Get Ready for Rio+20 – UN Conference on Sustainability

WATCH again: See our Glow meet live from Rio+20 where young people from across Scotland put questions to Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.

What are your green dreams for the future? 

Between 20-22 June 2012 world leaders will gather in the Brazilian city of Rio for crucial talks at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The conference, referred to as Rio+20, will mark 20 years since the historic Earth Summit in the same city in 1992 which put issues such as climate change and the protection of biodiversity on the map and gave birth to Agenda 21 – an action plan for a sustainable future which was adopted by national governments, cities and local authorities across the world. The establishment of the international Eco-Schools movement was another practical outcome of this process.

The 1992 Earth Summit achieved much but clearly there are still many challenges to be addressed if we are to build a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.

The hopes and expectations for Rio+20 are high and the preparations have highlighted seven priority areas including: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness. Rio+20 is a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to take bold steps to end poverty and address environmental destruction.

Sustainability in Scotland

The document, A Flourishing Scotland, produced for Rio+20 outlines the many achievements we should celebrate with regards to Scotland’s success in promoting sustainable development education. IN the context of the Rio Summit it may be of interest to note that Chapter 36 of the Agenda 21 document, which focussed on education, was written by a Scot – Professor John Smyth.

However, other key achievements nationally include: the embedding of sustainable development education, global citizenship and outdoor learning within Curriculum for Excellence; we also have one of the most successful Eco-Schools programme in the world with over 98% of local authority school registered; and Scotland has shown leadership on a world stage by introducing ambitious targets on climate change and in planning for our transition to a low-carbon economy. By 2020 it is estimated that 130,000 people will be employed in low carbon and green industries in Scotland and that renewable energy will provide 100% of our energy needs. Scotland is also the only county in the world to have debated the issue of climate justice in its parliament.

Whilst much has been achieved, there is still work to be done. Nevertheless, there is a real opportunity for Scotland to show leadership on a world stage with regards to its commitment to sustainable development and to set an example for other nations to follow.

What you can do

Our ambition is that every learner in Scotland recognises themselves as a global citizen; has a strong commitment to living sustainably and has an enthusiasm for the outdoors and nature.

You can help by ensuring that global citizenship, sustainable development education and outdoor learning are on your school improvement plan and embedded in your curriculum. Make these areas the responsibility of everyone in your school, not just the eco-warrior or group, so your school can adopt a successful whole school approach and make an impact on every learner.

Professional learning – read Learning for Change: Scotland’s Action Plan for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and make use of our resources on sustainable development education, global citizenship and outdoor learning.

Join our online community to share practice and ideas with other practitioners around Scotland and engage in professional dialogue.

Activity ideas

Raise the profile of the conference in your own school or community – organise your own version of the Rio+20 conference.

Invite learners to develop their green dreams – what is their vision of a more sustainable future? What would they like to see happen in the next 20 years? What would their message to world leaders be?

 Web links

Official website of the Rio+20 Summit

Twitter – follow the conversation at #Rioplus20

My green dream – add your voice and dream to thousands of others

Education Scotland Online

Sustainable development education pages and videos

Global citizenship resources

Outdoor learning resources

Weather and Climate Change

Exploring Climate Change

Schools Global Footprint


Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum have created a Rio+20 resource pack for schools and youth groups. This resource pack can be downloaded from the Eco-Schools Scotland website. Hard copies, plus the accompanying DVD, can be ordered via email:

WWF has produced a free Rio+20  teaching resource and associated competition for young people aged 11-14 years. Download for free at:

Download the special edition Living Planet Report – On the Road to Rio produced by WWF.

Stop Climate Chaos has produced Rio+20 resources for students and teachers. Download from:

Going bananas about Algebra!

Join us in Glow TV on Thursday 31st May at 2pm for this very different ways of learning about algebra.

This lesson will show basic uses of algebra using bananas as an everyday context, and be mainly suitable for P4 pupils.

During the live transmission Tom Renwick from Maths on Track will be seen working with a P4 class, initially measuring the weights of three bananas labelled a, b and c and then going on to evaluate simple expressions such as a+b and a-b etc.

Towards the end of the event you will have the weights of three bananas measured in your own classroom and your pupils will be invited to evaluate simple expressions based on their own data.

As in most areas of maths lack of associated numeracy numeracy skills can hamper understanding, so Tom has prepared graded practice sheets (three pdf’s provided in Supporting Materials and suitable for smart board use) showing the numeracy skills which will be associated with the algebra the lesson, given that bananas usually weigh between 100g and 200g.

It would be beneficial if pupils watching the live transmission were reasonably competent with these numeracy skills beforehand since it’s Tom’s intention to have as many P4 pupils as possible ‘going bananas about algebra’!

Sign up and join us in Glow TV!

Understanding Social Enterprise Programme (Perth)

The CLD Standards Council, in partnership with the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy, is offering a free two day Understanding Social Enterprise programme to CLD practitioners who work directly with young people in Scotland. The event will take place in Perth on 20th and 21st June 2012. The programme will introduce the concept of social enterprise, the challenges faced by enterprises and assess the future for this dynamic and emerging business model.This learning programme also offers an opportunity for participants to gain an Institute of Leadership and Management Award in Understanding Social Enterprise qualification (6 credits at SCQF level 8). Participants who wish to opt in for the qualification will be required to complete an assessed written report and to meet an ILM Registration and Qualification Fee of £82.00.

The booking form and programme can be downloaded here

Curriculum for Excellence: Have you made the link?

Glasgow, 27-Jun-2012

The reach of Curriculum for Excellence aims to be wider than schools. There is increasing emphasis on it being a lifelong learning curriculum, requiring us to evidence how we can play our part in its implementation.

Learning Link Scotland is working in partnership with Education Scotland Communities Team to run a new one day workshop to help you make links between your work in adult learning/CLD and Curriculum for Excellence. The Workshop will explore:

  • Key features of Curriculum for Excellence
  • What links CfE to your practice in adult learning/CLD
  • Why do you need to engage with CfE?
  • Linking CfE to How Good is Our CLD?

The event is open to voluntary organisations and local authorities. There will only be 20 places available at this event. It costs £20 for members of Learning Link Scotland and £25 for non-members.

Sign up now

Contact: Learning Link Scotland, [ e-mail | website ]

LEAP Online

SCDC is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new software package to support participatory, outcome focused planning and evaluation.

LEAP – Learning Evaluation and Planning is a values based approach to planning and evaluating work with communities and is now available as an online software application. The user friendly online version encourages users to ask critical questions about their project or programme, and it is designed to support joint working by allowing access to shared project aims and reports among various partners and stakeholders.

Download the LEAP online flyer for more information.

Contact: SCDC, phone: 0141 248 1924 [ e-mail | website ]

Credit Ratings of Programmes Within the Community Learning and Development Sector

Invitation to Submit Proposals

Over the last two years The SCQFP made funding available to a range of organisations that supported the wider achievement of young people. This resulted in seven programmes being credit rated onto the Framework. Now that these have been allocated an SCQF level and credit points it allows them to be compared with other Scottish qualifications.

This year the SCQFP, with funding from the Scottish Government, would like to start a project to run over three years to enable a number of CLD learning programmes to be credit rated onto the Framework. SCQFP is looking for organisations to submit bids to have their learning programmes credit rated, during this financial year.

In addition, a number of other CLD organisations could be supported to develop their learning programmes into the structure required for credit rating with a view to submitting them in the next stage of this project if funding is continued from Scottish Government during 2013-14.

The Closing date for receipt of submissions is Thursday 21 June 2012.

More information is available here.

Download the CLD Credit Rating Project application form here.

Glowing Thursdays – Sailing for Olympic Gold

Join us in Glow TV on Thursday 31st May at 12pm to meet another inspirational Olympian – double gold medal-winning sailor Shirley Robertson who will be speaking at Perth Grammar on the school Olympic-themed fundraising day.

Shirley Robertson OBE made it in the history books by becoming the first British woman to win two Olympic Gold Medals at consecutive games, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. Shirley has gone on to develop a highly
successful media career including with the BBC and CNN. She will be visiting Perth Grammar to tell the compelling and inspirational story of her personal journey to achieve her dreams and to support S1 pupils with their Olympic challenges. This will be part of the school fundraising day when all pupils will be involved in a sponsored walk to raise more funds for Sport Relief.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV.

Learning Stories – An Education Scotland Identified Good Practice Event

Join us in Glow Tv on Wednesday 30th May for an exciting insight into a new way of reporting in a school. In Ormiston Primary School every child has a journal called a Learning Story containing photographs, video links and comments from parents, children and teaching staff. These Learning Stories have become integral to the life of learning at Ormiston Primary School and have replaced the end of term report card.

These colourful and detailed books help children to share purposefully their learning with their families and helps to give the families more depth of knowledge of how they can support their child at home. They also give the school the opportunity to find out what children are learning at home which forms a rich picture of all the achievements for each child.

During this Glow Meet headteacher Helen Gardyne and her pupils will share their journey of development with their Learning Stories and this will hopefully inspire you on your own journey and to reflect on the nature of reporting on children’s learning.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV for this inspiring CPD opportunity.

Simple Acts – Spirit Project Update

Do you know about Simple Acts and the Spirit photography project? If not this is another chance for students to get involved in the project and share any videos or interviews they have taken so far.

As part of Refugee Week 2012 the Scottish Refugee Council are a running a photographic project around the theme Spirit. An online gallery will be created where people can upload videos and interviews with each other. Schools across Scotland will be invited to take photos and videos that capture this theme and these will be added to the online gallery.

In this Glow Meet, students will get to see photographs and videos that have already been uploaded and will be able to discuss how these represent Spirit and can ask questions about taking their own photos/videos.

This project is most suited to P4 and upwards and will take place on Wednesday 30th May at 11am.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV!

Moderation in Practice – What does it mean to you?

Join us on Tuesday 29th May at 4pm in Glow TV to find out more about what moderation can mean to you. A number of personnel from local authorities and Education Scotland will take part in an open discussion around ‘participating in moderation activities – the opportunities and challenges it presents’

During this session practitioners from across the country will share their experiences of moderation in practice. There will be practitioners from all sectors participating in this event, relating their experiences: within their own establishment or sector, across different sectors and in particular at key points of transition.

Practitioners who have participated in the Quality Assurance and Moderation exemplars on the NAR will relate their experiences. The Quality Assurance and Moderation Team in Education Scotland will give an update on work being developed at present to support the moderation process.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV.

That’s Not Me – Launch of new Mental Health Resource

This week sees the launch of a new education pack which will enable secondary school teachers and other youth workers to address some of the issues around mental health and wellbeing.  ‘That’s Not Me…’ uses the medium of film to explore mental health through the eyes of young people.  The 12 minute drama was written and performed by young people with professional advice and input from adult health professionals and film makers.  The project was jointly funded by two projects within Scottish Borders, Choose Life which aims to reduce the rate of suicide and Voice of My Own (VOMO) which gives young people an opportunity to express themselves through the moving image.  The project also received input from Penumbra Youth Project, a community based mental health project working with 16-21 year olds in Scottish Borders.

The film was well received by young people, schools and health professionals as well as winning acclaim as an artistic endeavour in the wider world of film making.  Not surprisingly, it was felt that it was important to make it available to a wider audience and after securing additional funding, VOMO and Choose Life worked together to create this pack.

Robert Sproul-Cran directed the film and designed the pack. He said ‘The group which developed the project drew on personal experiences and emotions, which gives the film a real authenticity. The powerful performances by Perri Walsh as Rosie and Shelagh Hynd as her mother really strike a chord. I’m just delighted that we now have the chance to take this significant work to a wider audience, supported by the excellent material created by Haylis in the education pack. It may just be the most important project I’ve ever been involved in.’

The pack will be distributed to all schools and youth groups in Scottish Borders and is available to buy for other organisations across Scotland.  For further information, please contact Haylis on tel 01835 824000.

Sunday Herald – essay of the week!

Fighting Fire with Fire
Article in the Sunday Herald, which discusses, women and smoking. The article discusses how tobacco companies and public health campaigns have used marketing to target women. The essay also talks to young women about why the smoke and their views on tobacco branding and what effect plain packaging may have.

If you would like to read more, follow the link below:

New German Materials for Senior Phase


A German teaching project has sprung to life led by Maike Muthel, the German teacher at Mallaig High School in Lochaber. It will particularly benefit pupils in remote areas and those within schools where German is not currently provided.

On offer is a one year online Intermediate 2 course via  GLOW, which will be available to all senior pupils.  The materials will also be easily adaptable to suit candidates sitting National 5 in 2014.   Learners will undertake the course working mainly on their own after a weekly face-to-face session with the teacher introducing grammar, tasks and providing feedback. A week to week programme is available on GLOW and this year the course is on offer to the whole of Scotland. For pupils with prior knowledge of German, provision of a Higher course could also be discussed.

To access the materials please click here.  ( you will need your Glow password.)

For more information please get in touch directly with Maike Muthel:

Forensic Rookies, Transition and the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust: Scottish Islands and Mainland ICT and Science project

Last December, we blogged about an exciting project “Forensic Rookies” involving primary and secondary schools in West Lothian, Shetland and Perth & Kinross. Collaboration via Glow Wikis and culminating in a Glow meeting in February was the key to success for the learners, in this ASZTT funded project.

The first of a series vodcasts with feedback and reflections from learners and practitioners is available on YouTube’s ScienceEdResearch channel. In this first vodcast Janette Kean and learners from Westfield Primary in West Lothian share their experiences of the project. Each of the authorities is taking the “Forensic Rookies” project forward with a variety of approaches being used to meet the needs of the learners within each setting.

This TESS article “Young Sleuths get right on the case” discusses the project further.

STEM Central Electric Transport and a context for learning for the new NQs

Many thanks to our Engineering the Future colleagues for highlighting this link which could be used to enrich learning around the STEM Central electric transport context. In Meet the Inventor of the World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle Michael Czysz talks about making his dream a reality, and what it feels like to travel at 200 mph on a motorbike hearing only the sound of the air.

Thinking about sustainable transport as a context for learning for the new NQs? Along with the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, what about freight ships towed by massive kites to reduce fuel demand? Scope for creative design and practical investigative work with learners in sciences and technologies?

For more on electric transport see  our 13th May blog post STEM Central Electric Transport, the smater Smart car and a context for learning for the new NQs.

Learning for the new NQs: Will Bioenergy play a part in our secure energy future?

Exploring Bioenergy could feature within your plans for learning and teaching for the new NQs in Environmental Science, Physics or Science. What is it? Could it form part of our strategy for energy security in Scotland and the UK?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published the UK Bioenergy Strategy with  handy “key facts” on the front page. In addition the Frequently Asked Questions highlights issues such as ‘Shouldn’t land used for food production rather than energy crops?’ which could form the basis of debate and investigative work with learners.

This DECC website has, under the “Meeting Energy Demand” tab, information on everything from hydrogen fuel cells to nuclear power, along with easily accessible useful links to relevant websites. This could provide a rich source of background material for your planning associated with our recently published advice and guidance on energy security.

Learning for the new NQs: Speak up Scotland! A Year of Science Debating

Within our recently published advice and guidance associated with the new NQs in science, there are a number of areas which would lend themselves to discussion in the classroom. What does this look like? What is the difference between learners talking, and discussing? Arguing and debating? What tools and approaches can be used to ensure learners are developing their skills in discussion, argumentation, and debate?

A teacher’s handbook from the English-Speaking Union (ESU) Scotland came across my desk this week. 2012 is  the year of the ESU’s Speak up Scotland! Science Debating project. Within this easily digestible, practical handbook are a range of techniques and approaches which can be used to structure debate within the science classroom, and include all learners within the class. It explains how to plan and structure a formal debate, if that is what you are looking for, including how to structure a speech, a format for judging the content and skills of the participants – useful for teacher observation or peer evaluation. Other approaches described include balloon and role play debates. Exemplification is given for role playdebates in bio-prospecting and badger culling.

The booklet also contains starters for debates such as:

 ”this house believes the government should fund research on planet earth rather than the cosmos” – ties in with the new National 4/5 qualifications in Physics

“this house would give up non essential flying to help curb dangerous climate change” – ties in with the sustainability elements across a number of the new NQs including Environmental Science

“this house would ban research on embryonic stem cells” – ties in with the National 4/5 qualifications in Biology and our published advice and guidance on Health and Disease.

Each section includes “fast facts”, and suggested questions to ask – does an embryo have human rights? how do we know how old the universe is? how do we control nanoparticles in our environment; or artificial organisms we create?

All of this is also available on the project website where you can  find out how schools are using the debates and the feedback from learners.

If your learners need support in building confidence to speak in front of others, why not look back to our Debating in Schools resources published in 2007 which include Building Speaking Confidence: Guidance for first-time speakers.

STEM Central and the Bionic Eye invented to help restore sight

Since publication of our STEM Central Bioengineering context earlier this year, there has been no shortage of advances in this field to incorporate into learning and teaching within this context.

This BBC News article Light-powered bionic eye invented to help restore sight describes innovation at Stanford University in California, using near infrared signals and photovoltaic cells. This is being reported as an advancement on the patient trials blogged on 5th May – an opportunity for learners to examine the two technologies, and compare and contrast.

Resources and ideas now available!

If you visit our Early Years Saturday Conference Community you will see links, resources and information from delegates.

If you are developing new ideas using this inspiring information why not make a pledge and let the community know all about it? Other You may be able to join other members of the community in developing your idea.

Learning for the new NQs in Environmental Science, Physics or Science: Energy Security and Sustainable Living

If you are planning learning and teaching for the new NQs around themes of energy security and sustainability, the Institute for Public Policy and Research website might be a good port of call. Bringing together articles, publications, reports and rich data this site provides a wealth of information which could be used in your planning, or for learners incorporating numeracy and literacy into learning.

For example, will our household energy bills be increased by use of renewables? What are the options given our increasing energy demands? Is media reporting of renewables fair and balanced? Articles such as Telegraph distorts the truth on energy bills , ITV must show BBC the way on accurate green reporting  and Three ways we can face up to ‘green energy’ backlash make for interesting reading.

Learning Stories from Ormiston Primary

On Wed 30th May at 3.45pm , staff and young people from Ormiston Primary will tell us about their Learning Stories.

In Ormiston Primary School every child has a journal called a Learning Story containing photographs, video links and comments from parents, children and teaching staff. These Learning Stories have become integral to the life of learning at Ormiston Primary School and have replaced the end of term report card.

During this Glow Meet, headteacher Helen Gardyne and her pupils will share their journey of development with their Learning Stories and this will hopefully inspire you on your own journey and to reflect on the nature of reporting on children’s learning.

Sign up and join us for this inspiring CPD opportunity on Glow TV

I was very fortunate to spend a day recently with Helen Gardyne, the head teacher to work on a CPD opportunity for parental involvement and was bowled over by the work being done on this area.

Follow this link, Pupil Voice, to see a Prezi slideshow which will give you a flavour of Ormiston Primary. Press the play button to start and select More and Fullscreen if you want the cinematic experience!

1:1 Scotland – a new CPD community on Glow

On Thursday of this week, Derek Robertson of Education Scotland will be introducing a new CPD Community on Glow, 1:1 Scotland. If you are interested in how some schools in Scotland are taking learning forward in a school or class where every student has a computer or other device, then this is for you!

The first online 1:1Meet takes place on Thursday 24th of May at 4pm. More details and sign-up here on Glow

This is the first of several 1:1Meets planned to help build the community. In future opportunities, Ian Stuart of Islay High and Fraser Speirs of Cedar School of Excellence will share their experiences of 1:1 learning.

Learning about Scotland in the Early Years

Saturday was a very inspirational day for the Early Years team at Education Scotland. Our Saturday Conference, Learning about Scotland in the Early Years was a great success. There was singing, poetry writing and even a competition!


If you would like to follow up on any interesting discussions from the day or revisit and reflect on the presentations then visit our Early Years CPD community. The presentations are within the Early Years Saturday Conference mini CPD site.

If you have not joined our community yet, then please do. We had a queue of enthusiastic delegates who couldn’t wait to join on Saturday and you can meet them (virtually!) when you do.

Well done to Sharon from South Lanarkshire who won the well deserved prize of two Scots books to share with her establishment.

Thank you

The Early Years Team

Learning for the new NQs: Carbon Capture and Storage

If you are planning for learning and teaching associated with the new National Qualifications in Environmental Science, Physics or Science, the BBC’s short video “Norway tests carbon capture and storage” may be of interest. What is the science behind carbon capture? What are the risks associated with use of this technology? Do we need it?  NASA scientist Dr James Hansen discussed the future of coal-fired power stations with carbon capture technologies in a Scottish and UK context at the recent Edinburgh International Science Festival, ahead of his award of the prestigious Edinburgh Medal. As experimental capture gets underway in Scotland, the Zero Emissions Platform website provides a wealth of information.

Learning for the new NQs: Research tie in with Food Security

At the beginning of May, The James Hutton Institute announced the award of £1.25 million to work towards more sustainble, disease resistance crops to enhance our future food security.

This ties in with Education Scotland’s recently published work on Food Security for National 4 Science and National 5 Biology, along with work associated with Inheritance for National 5 Biology.  Published advice and guidance is intended for use by practitioners in creative and innovative ways, to plan approaches to meet the needs of learners. Flexibility within the new National Qualifications offers the ideal opportunity to plan for learning and teaching which incorporates cutting edge Scottish and global research, and builds in meaningful partnerships from the rich STEM landscape in Scotland.

Looking ahead to the forthcoming school year, we are developing the theme of Food Security for first through to fourth level as a context in STEM Central, providing scope for working within clusters to build a continuous learning journey. More news will be published on the ES Learning Blog later this year.

Creative Connections fife 2012 – An Early Years Gathering

Fife Council’s Cultural Partnerships Team, in partnership with Fife’s Childcare & Early Years Services and The Byre Theatre are delighted to announce their early years event ‘Creative Connections fife 2012’ on Wednesday 23 May 2012 at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews.

Bookings are still open, so if you are an early years practitioner or have a professional interest in this field, then this day will be of interest to you. Book today!

To book contact or telephone 01592 583255.

Find out more about Creative Connections 2012 – An Early Years Gathering. Also visit our Glow Group

If you are unable to attend in person please join us via Glow. All sessions will be live on Glow TV – sign up and register for all the events in Glow TV!

Learning for the new NQs in Sciences

Have you had an opportunity to explore the advice and guidance published to support practitioners in planning for learning and teaching for the new National Qualifications? Education Scotland has published a suite of advice and guidance exemplifying skills, teaching approaches, challenge, the use of context and incorporation of literacy, numeracy and ICT in learning and teaching in sciences.

The published advice and guidance is intended for use by practitioners and is non-mandatory. It is intended that practitioners will use it in a reflective and selective manner.

Throughout, reflective questions for learners are provided to aid practitioners in planning learning and teaching to meet the needs of learners. In many cases, investigative work and inquiry-based practical learning will supplement the learning and teaching described.

The Daily What News – iPads for all?

The Daily What News is an online news service provided by Education Scotland for Scottish schools. Its main purpose is to help the development of literacy and language (English and Gaelic) in young people aged nine to 16 as well as support their needs for news and information. At the same time, its functions facilitate interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking skills. The service empowers teachers and learners to develop trusted learning resources and classroom activities using community-created content and group interactivity.

Hi-tech future for Scottish classrooms

 The government wants young people to be able to use more mobile devices and handheld computers in schools.

Hundreds of pupils at almost 20 schools in Scotland are already using cutting-edge technology in their classrooms. P7 children at Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh, for example, each have an Apple iPad, while students at Morgan Academy in Dundee use Android technology.

To read the rest of this news article click here.

For suggestions on how to use this article with your learners click here.

Your learners can take part in the debate Do you think schools should use more moibile technology? in the Glow Forum. (Glow log in required)

Learning for the new NQs: X-ray machines – a 20th century icon

Is the x-ray machine a 20th century icon? If you are planning for learning and teaching using the published advice and guidance associated with Nuclear Chemistry and Physics then this 7 minute video from The Guardian’s Newton Channel “X-ray machines – a 20th century icon” may be of interest. What is the connection between the work of Marie Curie and this crucial advancement in diagnostic and therapeutic healthcare?

Education Scotland Identified Good Practice – Aboyne Academy

The practice of inter-disciplinary learning in the Secondary context is one that is central to the underpinning ethos of Curriculum for Excellence. Schools all over Scotland are looking at ways in which this can be made as purposeful and meaningful as possible for both pupils and teachers and in that aspect Aboyne Academy is no different from any other.

Aboyne Academy’s efforts in this area were given favourable comment during a recent inspection so much so that the inspection team recommended that this practice be celebrated and shared via Glow TV.
During this Glow Meet you will be able to meet the teachers from a range of departments who have begun to collaborate in order to make inter-disciplinary learning work for them. You will see how Geography, Science and Maths, Drama and Guidance and RME and Physics have all worked together on different projects in a complementary fashion. You will be able to hear how the teachers worked together and what impact they feel such working has had on the teaching and learning at Aboyne.

Join in the Glow Meet in Glow TV on Tuesday 22nd May at 11am and get the chance to ask questions of colleagues who are are making inter-disciplinary learning work in their setting. Sign up and join us in Glow TV.

Creativity and You! Embedding Creativity Across Learning – National Event

25 May, Glasgow Science Centre, 10 am – 3.30 pm


This national event, organised by The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland, will showcase innovation across teaching and learning in a range of subjects beyond the expressive arts.

It will highlight just how imaginatively schools and teachers are already embedding creativity into their daily work, often in partnership with external organisations.

Teachers and senior managers in schools and the education sector will be able to draw on a range of good practice in promoting creative learning and improving learners’ creative skills within all subjects.

The day is designed to:

  • Explore what is meant by ‘Creativity skills for learning, life and work’.
  • Experience new and exciting approaches to motivating children to learn.
  • Discover different approaches taken to working with professionals and partners in delivering creative learning experiences.
  • Find out about the many resources and networks available to support creative teaching and learning.

To book a place, please contact with your name, title, contact details and local authority and any special requirements.

STEM Central Renewables and Learning for the new NQs: A Bright Solar Future?

Are you working with learners using the STEM Central Renewables context? Or planning for learning and teaching in the context of Energy Security associated with Physics or with Environmental Science?

The Guardian’s Newton Channel includes an 11 minute video about the world’s first commercial solar power plant, in Spain. Could this technology be used more widely to help the world build a sustainable, low carbon future? What are the limitations of this technology? What are the limitations of our ability to harness the sun’s energy? How much energy are we talking about? Learners in sunny places could try to recreate Sir John Herschel’s 1838 experiment or watch Brian Cox Measuring a Sunbeam.

Euroquiz for Primaries

A P7 team from St Mary’s Primary School in Duntocher, West Dunbartonshire, was the winner of yesterday’s Euroquiz 2012 Finals held at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. This annual competition continues to encourage learning about Europe and thinking about what it means to be a citizen of the European Union.

STEM Central Electric Transport, the smarter Smart car and a context for learning for the new NQs

Electric cars – are they a viable option as we seek a low carbon future? What are the limitations of the technologies currently available? If you are working with learners using the STEM Central Electric Transport context The Guardian’s Newton Channel includes a 6 minute video “Making Smart cars smarter” may be of interest. Scientists at the University of Newcastle are working to enhance Smart cars to allow them to travel longer distances without recharging.  

If your learners are interested in technologies associated with driving and transport, research from Newcastle University using an adapted electric car may also be of interest.

Or perhaps you are exploring Energy Security in the context of the new National Qualifications for Environmental Science, Physics or Science? In future, will we be plugging our electric cars into the Smart Grid to sell our excess  energy to others at times of peak demand? The University of Strathclyde is working in conjunction with leading energy companies to kick start Smart Grid development here in Scotland, with world class facilities under development in Cumbernauld.

Energy, energy security and our sustainable future, whether exploring the future of transport or the National Grid, offers an exciting and engaging context for planning learning and teaching to meet the needs of a range of learners, working within a range of levels.

Learning for the new NQs: The rise of performance-enhancing genes

A recent article from The Guardian “The rise of performance-enhancing genes” provides a link between advice and guidance to support planning for learning and teaching associated with National 5 Biology and the 2012 Olympics.

An athlete’s performance can be enhanced significantly by a single ‘super’ gene, but is it fair?

Learning for the new NQs and forthcoming Glow meet on Stem Cells

The forthcoming special edition of Talking Stem Cells Ethical Dilemma series featuring Dr Bill Ritchie who was involved in the creation of Dolly the Sheep is coming up on Thursday 17th May from 1100-1230. You can sign up and join in via Glow Tv – please drop in even if you can’t attend for the whole event.

This Glow meet, which incorporates an input from a patient who may benefit from stem cell therapy, comes at an ideal time to tie in with recent publication by Education Scotland of advice and guidance associated with the new National Qualifications in Biology. Why not take this opportunity for your current S2 learners who will be entering the Senior Phase in 2013/14 to learn more about a topic on which they can build for NQs in Biology? Or why not sign up as part of your own CPD, and consider how you can plan for forming partnerships with cutting edge research in Scotland to enhance learning and teaching?

 Background on Dolly the Sheep can be found at The Roslin Institute webpages.  

This event will be coming live from Gairloch High School in the Highlands and you can find a Student pack associated with this event in the Stem Cell Glow Group.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV on Thursday 17th May from 11-12.30pm – or for as long as you can!!


STEM Central and The James Hutton Institute Water Works

An update on The James Hutton Institute’s Water Works competition with the announcement of the April winner.

The April winner is Aimee Holton, aged 16, from Banchory Academy with her picture “Droplets”. Aimee says “You don’t realise how precious water is until you see things like the hosepipe ban in England. It makes us appreciate every last droplet even more”.

This exciting competition could be used in many contexts, including  to enrich the STEM Central water context. Details of the competition can be found on this blog, or in the competition details. Closing date is the 22nd of each month.

Learning for the new NQs: Inheritance


University of Sheffield research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that Darwinian theories of evolution and natural selection continue to affect humans. This short article from The Independent “Humans still evolving” could be included in plans for learning and teaching associated with our forthcoming advice and guidance for National 5 Biology on Inheritance. More information on the research work associated with this publication can be found on the University of Sheffield website Human Life-History.

The Ethical Dilemma- Special Edition

This is a special edition of the Talking Stem Cells Ethical Dilemma series with this event featuring Dr Bill Ritchie who was involved in the creation of Dolly the Sheep.

This workshop event is aimed at S1-S3 pupils (but is also suitable for P6/7 who would like to ask Dr Ritchie questions about his work) and is a mix of a short presentation from Dr Ritchie, interactive enquiry, student debate activities and live questions and answer interaction.

The Scientist

Dr Bill Ritchie is best known as the embryologist who, with a team of experts, produced the first cloned lambs from cultured cells, Morag and Megan. The following year he and his colleagues produced Dolly the first cloned animal from an adult cell. Following this success they produced Poly etc. the first cloned animals from transgenic cells. Later he produced the first cloned animal with a gene knocked out. This proved the principal that disease genes could be deleted from animals. There will be plenty of opportunity for the students to interact with the scientist.

The Patient

In addition to the scientist there will be input from a patient suffering from a disease who might have the potential to be treated by stem cell treatment.

This event will be coming live from Gairloch High School in the Highlands and you can find a Student pack associated with this event in the Stem Cell Glow Group.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV on Thursday 17th May from 11-12.30pm – or for as long as you can!!

Learning for the new NQs :Nuclear Power and Energy Security:

This week sees the shutdown of Japan’s last working nuclear reactor, in a country previously dependent on nuclear power for 30% of its energy needs.

Tomari shutdown leaves Japan without nuclear power

Energy Security is a rich context for learning which could meet the needs of learners for National 3, National 4, National 5 or Higher, in Environmental Science, Physics or Science. Advice and guidance aimed associated with Energy Security for National 4 Physics can be found on the Education Scotland website.

Advice and guidance associated with Nuclear Chemistry for National 5 has also been published. This has been written to intertwine the work of Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, exploring the issues associated with harnessing the power of the atom over the last 100 years and equally addressing the learning associated with National 5 Physics.

Throughout the advice and guidance, reflective questions are included to help you plan for learning and teaching to engage and challenge your learners. Does nuclear power play a role in our future? What about harnessing the atom’s power for other uses such as medical applications?

The Shared Responsibility Project

On Wednesday 16th May at 3.45pm we will be joined in the Glow TV Studio by PC Elaine MacLennan, SCDEA, who will be discussing and highlighting the Shared Responsibility project that is currently undertaken by schools throughout Scotland.

The project is run in conjunction with the Government of Colombia, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and the Science Centre Glasgow.

Scotland currently has the highest prevalence of cocaine use per head per capita of population in the world, (2011 UNODC report-annual prevalence of use as a percentage of the population aged 15-64)and Shared Responsibility is a creative and innovative project, utilising the concept of global collaboration to impact on the demand for Class A drugs and improve the environment/community both at home and abroad.

The aim of the project is to generate attitudinal and behavioural change in a fresh and inventive way by equipping young people with the tools they need to live healthy positive lives and assist with making the right choices in life.

Shared Responsibility embraces the key messages delivered in the national Choices for Life programme. It is hoped this will lead to pupils making positive choices in life, resulting in healthier lifestyles and enhanced citizenship. The programme is interdisciplinary in nature and designed to illustrate the benefits of Curriculum for Excellence. The project has developed pupils understanding, not only of their place in the world, but of the different beliefs and culture in Colombia and how cocaine in particular has an impact on communities on the other side of the world.

So why not sign up and join us in Glow TV?

Calling all educators interested in languages!

We are hosting a CPDMeet on Glow on the use of technology in the learning of Modern Foreign Languages. Catriona Oates (facilitator of MLPSNet on Glow) will host the online webconference. It will be of interest to language educators in all sectors; primary, secondary and special education.

It starts at 4pm on Thursday 17th May. More details and sign-up at

MLPSNet is a community on Glow which is open to all educators. See for details.

Note that this CPD opportunity came about as a request from one of our CPD community members. You too can ‘order’ free, online CPD on any subject matter using the service at

Wise up Wednesday – Learning about Scotland in the Early Years

Last chance to sign up for our next Saturday Conference!

Early Years Saturday Conference

Learning about Scotland in the Early Years

Saturday 19 May, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The study of Scotland is right at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence. This conference will provide an opportunity to develop practitioners’ understanding of a renewed emphasis on learning about Scotland and how we can enrich the learning experience for our youngest children.

Keynote speakers

  • Liz Niven – Liz is an award-winning poet who writes in English and Scots.
  • Juliet Robertson – Juliet is one of Scotland’s leading education consultants, specialising in learning and play outdoors.
  • Dr Donald Smith – Donald is the Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, as well as a novelist, poet, playwright and storyteller.

Vist here to find out more.

If you are already attending why not join our Early Years Saturday Conference community and meet other attendees before the event?

Visit and make a pledge today!

The Early Years Team

STEM Central Bioengineering and a Marathon Achievement

Following on from our post about our most recent STEM Central context “Bioengineering” great news from the BBC about Claire Lomas’ successful completion of the London Marathon.

Claire was paralysed in a horse riding accident in 2006, and is the first person to complete a marathon in a “bionic” suit, taking 16 days to complete the 26.2 mile course.  Find out more about how bioengineering and technology can change lives from BBC News Paralysed Woman Claire Lomas treasures 16-day London Marathon and “‘Bionic’ woman Claire Lomas completes London Marathon”  and from the company which made the “bionic” suit ReWalk Bionics Research.

Learning for the new NQs: Food Security

Recent headlines on GM food from the BBC tie in with the Food Security published advice and guidance for National 4 Science and National 5 Biology. Food Security and sustainability as contexts also lend themselves to planning for learning and teaching associated with Environmental Science.

The advice and guidance includes reflective questions to aid you in planning for topical, relevant and challenging learning appropriate for your learners. What is GM? Will it play a role in feeding the world’s population of 7 billion and rising?

Millions for Disadvantaged Communities

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, has announced the new People and Communities Fund to promote and support community-led regeneration initiatives across Scotland, is open for applications.

The People and Communities Fund will invest in community anchor organisations that deliver local regeneration activity and promote change in our most disadvantaged communities. The fund will have particular focus on supporting initiatives to increase people’s chances of entering employment, from progressing further in current work to help break down any barriers people face when considering employment.

In addition to supporting employability, focus will also be on promoting future preventative spending, such as investing in initiatives that will help improve health now to prevent future illness and hardship.

[ website ]

Food Revolution Day! Saturday 19th May


Together we can change the way people eat by educating every child about food, giving families the skills and knowledge to cook again, and motivating people to stand up for their rights to better food. Add your voice to the conversation with your best cooking and food education tip, favorite ingredient, or tell us why you support the Food Revolution and what actions you are taking. 

Click here to access a helpful PDF on 30 ideas to start a Food Revolution.

STEM Central Bioengineering: Mind controlled robots and robot legs

Our most recent published context for STEM Central “Bioengineering” provides a rich basis for learning in sciences and technologies.

The BBC reports on Claire Lomas. Following an horse riding accident in 2006, Claire was told she would never walk again. Now, using the ReWalk bionic walking device, Claire has set off on her Marathon challenge, aiming to finish within three weeks of the start on 22nd April 2012.

Paralysed Woman to tackle marathon on robot legs

Paralysed Woman continues London Marathon with bionic legs

The Telegraph reports on “Mind-controlled robot for paraplegics unveiled” tying in the Brain Computer Interfacing learning journey with recent news which provide hope for paraplegics.

STEM Central and The James Hutton Institute’s Water Works

Earlier this year, we blogged about this exciting opportunity which can be used in many contexts, including to enrich the STEM Central water context.

A trickling burn, a flooded street, a horse’s trough or a grand Scottish loch – no matter what comes to mind when you think of water the Water Works competition wants your photographs. The James Hutton Institute has now announced the March winner of the competition,  John Smith, Age 8, from Orkney. His picture, shown above, is called “The Flood at the Pumping Station” and shows his local pumping station at North Stronsay, flooded due to the nearby loch overflowing.

The James Hutton Institute’s Facebook page has more information on the March entries and how you can take part in May’s competition.

Need some more inspiration on water? 

Whether you are working with the STEM Central Flood Management learning journeys in the context of social sciences, technologies or maths, or planning learning and teaching around themes of sustainability for new National Qualifications, this article published in The Telegraph, by James Dyson “Engineering can save us from drought” might provide information or inspiration. Perhaps you could use this year’s Dyson Challenge as a basis for learning, maybe your learners hold the key to saving water for a more sustainable future?

If your learners are considering the current drought and flood situation in large parts of England, why not use it as an opportunity to explore the role of engineers in sustainability? We would love to hear your ideas on our STEM Central in Motion blog.

Or try using the mindmap tool in Glow Science to kickstart thinking for you or your learners.

The James Hutton Institute via the Centre of Expertise for Waters  are running a year long competition aimed at raising awareness of water and water-related issues across both primary and secondary ages. The competition, with monthly prizes, aims to encourage learners to think about the natural environment and make the link between CfE curriculum areas Sciences, Technologies and Expressive Arts. The competition page gives background on the competition and entry instructions.

Learning in the new NQs: numeracy in sciences

Education Scotland’s recently published advice and guidance includes exemplification of skills appropriate to National 4 and National 5. These have been exemplified in a biological context for National 4 Science, and in a physics context for National 5 Physics and can be used by practitioners to consider the level of challenge appropriate to N4 and N5 in terms of Building the Curriculum 4: Skills for Learning, Life and Work, the SQA’s Skills Framework, and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

One area of numeracy you may be planning to explore with learners is the issue of causality and correlation. Can we use data to draw conclusions? Among the examples included in the advice and guidance for science is a consideration of whether or not there is a link between Type 2 diabetes and obesity. A starting point for discussion comes from the BBC’s Go Figure series in this article Watching out for Wimbledon-washing machine links. Does Wimbledon fortnight really affect demand for washing machine repairs?

STEM Central and a Focus on the Eye: Electronic Eye Implant Trials Prove Successful

Another UK first which you could link into learning around the STEM Central Bioengineering context. The Glasgow Herald, The Telegraph and the BBC have reported on this breakthrough, in which the 3mm x 3mm electronic implant fitting with over 1500 light sensitive pixels replaces the function of the rods and cones. In this short video ‘How pioneering eye implant helped my sight’, Robin Millar explains how the implant works for him.

This clinical trial ties in with the BBC’s Bionic Body series which provides information, videos and images which perfectly complement our most recent STEM Central Bioengineering context exploring how bionics can transform lives.

Perhaps the learning and teaching you are planning is focused on the eye? This could be an opportunity to compare and contrast advances in sight restoration by learning about the electronic implant approach, compared with the other recent advances, for example in stem cell therapies.

BBC News Scientists restore sight in blind mice

BBC News Acid attack modelKatie Piper gets sight back

BBC News Hope for eye treatment using STEM Cells

Who would benefit from each of the different approaches? Are the risks and benefits of the different approaches comparable in terms of development and for patient use?

Simple Acts on Glow TV

Simple Acts is about inspiring individuals to use small, everyday actions to change perceptions of refugees and Glow TV is getting involved once again to highlight this just before Scottish Refugee Week.

Simple Acts consists of 20 actions that can be done by anyone and that encourage us to learn and do more with refugees. With every person who joins in on the idea and does a small thing with and for refugees, we get a little closer to removing barriers between communities and to creating the kind of world we all want to live in.

We believe that if everyone does at least one of these simple actions, we could make a big change to the way refugees are perceived in Scotland. Simple Acts are both fun and educational, contributing to the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence.

Over the next few weeks we will be joining the Scottish Refugee Council every Wednesday at 11am in Glow TV to find out more about:

  • the Spirit Project on 9th May with an update on the 30th May
  • learn about a refugee’s experience on 16th May
  • cooking a dish from another country on 23rd May
  • There are also supporting materials in the Simple Acts Glow Group which will also be of use.

    Also if you are fundraising at school you can get the most out of your Simple Acts by raising funds for vulnerable new arrivals at Scottish Refugee Council. There are many ways you could help – you could charge for quiz entry or even for others to taste your cooking! You can find out more about fundraising on the Scottish Refugee Council website.

    Find out more about what is on offer in Glow TV and sign up and join us – just look for the Simple Acts logo!

    SCCYP – Your RIGHT wee blether feedback

    Once again join Tam Baillie and the Blether Bear live from Eyemouth Nursery and Primary in the Scottish Borders to hear about all the exciting things your children said in a RIGHT wee blether.

    Tam will be saying thank you to everyone who took part and telling the story of a RIGHT wee blether.

    It will be a chance for your children to find out what the Blether Bear has been doing and to ask Tam what he has been doing since our last Glow Meet.

    Sign up and join us for fun and games on the day!