My visit to Isobel Mair School

By Graeme Logan, Education Scotland Strategic Director for School Years

I visited Isobel Mair School this morning to celebrate their achievements following their recent inspection in August 2014 and to see some of the innovative practice taking place to support the learning and development of children with additional support needs.

The school, in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, is a great example of putting the rights of the child at the heart of everything they do and by using this approach to develop their curriculum they are able to offer a fantastic breadth and depth of learning experiences for the children at the school.

As part of the inspection, the school and its practitioners were praised for their use of ICT, which is tailored to suit individual children’s learning needs, and to see that in practice was really inspiring. By using interactive whiteboard and smart table technology, practitioners are able to actively involve children in their learning, and encourage them to participate, which is having a positive impact on them and their skills development.

Learners also used a variety of communication aids to help them communicate independently where they shared experiences of their learning with one another, which really engages the children and increased their participation in learning activities.

Throughout our visit I was really impressed with the level of care and attention given to each individual child, and this one to one support is vital to supporting the children with additional support needs as they move through their school career from nursery age right through to the senior phase.

With it being this time of year we visited a number of classrooms where we saw the children learning about the Christmas story using a variety of different approaches.  We were also treated to a special performance of The Gruffalo by Class Bute at an open morning for parents. It was really magical to see the children have fun and their performance received a huge round of applause which put a smile on our faces.

I’d like to say a personal thank you to all the staff, parents and children we met for giving us such a warm welcome and an interesting tour of the school. Special thanks goes to Headteacher Mari Wallace who has delivered outstanding work at the school over the last ten years, and we’ll be sad to see her go when she retires early next year.

Bite The Ballot: Leaders Live!

Bite the Ballot, the youth charity aimed at politically motivating young people, have a mission:

To drive the biggest turnout of informed, educated and engaged young voters at
the 2015 general election; calling for the next Government to make voter
registration easier, more accessible and engaging for generations to come.

Bite the Ballot insist that people aged 16-24, have been ignored by our leaders for too long.

Bite The Ballot’s giving you the chance to change this by putting your questions to them directly; live and online.
They have organised a series of live Q&A with UK political party leaders. The next one is with Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, and takes place on the 8th December between 5.30-6.30pm. If you want to take part or watch the interviews with the Greens and UKIP then follow this link:

Interviews with the leaders for the SNP and Plaid Cymru are planned for the new year.

Educational Scotland has resources about politics and political literacy here:

Japan Webpage Contest

This contest is open to any UK school that is teaching Japanese or doing any kind of project related to Japan. Your school does not need to be teaching Japanese to enter the contest.

To enter the contest, all you need to do is make a simple webpage about the work that your school is doing with Japanese or Japan. This could be a blog, a wiki, or a page that’s part of your school’s website.

Your webpage could feature:

  • A project with your Japanese partner school
  • A report on your school’s visit to Japan
  • A report on your school’s Japan Day
  • Japanese or Japan-related resources that you have made to help your students
  • Japanese language work made by students
  • Other Japan-related work by students, e.g. from geography, history, art, sports, music, intercultural understanding, cross-curricular lessons
  • Students’ experiences of learning Japanese or about Japan
  • An overview of Japanese at your school

All entries to the contest will be featured on the website. You will also have your chance to vote for your favourite shortlisted entries, in the online voting poll.

Cash prizes and other prizes will be awarded to the best entries. Click here for more information.

In 2010, the Public Vote Award was won by Bearsden Primary School for their Godzilla’s Den website.

Look at other past entries for more inspiration.

(The contest is organised by the Japan Foundation London. The Japan Foundation is Japan’s principal organisation for promoting international cultural exchange.)

Air Quality walk and survey

Find out more about the work OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) do and improve your own knowledge and understanding of air quality and environmental surveys this weekend.

Lichen walk: Air Pollution indicators
7 December 2014, 1-2pm
Maryhill Park (meet at the Maryhill Road Gate), G20 0AB

Join OPAL as we walk around Maryhill Park looking for lichens and spotting species which indicate how much pollution is in the air. We will learn how to complete an OPAL Air Survey and each participants will each receive a survey pack to take away.

Please dress appropriately for our glorious Scottish winter weather!

For more information or to sign up for the walk email or call 0141 420 5010 (ext 270).