun and interactive way, and at the same time will deliver Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes.  There is more information on the food groups within the resource.

Please note: this resource is designed primarily for use in a classroom environment and will work best on Smart Boards and iPads. It also works on desktops and laptops but please ensure that your screen is set to full screen (go to View and Full Screen).

Supporting information

The Eatwell Guide now replaces the eatwell plate as the main tool showing you a healthy balanced diet. It shows the proportions of the foods that make up a healthy diet. The proportions of food groups have been updated to take into account the new dietary recommendations for more fibre and less sugar.


Contact for further assistance on using this interactive tool or for more information on educational resources.

Santa Visits Glow TV

small-image-santaYes it’s that time of year again when we welcome Santa back to Glow TV! This year he will be visiting us on Friday 16th December at 10.45am.

Santa will be taking a break from making all the toys at the North Pole to come to a school in Scotland to answer all the questions that you might have about Christmas and Santa. How does he make all the toys? How does he deliver them all on time? What does he feed his reindeer? How does Rudolph help him with his red nose? These and many many more questions will be answered in this very special Glow TV event.

Sign up and join us live in Glow TV – Santa Visits Glow TV.

If you unable to join us for the live event you can always catch up with the recording at another time – Glow TV’s Watch Again.

Leugh is Seinn le Linda!

small-gaelic-book-councilEducation Scotland, in partnership with Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, invites you to join a fun-filled live Glow TV session which will be of particular interest to children learning at the early and first level of literacy and Gàidhlig.

This session will be led by Linda MacLeod. Linda will use storytelling in Gaelic and Gaelic song to develop Gaelic language with 3-5 year olds in a fun and motivating way. These are key strategies for taking forward immersion. The session last approximately 30 minutes.

Join us on Tuesday 13th December at 10am in Glow TV! Sign up to take part live – Leugh is Seinn le Linda!

If you unable to join us for the live event you can always catch up with the recording at another time – Glow TV’s Watch Again.

Primary Nurturing Approaches Professional Learning Resource

A Primary Nurturing Approaches Professional Learning Resource has recently been completed by Education Scotland and was delivered to around 50 representatives from the 9 Challenge Authorities over 4 days in October and November 2016 as a pilot. This was an engaging and motivating 4 days and many of the representatives have begun to embed both universal nurturing approaches and targeted approaches in their schools and LAs.

The resource is being updated to incorporate the feedback of those who attended and will be run again as a 4 day course on the 23rd, and 24th of January and 20th and 21st of February 2017 in Glasgow.  There is an expectation that those who attend this training will be able to take it forward and deliver it in their own context.  Notes of interest are asked to be submitted to the following email:  Details on the course and requirements for attending will then be sent out to all those who are interested after which interested parties will be invited to attend if they are felt to be at a stage of readiness to take the training forward in their context. Although the first round of training focused on Challenge authorities, notes of interest are now extended to any interested local authority or school.

Flipped professional learning on Glow

In these times, it’s vital to make the most out of the opportunities offered by face-to-face professional learning events. That’s why some event organisers are now  ‘flipping’ some of the learning .

A flipped learning space (eg a Yammer community on Glow) lets attendees engage online before the event; look at pre-event materials, introduce themselves and explain their expectations.

During the event, the conversation can continue with others not at the event, presenters can easily access their materials and you can post suggestions made or resources mentioned.

After the event, the impact can be tracked using a pledges tag and the whole thing can be revisited as an anytime professional learning opportunity as you may have filmed the key moments or presenters.

If you need to reset your Glow details, then see How do I get a Glow login?

If you need help with ‘flipped learning’ we will publish a Handy guide soon. In the meantime, these colleagues  shown below on Yammer will be able to help.

Scottish Engineer Special Leaders Award – Ashley Nicholson

small-ashley-nicholsonJoin us on Tuesday 6th December at 11am for an opportunity to chat to an engineer who can help you as part of this year’s Scottish Engineering Special Leaders Award.

This week’s engineer is Ashley Nicholson. She is the Harbour Master Forth Inner at Forth ports Limited and looks after the navigation service call Forth & Tay Navigation and is responsible for the safe navigation of all vessels to and from the Ports of Grangemouth and the Oil and Gas Terminals of Hound Point and Breafoot. As part of her duties she is involved in civils projects throughout the river and spend large amounts of time managing engineering project from a marine perspective. The latest project is the construction of the Queensferry Crossing which she has been involved with from the very early stages. She was awarded the Scottish Engineering Incorporation of Hammerman award for my involvement in this project.

Sign up and join us live in Glow TV – Scottish Engineer Special Leaders Award – Ashley Nicholson

If you unable to join us for the live event you can always catch up with the recording at another time – Glow TV’s Watch Again.

Career Education Standard (3-18): Exemplification Tool offers a ‘helping hand’

ces-exemplification-toolA new tool is now available for practitioners to support planning and developing new practice in career education or to reflect on existing practice.   Based on the ‘I can’ statements in the Career Education Standard (3-18) it provides illustrations of what children and young people might experience in order to help them meet their entitlements.  For ease of reference the entitlements have been appended to the resource and linked to each theme.  The tool  supports  practitioners  to consider what  career education might look like in their own particular contexts and to plan accordingly.


The exemplification tool groups the entitlements and the illustrative  ‘I can statements’ in five themes and by levels.  Alongside these are suggestions of the types of activities that children and young people might experience as they work towards their entitlements.

The themes are :

  1. Exploring the concept of work (from simulated experiences to the world of work)
  2. Expanding horizons and ambitions
  3. Diversity and equity
  4. Seeking help and information
  5. Finding a route to work

Down load the exemplification tool here:  ces-exemplification-tool

Illustrations of how education establishments have implemented DYW across the curriculum can be found on the Education Scotland ‘Learning Blog’.

Foodvent 2016- It’s here!


Explore a fun and exciting way to engage learners about Food & Health with our Foodvent calendar.

The calendar has been developed by Food Partners from all over Scotland and is supported by teachers currently undergoing the GTCS accredited Good Food Champions course run by RHET

Ok, how do we take part?

  • Learners and educators can start ‘opening’ windows from December 1st (when else?) at 
  • Educators should look out for the teachers’ notes link near the top of the page
  • If you are a Glow user, please join the Good Food Learning Yammer group at any time
  • Do please spread the word about Foodvent 2016
Need your Glow details reset? - How do I get a Glow login?

Log in with your Glow email address below to access the Yammer group


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