Heads of Instrumental Teaching Scotland Conference

The Heads of Instrumental Teaching Scotland conference took place in Aviemore on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st January.

The conference brought together a range of stakeholders with a focus on discussing the recommendations set out in the Scottish Government commissioned report into the future and provision of music tuition throughout the country. The report can be accessed through the following link:

Instrumental Music Tuition in Scotland Report

More information can also be found on the Scottish Government website with regards taking forward the recommendations.

Music Education in Scottish schools

The conference was opened by the chair of the Instrumental Music Implementation Group, David Green, who outlined the challenges, solutions and ideas for setting a strategic direction and taking forward a dynamic and creative instrumental music service. This view was endorsed by Tim Simons from Scottish Government who has been involved with the Instrumental Music Review Group from the outset. Tim outlined the commitment of Scottish Government in supporting the implementation of the recommendations. Tim also spoke about the opportunities presented through the National Instrumental Music Conference organised by VSCS on behalf of Scottish Government and in conjunction with ADES and EIS taking place in Murrayfield on Wednesday 26th February 2014.

Discussion pieces based around the recommendations from the ‘Instrumental Music Tuition in Scotland,’ report formed the basis of the conference work, with inputs from a range of professionals and practitioners, such as Fran Hanley (Musicians Union), Lio Moscardini (Strathclyde University), Mark Traynor (EIS), Paul Woods (HITS).
The first discussion looked at generating ideas for recommendation 1:
“Music Education, including the distinctive part played by Instrumental Music Tuition, would benefit from a National Vision Statement.”
This first conversation set a very positive tone for the remainder of the conference which facilitated the sharing of ideas and put Instrumental Music Tuition in Scotland in a strong position as it moves forward.

Win £150 of books for your school

Every year Scottish Book Trust love to see what schools have been up to during Book Week Scotland. If your school got involved in any activities during Book Week Scotland 2013, however big or small, we’d love to hear from you!

Fill out our quick survey, and you could win £150 of books for your school. Our deadline for submission is Friday 28 February 2014.

Sciences Conversation Day 4

Following the publication of the updated 3-18 Curriculum Impact Report for Sciences in October 2013, Education Scotland hosted a series of conversation days to engage stakeholders in discussions around the findings of the report and to collectively identify priorities for action to secure improvements in science education nationally.

The fourth conversation day took place in Bucksburn Academy, Aberdeen, on 12th December 2013 and brought together around 40 participants from the local authority, Satrosphere Science Centre, Aberdeen University and representatives from industry, universities and schools. Delegates heard presentations from Kittybrewster Primary School, Bucksburn Academy, Glaxo Smith Kline and the University of Aberdeen.

Following the welcome presentation participants split into small discussion groups to identify the key priorities for improving science education. Discussions focussed on three themes:

  1. Priorities for sciences education
  2. Identifying partnerships that work
  3. What does great learning in the sciences look like?

 Priorities for sciences education


Delegates recognised:

  • initiatives have been undertaken to address the gap in attainment however more was required to ensure those from the most deprived backgrounds are not disadvantaged further by their educational experience
  • the importance of support at home which had to be encouraged through good communication between parents and staff
  • developing good numeracy and literacy skills in primary helped access the sciences curriculum. This did not appear to be continuing at secondary, why?


Delegates suggested:

  • local authorities should lead and coordinate science in all sectors. They should be providing early years and primary teachers with high quality, sustained science CPD opportunities
  • every primary school should have a science coordinator/nominated teacher with responsibility for science.


  • Delegates highlighted the lack of confidence in science knowledge and expertise which can affect learning and teaching in the primary sector.
  • Practitioners are fully aware of the  importance of  bringing the real world into the classroom to motivate and engage learners and believe this can be achieved if they have access to relevant,  high quality CPD and are given time to commit to CPD.
  • Authorities should provide financial support to assist practitioners in accessing resources to facilitate and support their teaching.
  • In the primary sector qualified teachers in the STEM subjects would be advantageous

Cluster working

  • Delegates viewed that early years, primary and secondary colleagues should work as a team and there should be greater use of cross – sector links e.g. primary pupils should be invited to the secondary science club

Learners attending the conversation day highlighted the areas they regarded as being the key priorities in sciences education:

  • key to accessing the sciences curriculum is the relationship between learner and teacher and good communication ­– they needed to feel confident about asking for help
  • active learning in the sciences should be a priority
  • Practical activities helped engage learners and develop higher order thinking skills
  • homework should be relevant to the learning at the time and coordinated better between departments to avoid overloading learners
  • learning through real life contexts is extremely important
  • practitioners had to address the variety of learning styles and offer a variety of teaching experiences to engage and motivate pupils.


Delegates highlighted a number of concerns relating to the secondary sector which they viewed as being key priorities in teaching the sciences:

  •  inadequate amount of time to deliver content within the new CfE qualifications – the issue of pace in learning and teaching has to be addressed to avoid putting learners under pressure
  • sequencing of teaching is a concern
  • Timescales for publishing of guidance documentation, support materials and resources has to be brought forward
  • Examples of assessments and tracking for the broad general education would be helpful
  • Difficulties of teaching N4 and N5 in the same class
  • Clarification is still required with regards to some aspects of assessment within the new national qualifications
  • Can universities help with the added value units?
  • Address gender bias within subjects – must address the image of  women in the sciences to get more girls to take physics.

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views. Click on the title of this blog post to leave a comment.

Game On Scotland Event: 26 March, Dundee

Last in the series!

With just over 20 weeks to go before the biggest multi-sport and cultural event ever to come to Scotland, we invite practitioners to find out more on how the Commonwealth Games may provide a unique opportunities to create stimulating learning across the curriculum and beyond.

What will be delivered?
The event will showcase inspirational initiatives from schools across the spectrum and highlight a vast amount of resources and opportunities available to teachers ensuring that, together, we are able to deliver a lasting legacy for learning.

Addresses will be delivered by a wide range of inspirational speakers covering topics from international programmes to physical and Games related education.

A variety of engaging workshops delivered by practitioners and organisations will provide practical, hands-on exemplification on the impact of using the Games as a context for learning. Workshop sessions will include:

  • case studies from primary and secondary schools
  • inspirational address by people directly engaged with the Games and its legacy
  • international education and partnerships
  • funding opportunities around food education in the context of the Games
  • cluster and local authority initiatives

View the Game On Scotland Event DRAFT programme – 26 March, Dundee.

Who should attend?

Graph showing participant rating of previous eventsTeachers, lead staff and those with a whole school responsibility for Games Legacy, including cluster initiatives and wider curriculum remits related to the Games (e.g. active schools coordinator, health and wellbeing).

This is the third event of our CPD series, following events in Glasgow and Inverness. The previous two events were considered useful by over 98% of delegates attending.

How to register:

We invite you to join us for an inspirational day of sharing and collaborative thinking around a variety of exciting opportunities by registering for the event online or directly with Diane Carson: Diane.Carson@educationscotland.gov.uk

Cineworld Education Events

Cineworld has partnered with a number of organisations to create some unique learning opportunities this year.

First on 18th March at 10.30am we have a special schools encore screening of War Horse from the National Theatre. PG 8 cert 180mins

Substantial teaching resources are available at:


On 31st March at 10.00am there is a live interactive Q&A with the author Michael Morpurgo and a screening of Private Peaceful. U Cert 180mins

Every child has the opportunity to submit a question to the author and will receive a free copy of his book A Medal For Leroy.


On 5th June we have a live presentation from the British Museum’s Viking exhibition, last years Pompeii presentation was very popular and this is sure to be the same and directly relevant to the curriculum. U cert 60mins 


Finally on 17th March at 7.15pm there is an opportunity to see the amazing documentary Hubble and hear a talk and Q&A by the wonderful Professor Martin Hendry from Glasgow University Astrophysics department.  U cert 90mins


 These events are only available in cinemas. For details of which Cineworld cinemas in Scotland are screening these events please see www.cineworld.co.uk.

For bookings and any other queries please contact Gow Gibson, Education Officer at gow.gibson@cineworld.co.uk   0141 419 1740 or 07815707921

STEM Central Food Security Learning Journeys

Education Scotland has produced a series of second level learning journeys addressing the subject of Food Security, which is about people having enough food and water to survive.

There are many factors affecting food security around the world such as natural disasters and the weather, which can lead to malnutrition, disease and ultimately death.

Science, technology and maths play an important part in improving food security through, for example, the development of new drought resistant crops, fertilisers and pesticides.  

The food security learning journeys enable learners to develop an understanding of plant life cycle and growth conditions, recognise the importance of a biodiverse ecosystem and understand that all life depends on plants. There are also Teachers’ Notes and additional resources to support the learning experiences.  

Access the food security learning journeys and resources on Stem Central through:  http://bit.ly/1btaxg0

National Literacy Network – March 2014

The NLN Conference is once again taking place in Stirling Management Centre on Thursday 6th March and for those of you who are unable to attend we will be broadcasting two sessions live from there on the day.

Our first live broadcast is a Keynote presentation from David Didau, literacy specialist, teacher, author and blogger. He will discuss and explore writing across the curriculum.

This session will be broadcast from 9:40am.

Our second live broadcast is the popular 10 minute presentation slot. Practitioners from a range of establishments will share ideas and practice related to Writing.

This session will be broadcast from 11.50am.

We hope that you can join us live on the day but if not the recordings will be available in Watch Again.

Artist Will MacLean Talks to Glow

What inspires a leading contemporary artist? How does an artist go about his work? How do I develop as an artist? If you’ve ever had questions like these then this is the Glow TV event for you!

As part of the preparation for the MUSA Young Artist Award 2014 renowned Fife-based artist Will Maclean will be talking about his life and work and will be answering YOUR questions.

Will is going to speak briefly about his own work and career before taking your questions.

The MUSA Young Artist Award is an art competition for schools in Fife organised by the Museum of the University of St Andrews.

Schools from all over Scotland are invited to participate in this Glow TV event on Thursday 27th February at 10.45am. Sign up and join us in Glow TV!

SCHOLAR – Modern Languages Revision

On 25th February Glow TV is delighted to offer Higher and Advanced Higher Students the opportunity to join a session on Modern Languages provided by SCHOLAR. These sessions will be presented by Douglas Angus, SCHOLAR Online Tutor for Modern Languages.

There will also be an opportunity for students to participate in a Q&A session at the end of the session.

Modern Languages Higher students – Getting better marks for reading – 7.30pm – 8.15pm

Modern Languages Advanced Higher students – Reading: how to do better and deal with inferential question – 8.15pm – 9pm

Game on Scotland – Sciences Learning Zone

On the 4th of February, our Game on Scotland Sciences panel set a real life problem solving STEM challenge for you and your learners.

The STEM Challenge
Learners will identify a piece of sporting equipment used in one of the 17 Commonwealth events Sports and demonstrate how they would improve the design to enhance performance or design a completely new piece of equipment for a particular sport.

Each team of learners will then present their design to the Dragon’s Den, which will consist of experts from the STEM subjects, at our second Sciences Learning Zone event on 25th February at 11am.
Inspiration for the challenge can be accessed through the Game on Scotland Science of Sport Learning Journey

Join schools who took part in the challenge to explore how they went about solving the problems.

Take part in the discussion and share your strategies and solutions with the country. Did you use the same strategies or different ones? Are some more efficient than others?

Join us and find out!

Technologies Impact Review – John Paul II – Technologies in the nursery

The Technologies Impact Review (TIR) is one of two aspect reviews being conducted by Education Scotland over 2013-14.  The other is literacy and English.  Similar reports were published in 2013 on science, social studies (on Education Scotland website) – these had similar process and objectives as for TIR: “What is it like to be a learner 3-18 in Scotland?  What contribution do the technologies make to that experience, and what is their impact on young people?”

 This blog post is part of a series of blogs sharing practice that has been seen in the schools visited as part of the review.

Through the daily use of iPads and the interactive board the children are becoming more confident with technology as they participate in real “hands on “experiences. They can take photographs, make videos and have learned about direction through the use of a programmes like “Terry Turtle”.

The nursery has introduced other aspects of the technologies by introducing a woodwork bench and tools.  This was a perfect opportunity to seek the help of parents and get them involved in what they were doing in the nursery.

They displayed a poster asking for parents/grandparents to help out and demonstrate woodwork skills.

A volunteer parent who is a design & technology teacher came forward and offered to share her expertise with the children. She set up stations around the bench involving drilling, sawing, hammering and sanding, allowing the children to explore the tools and to begin to develop appropriate skills.  They discussed the type of wood, tools and the skills required to use them safely.  Staff benefitted from this experience as they were able to develop new skills and continue good practice demonstrated.

The children sawed and sanded a small block of wood to glue on to a wooden Christmas tree.  As part of this activity the children were given plastic stars with their names engraved on them, to hang on the blocks as decorations. They also painted and decorated the tree and it was displayed in the playroom during December.

Following these activities the young people continue to develop the skills learned and use the woodwork bench regularly, indoors and outdoors. The children enjoy wearing the safety glasses when sawing and the ear protectors when hammering.

Impact/Benefits of the craft, design, engineering and graphics project

Young people are

  • developing fine and gross motor skills
  • gaining confidence in using resources/ materials
  • being given opportunities to explore and use new materials
  • developing skills for ‘Life Long Learning’

Staff and practitioners are

  • Involving the parents in the community and using their skills
  • taking part in high quality CPD

Technologies Impact Review – Williamwood High School – Using QR codes

The Technologies Impact Review (TIR) is one of two aspect reviews being conducted by Education Scotland over 2013-14.  The other is literacy and English.  Similar reports were published in 2013 on science, social studies (on Education Scotland website) – these had similar process and objectives as for TIR: “What is it like to be a learner 3-18 in Scotland?  What contribution do the technologies make to that experience, and what is their impact on young people?”

 This blog post is part of a series of blogs sharing practice that has been seen in the schools visited as part of the review.

What is a QR code?

For those of you unfamiliar with QR (quick response) codes, they are similar to bar codes and contain information specific to an item. A key benefit of a QR code is that any amount of information can be attached to them. Creating QR codes is easy, free and you do not have to be an ICT expert to produce them. The following website contains information on how to get started https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/. You can produce QR codes to use during lessons, using them in a variety of ways to enhance learning and teaching. To access the information contained within QR codes you will need the “scan” app. Apps are easily downloaded and installed on any mobile device.

 Example of an activity using QR codes:

QR codes have been used to enhance learning and teaching in Practical Woodworking across several topics such as, tools, processes, materials and construction. For each lesson, the format is generally the same, however alterations are made to ensure the lesson remains current. QR codes, some containing answers, descriptions and questions based on the topic being taught are produced and printed separately on A5 paper. A5 image sheets containing one picture and a QR code linked to the picture are also created. Finally, an answer sheet containing blanks linked to the answers, questions and descriptions found in the QR codes is produced. QR codes can be placed around the classroom and adjoining corridor.

 The Lesson:

During the lesson learners are placed into groups of no more than four. Learners are given instructions to find the answers/descriptions missing on their answer sheet.  Learners then work through a task using their answer sheet to identify a series of items found on their desks. For example, if the lesson focused on woods, learners would use their answer sheet to determine what answers/descriptions matched the wood samples given. In total, a timeframe of 20 minutes is given and a timer is placed on the interactive board.

 On completion, learners begin peer assessment using a carousel system, placing ticks/crosses next to answers they agree/disagree with. Once the carousel is complete, each group returns to their own desk to see how well they have done. Learners can then share their views as to why they agreed/disagreed with other groups. This informs discussion and allows learners to utilise their knowledge in teaching one another. It also allows the teacher to raise important teaching points, to ensure learners understanding is further improved and correct.

 Why was this approach taken?

This approach was taken because the theory in Practical Woodworking can be seen by learners as repetitive and they find it difficult to retain the knowledge required. There is no final exam and practitioners often find that learners do not recognise the importance of developing their knowledge and struggle to recall information when prompted or when working through tasks, tests and homework. This approach allows the development of knowledge and understanding to be an active part of the course.

 What are the benefits for learners?

Learners gain several benefits from this approach. They are given the opportunity to explore their own understanding and share this with their peers, develop their critical thinking skills and become active in revision and assessment. The approach also utilises current technologies, whilst giving learners the opportunity to bring their own technology into the classroom. The topic naturally informs group discussion amongst learners and the teacher. Learners are also given ownership of assessment enabling them to peer assess work, which deepens their understanding, whilst continuing to develop their literacy skills.


Calling all young Citizen Scientists!


The British Science Association are delighted to be partnering with EDF Energy for year one of their five year citizen science programme, The Great EDF Energy Experiment. In collaboration with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, we will be inviting schools and families to take part in the Big Bumblebee Discovery, to help scientists understand more about bumblebees across the UK.
This nationwide project will be a huge opportunity for kids to get hands-on experience of conducting scientific research, and we’ve linked up with the Pod to provide loads of free educational resources and activities.

Find out more

Let science into your heart with the Edinburgh International Science Festival

Edinburgh International Science Festival 2014 celebrates ‘Science at the Heart of Everything’, inviting audiences of all ages to discover the science all around us over two weeks from 5th – 20th April:

  • GastroFest – a mini-festival about the science of food and drink
  • Making It – a celebration of Maker culture and DIY Science
  • Scotland Decides – a series examining the political questions shaping our scientific future
  • Science at the HeART of Things – an exhibition and installation programme showcasing artists inspired by science
  • The Reading Experiment – a campaign celebrating science writing in all its forms
  • Summerhall announced as major new venue partner, hosting a brand new programme of events for all ages
  • Prof Mary Abukutsa-Onyango announced as recipient of the Edinburgh Medal 2014 
  • Last year’s Edinburgh Medal recipient and Nobel Prize winner Prof Peter Higgs to appear in discussion, one of many leading scientists and speakers visiting the Festival

Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Director of Edinburgh International Science Festival, said: “This year’s Science Festival will see hundreds of the best and brightest minds in science and technology gather in Edinburgh to debate and celebrate some of the biggest, and sometimes controversial ideas in science. For two weeks the city becomes the perfect melting pot for discussion, as we explore the ideas that place science smack-bang at the centre of all of our lives”.

The 2014 programme unlocks the many ways in which we are unquestionably connected to science and technology. With events examining the science in food and drink, politics, art and literature, and even DIY, audiences can discover science in new ways and surprising places, question the ever-increasing prominence of technology in our lives and how this shapes all aspects of our society.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival runs from Saturday 5 to Sunday 20 April 2014. Full details of the 2014 programme can be found at www.sciencefestival.co.uk. Tickets for all events can be booked online via the website or through the Box Office on 0844 557 2686 from 11am Thursday 13 February 2014.

The Daily What

This service is under review and no longer available. We are committed to procuring high quality content that aligns with Curriculum for Excellence and meets the needs and expectations of our key stakeholders. The Daily What has been available on Glow since August 2010. We are currently reviewing content available on Glow to ensure it meets the requirements of users.

Please tell us what you think by taking this short survey and by leaving any comments below.
Many thanks.

Primary curriculum conversation day

Education Scotland is holding a conversation day focused on the primary curriculum on Friday 7 March in Duloch Primary School, Dunfermline. This event is aimed at school leaders.  We are keen to take stock of how the curriculum is developing in primary schools and hear school leaders’ views and experiences.

The purpose of the day is to:
•    consider how the curriculum is developing in the primary sector, particularly in relation to the raised expectations; and
•    identify areas that require further support and what that support needs to look like.

There will be opportunities to hear from a variety of colleagues as to how they are taking forward curriculum development at a strategic level in their schools as well as time for discussion.

If you would be interested in attending please contact margaret.mcguinness@educationscotland.gov.uk. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note travel expenses are not paid for conversation days.

If you would be interested in attending please contact margaret.mcguinness@educationscotland.gov.uk. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note travel expenses are not paid for conversation days.

Music Working Group

The subject working group for Music convened for the initial meeting on Monday 3rd February. The purpose of the day was to:

• Explore what is happening nationally in schools with regard to music education from 3-18 and beyond into post-school destinations.
• Highlight key challenges faced by practitioners both specialist and non-specialist and consider solutions.
• Discuss approaches to planning for and recording skills development and progression.
• Explore what great learning in music looks like and how can we support and share this at a national level.
• Discuss the benefits of, and sustainable approaches to, working with partners in the creative industries.

Representation was drawn from Nursery, Primary, Secondary, SEN, Further Education, and Higher Education ensuring both a breadth of discussion and the opportunity to highlight key issues across sectors.
Discussions and action planning were based on the ‘3 horizons’ planning conversations from the ‘Opening Up Transformative Innovation’ toolkit. This approach allowed us to undertake some future thinking. Discussions throughout the day included, the development of effective and sustained CPD, supporting creative approaches to music education, embedded music technology based on sound pedagogy and working in partnership with a range of stakeholders.
The subject working group provided an opportunity to discuss the development of creative approaches to music education across sectors. This working group mirrors the groups being brought together from the other Expressive Arts subject areas, Art & Design, Drama and Dance who will feed in to the Expressive Arts conversation days.
A number of issues which were highlighted at the first Expressive Arts conversation day on November 25th 2013, formed the basis for conversations, these included issues surrounding:
1. Developing practitioner confidence and capacity in teaching expressive arts
2. Creating and sustaining partnerships with arts organisations and individuals
3. Developing an effective model that balances creative space with skills development

The statements the group used to stimulate discussion through the ‘three horizons sessions,’ are shown below:

• The most effective music education is driven by the learners
• Effective CPD supports teachers, building confidence and capacity
• Music Technology should play a central role in music education
• Establishing and maintaining effective partnerships is key to successful music education
• Effective listening skills positively impact across the whole curriculum and leads to lifelong appreciation of music.
• Creative approaches to teaching and learning should be encouraged

These statements were presented from a neutral standpoint and used as conversational pieces in relation to current practice either undertaken by practitioners or observed, and future thinking about where these statements may lead.

We would invite practitioners across sectors to share their thoughts and views.

The link below provides a summary of action points discussed throughout the day.

Planning for transformation

Launch of the Tullis Russell Environmental Education Centre

Teachers from all over Fife gathered together on 6 February for an Open Evening marking the official educational launch of the Tullis Russell Environmental Education (TREE) Centre.

The TREE Centre along with its partner, Fife based eco-charity The Ecology Centre, are rolling out an exciting new educational programme aimed at school children aged 10–14 years. Teachers were able to see the new centre for the first time, check out the facilities in the state-of-the art eco-building and hear about how they can arrange visits for their classes.

Using highly engaging interactive displays and class activity, a visit to The TREE Centre takes pupils through four main pillars of sustainability education: ENERGY, RESOURCES, CLIMATE and BIODIVERSITY.  At the event, Clare Reid, Education Manager of The Ecology Centre said: “This is a unique and exciting resource for Scottish schools. All displays and activities have been designed to bring the curriculum alive through games and active learning. A visit to the TREE. Centre will be a really inspiring experience for pupils!”

Derek Guthrie, TREE Centre Manager, commented: “The Centre really provides a fantastic learning environment and we are absolutely delighted at the response we have had from teachers today. We very much look forward to working with schools all over Scotland to build the TREE Centre educational programme into a valued part of their curriculum and eco-schools work.”

For those who wish to know more about the education programme offered by the TREE Centre in partnership with the Ecology Centre, please contact Clare Reed at the Ecology Centre on: Claire@theecologycentre.org.  A teacher’s handbook, explaining exactly what the programme offers, is available on request.

For general enquiries contact hello@thetreecentre.org. Keep up to date on what’s happening at TREE on Facebook and twitter – www.facebook.com/thetreecentre – www.twitter.com/thetreecentre .

Delivering a curriculum and new qualifications to highest standards

The below article by Graeme Logan, Strategic Director, Education Scotland appeared in The Herald on 07 February 2014

In schools across Scotland, young people are now experiencing a different approach to their education. The new curriculum has been ten years in the making. As a result, schools are providing young people with high-quality, in-depth learning that matches their individual needs and interests. Their experiences, qualifications, awards and achievements at school will set them up well for their life ahead. We should not lose sight of the magnitude of this, and the enormous collective effort involved as we work to provide our young people with a world-class curriculum.

There is no doubt the introduction of the new qualifications and CfE more widely, has meant significant change. Teachers are working incredibly hard to do their best for their pupils. The principles of CfE are widely supported both throughout education in Scotland and internationally.

CfE supports and recognises a wider range of skills, achievements and qualifications than ever before, and in a way that is more responsive to individual needs. As these improvements take place, it is inevitable there will be changes in some aspects of the education system, such as the number and variety of subjects being taken for qualifications. We already know that schools across Scotland have chosen different numbers of subjects, and we fully expect to see changes in patterns of qualification entries, for example. Schools together with their young people and parents are always best placed to make such important decisions.

Learning across S4-S6 is now called the ‘senior phase’. This is usually delivered in school, but may also involve young people moving to college or other establishments.

Decisions on the pattern and number of subjects across the senior phase are made by each school, based on maximising achievement and qualifications by the time young people leave school. For some, this might mean fewer subjects in S4, but leading to a higher quality of qualifications and a wider range of awards and achievements overall.

With that in mind, in makes sense that when planning the senior phase, schools will consider, for example, whether it is best for young people to ‘bypass’ National 4/5, that is, to begin two year courses leading to Higher. The emerging picture of these new flexible ways of learning is welcome, because it demonstrates better alignment between what a school is doing, and what young people need.

The new models show that some schools will plan for 6 or 7 subjects in S4, viewing it as a way of achieving deeper learning, making space for recognising success in wider achievements and providing scope for taking qualifications over differing timescales. The guiding principle is that qualifications, awards and achievements are taken at the right stage for the individual young person over the senior phase which can be up to three years.

Young people will not only focus on qualifications as they will have programmes that include activities that continue to develop the capacities of CfE and may lead to other valued awards also.

From the age of 3 through to the end of S3, during the Broad General Education, young people will study all areas of the curriculum to higher standards than ever before. Schools are working with parents and learners to ensure they understand how pupils move through their school years.

Education Scotland provides a very wide range of support through working directly with teachers, publishing materials and resources. We continue to extend our offer of further tailored support, as does SQA, to any secondary school who feels they need it at this crucial time in Scottish education. We are here to support practitioners and schools so that they can do their job to the best of their ability.

Any major curriculum change is likely to generate some anxiety as everyone wants to get it right for our young people. I hope that we can all continue to work together and ensure that the curriculum and the new qualifications are delivered to the highest possible standards.

Graeme Logan
Strategic Director, School Years
Education Scotland

Inter-authority Skills (Emerging Practice) Network

The Inter-authority Skills (Emerging Practice) Network meeting took place at Optima, Glasgow on Thursday 30th January 2014. The meeting was very productive and all the materials shared and a note of the key discussion points are linked within this post.

Note of meeting – Note of meeting on 30th Jan 2014

Representatives at the meeting agreed to respond to the SDS “Employer Engagement Framework” draft document by Friday 14th February 2014.

Documents shared by local authority representatives and partners:

SDS “Employer Engagement Framework” draft document – Employer Engagement Framework Draft

Strategic Skills Pipeline presentation by Hazel Mackie – Strategic Skills Pipeline Presentation

Video link to Falkirk’s School-College Opportunities to Succeed (SCOTS) programme – SCOTS Programme

Scottish Councils Enterprise in Education Network (SCEEN) statement on work experience – SCEEN Statement on Work Experience

OECD strategy paper: “Better skills, better jobs, better lives” – Better skills, better jobs, better lives

The date of the next Inter-authority Skills (Emerging Practice) Network meeting is Thursday 24th April at Optima.

Dundee Cancer Centre and Dundee Science Centre Science Learning Institute





‘I learned not to be scared to talk about cancer’

A really exciting day on Friday 7th February when we welcomed P7 pupils to Dundee Science Centre to work with world-leading scientists from Dundee Cancer Centre. Through hands-on activities, developed and delivered by scientists, researchers and nurses from Dundee Cancer Centre, children learned about cells and cancer.

Children said:

I can’t choose one thing, I loved it all!

I learnt about how the different bloods get ready for scientists! It was fun!

That you should be careful with what you wear outside and that if you eat broccoli it helps a lot.

I learnt that cancer travels faster than normal cells.

There are 200 types of cancer cells

I enjoyed making play-doh drugs

Very easy to understand and was fun

I enjoyed meeting a real scientist

I learnt that strawberries have DNA and what our cells look like! It was fun!

I learnt today about cancer and how it can be stopped.

Teachers were equally positive in their feedback:

Hands on activities are great. Brilliant to see the kids engaging so well.

The people who were doing the explaining, explained very complex concepts in a very understandable way for the children.  It’s something that we will pick up on when we go back to school and share what we have learnt with the rest of the school and try to find out more.

This is the first part of a bigger piece of work, the next steps of which are to work with teachers from secondary schools and Dundee Cancer Centre to develop a workshop to support the broad general education in the secondary setting, or the Senior Phase.  This will provide opportunities for learning for teachers involved, and the pupils in the 10 secondary schools we work with, when we bring our funded outreach to them between September and December 2014.

If you’re interested in being part of this exciting project, and connecting your learners with cutting-edge, world-leading sciences happening in Dundee, please contact Lauren Boath, Science Learning Manager for more information (lauren.boath@dundeesciencecentre.org.uk)

The world of Magnificent Microbes

We’re very excited about the start to our Magnificent Microbes project for 2014, a partnership between Dundee Science Centre Science Learning Institute and the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee.

We are exploring ways to structure and support learning for practitioners, and for children and young people, to increase the impact of what we do, and to ensure our work becomes increasingly sustainable and has a legacy in the classroom.

With this in mind, teachers whose classes are participating in the Magnificent Microbes project for 2014 joined us on Tuesday evening for a professional learning session with Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall and Dr James Chalmers of the Division of Molecular Microbiology at the College of Life Sciences from the University of Dundee.  Together, we explored the world of microbes, including getting hands-on with techniques use by microbiologists.  Feedback from participants was very positive, including

“…really helped me get into the project.  I am now excited rather than scared not knowing what would lie ahead.”

“I’m excited about how much they (the children) will enjoy the learning.”

“I now know how to approach a topic about microbiology and I will also be less scared to try this with my class.”

and we’re very much looking forward to children working with us over the course of the project, including working with the scientists in school, at Dundee Science Centre, and coming together to share and celebrate their learning in May.

Before the session we asked teachers to write down everything they think of when they hear the word ‘microbe’ and we did the same afterwards.

Watch this space for more on the sustainable legacy of the project…and how you can get involved in the world of microbes!


STEM Ambassador Roadshow

Wednesday 12th March 2014. 5:30pm-7:30pm

Global Science will be holding a STEM Ambassador Roadshow on Wednesday 12th

March 2014 from 5:30pm-7:30pm at Central Scotland’s premier venue – The Falkirk


This is an informal evening for teachers from Falkirk District and West Lothian schools to

get together and meet some of our STEM Ambassadors.

The event is completely free of charge, and a buffet will be provided on the night.

If you would like to come along, please register your interest, by e-mailing


The Falkirk Wheel,

Lime Road,




Cool Cold Commonwealth Food and Health Challenge

FREE CPD opportunity Monday 17th Feb

Develop your knowledge and teaching ideas for Health and Well Being and creative food technologies with Scottish Food & Drink Federation, Education Scotland and partner agencies at Moray House School of Education.

The event supports newly qualified teachers and other practitioners in their planning of teaching and learning experiences, which develop higher order thinking skills, skills for learning, life and work, and some wider appreciation of topical debates and issues.


Lorna Aitken, Health and Wellbeing Development Officer, Food and Health, Education Scotland Overview of Food Education in Scottish Schools

Moira Stalker

Scottish Food and Drink Federation giving an overview of their approach to food education involving industry

Kirsten Mack and Scarlett Palmer

Castleview Primary School on food and health in classroom.


Chefs in School

Eco-Schools Scotland


Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI)

Soil Association/Crofting Connections

Focus on Food

For more information contact Leaghann Watson – Leaghannwatson174@hotmail.co.uk

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Re-thinking Progress: 25th – 27th March 2014, register now

Big thinkers. Different sessions. One issue. 

Re-thinking Progress is the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s first ever education open-house event in partnership with Bradford University’s centre for the circular economy. We would love for you to join us.

Register here to receive more information and to be notified when tickets become available.

With a focus on discussion and interaction, Re-thinking Progress will see the Foundation’s education team host a one-off series of short talks, Q&A’s, breakout sessions, seminars, and expert lectures, to explore what the circular economy can offer in the way we approach and deliver effective education.

The event will be held at the re:centre, University of Bradford (pictured left) which is a cross University facility for business engagement and collaboration, with the circular economy providing one of the major programme elements.
Thinkers and innovators will join us from areas as diverse as 3D printing, higher education, urban design and aquaponics to inform the application of the circular economy for both formal and informal educators. Everyone is welcome.
See some of the highlights for the session topics below, and learn more about the circular economy in education here.

Session highlights

  • Circular economy “bootcamp”
  • Urban design and the circular economy
  • HE curriclum development
  • A New Dynamic – book launch
  • Aquaponic food systems
  • Systems thinking
  • STEM & the circular economy
  • The changing face of business education
  • Teaching the circular economy in the classroom
  • Ellen MacArthur live-streamed special address


Reminder – Climate Week 2014 (3rd – 9th March)

Climate Week 2014 is fast approaching. It is Britain’s largest climate change campaign, with half a million people attending over 3,000 events each year.

Climate Week is about how people can live and work more sustainably, and you can run any kind of event or activity you wish. Here are some ideas:

Don’t forget to enter the Climate Week Challenge, a competition for small teams in schools and workplaces. It needs no preparation, is free and helps develop innovation and teamwork. There are one-hour and one-day versions – register here.

Also enter the Climate Week Awards for professional achievement that is helping to create a more sustainable society – click here to find out more. Deadline – February 14th 2014.

Run a Climate Week Swap event at which people can exchange clothes, books or children’s toys they don’t want any more – find out more here.

Please remember to register your events and activities with Climate Week – they will then be listed as an official part of Climate Week, encouraging others to take part and so growing the movement for environmental change.

International Collaboration on School Improvement project

Education Scotland has been asked by the British Council to be part of a pilot project, International Collaboration on School Improvement, which is designed to build international partners specifically around self-evaluation.

The project will involve 24 secondary schools from across Scotland who will be paired with 24 secondary schools in Hong Kong. The partnership will be a virtual one where participants will work together to learn collaboratively, share ideas and good practice.

The programme is for secondary school headteachers who are currently working on improving their self-evaluation for improvement as a core part of their school improvement plan. The programme will be funded and facilitated by the British Council and supported by Education Scotland.  Education Scotland will host the training days.

The commitment required from headteachers in Scotland is as follows:

  • Attendance at three days facilitated training on 18, 19 and 20 March 2014 in Denholm House, Livingston
  • Collaborative work with their Hong Kong partner
  • Attendance at two  facilitated training days in October 2014 to share experiences and evaluate the project.

We have asked for expressions of interest from headteachers who would like to be considered for this project.  Headteachers who are interested must have the support of their local authority. In the first instance they will be asked to write a brief statement (no more than 250 words) explaining clearly why they should be included in the project, how this will support other developments in their school and the intended benefits to learners.

We look forward to working with the British Council to deliver this project and will share future developments and evaluations with you.

Creative Pupils Invited to ‘Impress’ at the Scottish School Media Awards.

Pupils attending Scotland’s 422 secondary schools are being encouraged to submit their print or online ‘newspaper’ for the Scottish School Media Awards, with the best of the entries from Scotland’s young creative talent being revealed at a ceremony in Edinburgh six months from now.

The awards aim to encourage young people into careers in publishing and the creative industries, and are of particular interest to pupils who have an interest in writing, photography, design and business, giving them a unique opportunity to demonstrate their organisational skills, team work and creative flair, while gaining hands-on experience in managing a project from start to finish.

Organised by major Scottish company Menzies Distribution, the awards also aim to support the Curriculum for Excellence by building confidence and showing how different school subjects can come together as part of a wider learning experience.

There are 14 categories, from outstanding features to the most exceptional finished magazine or newspaper. Pupils have until Wednesday 30 April to submit their entries, with the imPRESS judging panel looking for projects that have evidence of strong content and commercial thinking.

Students can be guided by their teachers but the ideas, content, design and business strategy must be pupil-led. Winners of the awards will be invited to a special ceremony to be held in Edinburgh on Friday 13 June.

For more information and to register visit www.impressscotland.co.uk

Primary technologies conversation day 28th February 2014

Education Scotland is holding a conversation day focused on technologies within primary on Friday 28th February, Jury’s Hotel Glasgow. This event is aimed at any primary practitioners or school leaders interested in this area.  We are keen to take stock of how schools and centres are delivering learning in the technologies and we would like to hear your views and experiences.

 The purpose of the day is to:

  • look at where technologies needs to go and what is needed in order to best support all learners.
  • identify areas that require further support and what that support needs to look like.

 There will be opportunities to hear from a variety of stakeholders, including practitioners as well as time for discussion.

 If you would be interested in attending please contact diane.carson@educationscotland.gov.uk. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note travel expenses are not paid for conversation days.