STEM Central

Is the BBC Focus Magazine using STEM Central’s contexts for inspiration? In this month’s edition, two articles which might be of interest if you are planning for learning and teaching using STEM Central.

In February 2012 we published our Bioengineering context. Something to extend this context is an article “Grow your Own Body” about advances in regenerative medicine, and use of our own stem cells to grow new body tissue to order.

Coming soon is our early years to fourth level journey through Sound. “Souped-Up Sound: Are these the most high-tech headphones ever” suggests another use for the learning within our fourth level journey.

STEM Central Sound context…a holographic link

Holoxica, a company based at the University of Edinburgh, has used sonar scan data to build a 3D hologram of the HMS Royal Oak, where it sank on the seabed near Orkney having been hit by torpedoes in October 1939. The 3D holographic image is expected to go on display to the public around Scotland. A perfect link to our soon to be published EY to fourth level context on Sound.

West Lothian External School Hub – Partnership Working

West Lothian has set up a forum known as the External School Hub to enable all partnership agencies to come together in a solution-focussed approach to supporting vulnerable young people who require more choices and more chances into a positive pathway. The External Hub adopts a holistic approach to providing maximum support which involves close partnership working (including young people and parents) to enable the young people to benefit from a personalised education and support package either within or outwith the school setting.

more information

Early Years case study published – Family literacy project: Brucehill tots speak Scots

Using the Scots language as a context for learning, this project aimed to help parents/carers to support their child’s literacy development with particular emphasis on talking and listening skills.

Find out more here.

West Lothian External School Hub – Partnership Working

West Lothian has set up a forum known as the External School Hub to enable all partnership agencies to come together in a solution-focussed approach to supporting vulnerable young people who require more choices and more chances into a positive pathway. The External Hub adopts a holistic approach to providing maximum support which involves close partnership working (including young people and parents) to enable the young people to benefit from a personalised education and support package either within or outwith the school setting.

Inquiry into decision-making on taking children into care

Education and Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament is holding an inquiry into the decision-making processes involved in determining whether a child should be removed from the family home and taken into care; and whether these processes are delivering the best outcomes for children and their families.

The Committee is interested in undertaking informal fact-finding visits as part of the evidence-gathering process. Please contact if you are interested in hosting one of these visits.

Deadline for written evidence: 28 August 2012


Children and Young People Bill

The Scottish Government is consulting on its vision for children and young people’s rights and services. The Bill’s measures include:

  • embedding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child across the public sector;
  • extending the powers of the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People to enable the Commissioner to undertake investigations on behalf of individual children and young people;
  • increasing the funded annual provision of pre-school education for 3 and 4 year olds and looked-after 2 year olds;
  • fully implementing the Getting it right for every child approach across Scotland so that all children and young people have a Named Person;
  • introducing a single planning process to support children and young people needing the involvement of a range of services;
  • raising the age at which young people leaving care can ask for help from a local authority from 21 to 25; placing a clearer definition of corporate parenting is put on statute. YouthLink Scotland will consult with our membership on a response to the Bill. Further details will be available in due course.

Further information can be found on the scottish government Website

English as an Additional Language (EAL) – CPD Resource

The new EAL section offers practitioners guidance on supporting bilingual learners. It covers recent developments in EAL, addresses key issues for each sector area, provides reflective questions and links to new examples of good practice from early years, primary and secondary establishments. There are also links to relevant resources across Education Scotland and beyond, including a collection of useful Journey to Excellence videos offering support in dealing with the wide range of issues that can affect bilingual learners.

North Ayrshire-Extended Outreach Case Study- Supporting Young People into Positive and Sustained Destinations

This filmed case study with reflective questions to support planning for choices and changes, MCMC and 16+ Learning Choices is now available on the Education Scotland website.

The case study highlights the support available from a range of partners in planning for choices and change (including 16+ learning choices) to post 16 transition stage. The case study is located in the planning for choices and change/16+ Learning Choices areas of the website. Key themes covered are inclusion, GIRFEC and support for young people with additional support needs. This case study will benefit all partners working with young people in the senior phase and post school.

Emerging Powers

The social studies DO met with a team of writers this week to start work on a new website ‘Emerging Powers’. This website will aim to promote a thematic approach to learning and teaching across the social subjects. The meeting was extremely productive…… so watch this space for ‘Emerging Powers’!!

Have you seen Beads, Bawbees and Banknotes?

This free resource about money can now be ordered from the Museum on the Mound, Edinburgh. The Glow-based version has been available for many months – but the disc provides even more material…

Use it to discover:
What is the oldest form of Money?
Why do we use coins?
What can you find on a banknote?
How do banks keep money safe?

For further information download the Beads, Bawbees and Banknotes PDF flyer.

The resource has been designed for flexible use by teachers and pupils, and can be linked to many areas of the curriculum. Ensure that you visit the Beads, Bawbees and Banknotes Glow Group!

Schools IT Excellence Group set up

The Scottish Government has announced that Education Secretary Michael Russell has appointed the Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Muffy Calder to convene an ICT Excellence Group to consider the future development of the schools’ intranet ‘Glow’.

 The new ICT Excellence Group will draw on the experience and expertise of end-users, and educational technology experts to scope the long-term user-centred future of Glow.

 Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell said:

 “It is crucial that the next generation of Glow allows schools to harness the power of technology for learning, to keep pace with rapidly evolving developments and speak the language that young people speak online.

 “Professor Calder’s group will have the challenge of imagining a future for the service that can be customised to the individual requirements of our young people, is dynamic and can remain relevant for years to come. I look forward to receiving their advice later this year.”

 The group members are now announced as follows: Prof Muffy Calder, Prof Ian Sommerville, Prof Mike Sharples, Mr Ewan McIntosh, Mr Charlie Love, Prof Bill Buchanan, Mr Hamish Budge, Prof Jeff Haywood, Mr Neil Winton, Mr Tony Rafferty, Mr Fraser Speirs, Ms Jaye Richards Hill and Mr Martin Dewar who will facilitate the involvement of two school pupils in the group.

See announcement on Engage for Education.

Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace 2012

The Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace is now online and covers a wide range of exhibitions, conversations, workshops and performances. Please go to the the following link anfd have a look:

New advice and guidance published for Maths National 2

The advice and guidance document on personal mathematics gives practitioners support in developing relevant learning experiences for learners covering this National 2 Mathematics unit. It is intended to provide support for practitioners in developing cross-curricular projects.

New advice and guidance published for Skills National 2

This advice and guidance is designed to support practitioners working with learners at National 2 level. It provides guidance to practitioners to support the development of learning experiences which will incorporate both knowledge and the development of skills and provides examples of how skills can be formatively assessed and progression planned for and profiled.

Edinburgh International Book Festival and Glow TV

This year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival RBS School Programme is bigger than ever before. It runs from 20th – 28th August in Charlotte Square Edinburgh and many events are live in Glow TV! It’s also truly international with writers from Australia, Canada, the USA, France and Poland as well as from all parts of the UK.

Our guests selector is Vivian French who has designed a series of events with the theme of story creation for those who are reluctant readers. Viv struggled at school with the mechanics of reading and writing and so understands the challenges some young people face. She also understands the challenges this can pose for teachers and her event is designed to engage the children whilst giving simple, yet effective, ideas for the classroom. Friday 24th August

2012 Programme Debuts
Although we know that there are some authors who are hugely popular every year, we also aim to introduce you to new and emerging writers. This year, we have a number of School Programme debuts:

• Alex T Smith: both an illustrator and writer, Alex’s event will involve storytelling and drawing – perfect for P1-P3. Monday 20th.
• Gill Lewis: Described as the next Michael Morpurgo, Gill’s novels beautifully describe nature, wildlife and the Scottish coast. Monday 20th.
• Nicola Davies: Former presenter of the Really Wild Show, Nicola will talk all things natural history. Tuesday 21st
• Gill Arbuthnott: Biology teacher and novelist, Gill will be talking about her first picture book all about a trip to tthe zoo. Friday 24th.
• Atinuke: African storyteller and author, Atinuke conjurs the sights, sounds and smells of African village life. Friday 24th.
• Barroux: French illustrator and writer, Barroux will be taking a trip to the streets of Paris. Ideal for planning fun French week activities. Monday 27th.

• Sue Reid Sexton: Sue will talk about her novel set during the time of the Clydebank Blitz. Monday 20th.
• Margo Lanagan: Flying in from Australia, Margo will be discussing her dark, disturbing yet compelling novels. Tuesday 21st.
• Shaun Tan: Perfect for senior art students, Shaun will discuss his wordless novel and his Oscar winning film. Wednesday 22nd.
• Alexander Gordon Smith & Susanne Winnacker: Delve into the world of zombies with two leading horror writers. Thursday 23rd.
• Andrew Hammond & Paul Dowswell: Two writers who explore the impact of the war on ordinary people. Friday 24th.
• Amy Plum & KJ Wignall: History is so much fun when told by vampires and immortals who have actually ‘lived’ through it. Forget Bella & Edward, come and meet the undead with real bite. Monday 27th.

So check out the full programme on the Edinburgh International Book Festival website and also check out the Glow TV schedule and sign up for events that you want to join in virtually!!

New advice and guidance published for English National 2

The National 2 English and Communication course builds on the experiences and outcomes of the literacy and English curriculum area and enables learners to develop the ability to understand and use language. 

This advice and guidance will support practitioners as they plan their approaches.

See list of latest advice and guidance.