John Muir – Back to the Future

2014 has seen John Muir leap to prominence, with a Way, a Festival, a Conference…not to mention a recent trend for beards (coincidence?!).

But what does the younger generation make of a man who left Dunbar, East Lothian for America aged 10, became an adventurer and conservation visionary, helped set up the National Parks movement, and died 100 years ago?

The John Muir Trust asked them – and found out some fascinating facts, interesting insights, and whether Muir’s message has relevance to young people today.

Watch a 5 minute film created by the John Muir Trust at .

“The film captures young people’s thoughts and integrates John Muir’s life story fabulously.” Koren Calder, Young Adult Project Manager, Scottish Book Trust

“A lovely evocation of the roots and the meaning of Muir set into teen parlance.” John Beatty

Moving ahead with the School Improvement Partnership Programme

Post by Alastair Delaney, Strategic Director, Education Scotland

We have just published an interim report into the School Improvement Partnership Programme (SIPP). This is a new approach we are adopting in Scotland with a focus on innovating to tackle educational inequality. It draws on the wealth of international educational research and practice that demonstrates the most effective school improvements are locally owned and led by teachers and school leaders working in partnership and collaboration with like-minded professionals.

The partnerships vary in size and now cover 14 authorities and involve 15 primary schools, 18 secondary schools and two high school learning communities.

These partnerships are focusing on specific challenges and issues, learning from each other through collaborative enquiry and trying new approaches in their own settings as a result. Research evidence indicates that well supported partnerships can lead to significant and sustained improvement and ultimately raised achievement. In developing this programme we are working with the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change of Glasgow University and are supported by a reference group involving representatives of ADES, COSLA, AHDS, SLS, EIS and Scottish Government.

A key feature of the SIPP is the research and evaluation support being provided by researchers from the Robert Owen Centre. The report they have just prepared provides a summary of progress to date across all the partnerships engaged with the programme. The report notes that whilst there have been some challenges around timing and coordination between all relevant parties, these imaginative and creative partnership teams are devising diverse and complex collaborative networks and programmes to tackle inequality in education across Scotland.

The report identifies partnerships which are becoming established and putting in place interventions that have proved successful elsewhere. These partnerships are creating networks that are helping professional learning amongst teachers and increasing their confidence in using a variety of teaching strategies to help address these issues.

We will continue to support these partnerships along with our colleagues in the Robert Owen Centre and with the various education authorities. In the coming months we will be carrying out further evaluation, running further seminars and sessions which will allow partners to share their experiences so far and to learn from each other and build on this. Further to this we have some more partnerships due to start working together soon. Although early days for the programme, there are encouraging signs of exciting emerging practice in this work and I am confident the SIPP could have a real impact on closing the attainment gap.

This programme is a really good example of collaboration, using international research findings and applying them to Scotland, building the capacity of our teaching workforce, and trying out new approaches and evaluating them to help Scottish education improve.

Research on the impact of the School Improvement Partnership Programme: interim report

The School Improvement Partnership Programme – background information

SWGfL 360 degree e-safety self-review tool training sessions – places still available

The South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Trust is holding a series of free training sessions throughout Scotland on their 360 degree safe e-safety self review tool, which have been commissioned by Education Scotland and the Scottish Government.  Places are still available at the Glasgow and Edinburgh venues.  See details below.

The 360 degree safe self review tool was the winner of the 2011 BETT Awards for Leadership and Management Solutions. The judges described the tool as a “clear winner” by the fact it engages the school community in the process of identifying strengths and weaknesses in e-safety provision.

Course aims

The course aims to:
•    Introduce Trainers (from local authorities and other organisations) to the 360 degree safe e-safety self review tool.
•    Describe how school leaders can gain the maximum benefit from the use of this very powerful tool.
•    Enable Trainers to deliver high quality training in the use of the 360 degree safe tool for school leaders.

On successful completion, the course will enable delegates to:
•    Understand how the 360 degree safe tool allows schools to review their policy and practice, benchmark it against nationa data and draw up action plans.
•    Deliver high quality training in the use of the 360 degree safe tool for school leaders.


The course will consider:
•    The most effective ways in which school leaders can engage staff and the wider school community in the 360 degree safe review of e-safety.
•    The University of Plymouth report on evidence provided by the use of the tool across the UK and the lessons that this provides for the development of e-safety policy and practice in schools
•    How evidence sources, actions and commentary can be recorded and an action plan developed.
•    The use of the links to other documents and resources section.
•    How the school can benchmark its provision against the national data included in the 360 tool.
•    How schools, that meet the required benchmarks, can apply for the E-Safety Mark.

How will the session be organised?

The course will consist of a 360 degree safe presentation from the course leader, with  opportunity for delegates to discuss how they will train school leaders in the use of the  tool.  Where possible online access to the tool will be provided to enable the delegate to gain practical experience of using this tool. Delegates will review the national/local data provided by the 360 tool and consider the implications for e-safety developments in schools.

Training sessions

The training sessions are free and will take place on the following dates:

1. Wednesday 4 June 9:30 – 12:30 Jury’s Inn, 80 Jamaica Street, Glasgow G1 4QS
2. Wednesday 4 June 13:30 – 16:30 – Jury’s Inn, 80 Jamaica Street, Glasgow G1 4QS
3. Thursday 5 June 9:30 – 12:30 – Holiday Inn, 132 Costorphine Road Edinburgh EH12 6UA
4. Thursday 5 June 13:30 – 16:30– Holiday Inn 132 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6UA
5. Friday 6 June 9:30 – 12:30 – Copthorne Hotel, 122 Huntly Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1SU
6. Friday 6 June 13:30 – 16:30 – Copthorne Hotel, 122 Huntly Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1SU

Important information

•    To gain the greatest benefit from the training session, those attending should register to use the 360 degree safe E-Safety Self Review tool before the training session. You need to go to and click on “register” – top right on the home page.  If you are from a school, you can register automatically on the left hand side of the page using the school’s SEED number. If not (if you are from an LA), you will need to do a manual registration on the right hand side of the page. You should enter any postcode and when the tool fails to find a school, or offers you one which you will not use you can then register your own “dummy school”.  Please allow five days for the registration to be completed (though it is usually much quicker) – you will need to verify your email address. If you have any difficulties with this, please contact
•    You should bring a wi-fi enabled laptop / tablet to the training session to be able to access your account. If you are not able to access a laptop  then please let Joan know and we will try to help with this.
•    To reserve your place at the training events please email and ensure you state which event you will be attending.
•    If you are not able to access a laptop  then please let Joan know and we will try to help with this.