Category Archives: National Qualifications

Technologies Impact Review, “Building Society: young people’s experiences in the technologies”

Education_Scotland_logoEducation Scotland will publish the report of the Technologies Impact Review, “Building Society: young people’s experiences in the technologies”, on 9th March 2015. This report continues the series in which Education Scotland evaluates the quality of young people’s learning and achievements, in this case in the technologies. The report contributes to the overall picture of what it is like to be a learner in a Scottish early years centre or school in this second decade of the 21st Century.

Education Scotland have organized a launch event for this report and the college aspect report Computing and Digital Media.

Making tomorrow happen: technology education in Scotland

 will be held in Celtic Park, Glasgow on 9 March 2015.

 The event has been organized to raise awareness of the reports and to discuss the implications for future developments in the Technologies area of the curriculum.

It would greatly assist the organisation of the conference if you could send your nominees to Kenneth Rae – Kenneth.Rae@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk by 27th February 2015, stating their name, role and email address.

Last chance to enter the Scottish Education Awards 2015

SEA launchWe’ve received a fantastic number of entries for the Scottish Education Awards but times running out now. The awards showcase and celebrate the hard work and dedication across Scottish education.

To be in with a chance of winning make sure you’re entries are in before midday on 16 February.

A full list of categories and details on how to enter are on the Scottish Education Awards website. Get you’re entry in now and good luck.

Kings College University : Aspires Project 2014

aspires imageMany governments and organisations are concerned that not enough young people are choosing to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) after the age of 16.

There is also widespread concern that the profile of those who do go on to study STEM subjects and pursue STEM careers is too narrow, with women, working-class and some minority ethnic groups remaining under-represented, especially in the physical sciences and engineering.

Particular STEM fields are predicting or already experiencing significant STEM skills gaps that may impact negatively on the economy. There is also a pressing need to improve the spread of scientific literacy across all societal groups.

The ASPIRES study sought to shed new light on our understanding of how young people’s aspirations develop over this 10-14 age period, exploring in particular what influences the likelihood of a young person aspiring to a science-related career.

The project is a five-year study funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of its Targeted Initiative on Science and Mathematics Education (TISME).

In addition to researching influences on students’ aspirations, the project also worked with a small group of teachers to develop approaches for integrating STEM careers information into science lessons.

Access the report through http://bit.ly/1fkDdDy

A nucleus of talent

First Minister meets Higgs Prize for Physics winners.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the newest winners of the Higgs Prize for Physics, congratulating them on their success.

The prize is named after Scottish-based Nobel Physics Prize winner Professor Peter Higgs, whose work in the field has had a significant impact on modern day particle physics, and rewards pupils who show a particular aptitude for the subject.

Ms Sturgeon and Education Secretary Angela Constance met Professor Higgs himself and the four winners in the First Minister’s office on Thursday 29th January.

The winners are:

• Eilidh Birse – a former pupil at Boclair Academy in Bearsden who is now studying medicine at the University of St Andrews
• Julie Lynch – a former pupil at St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock who is now studying Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Glasgow and is continuing to take Physics as a third subject
• Stuart McGibbon – a fellow former pupil at St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock, now currently studying Physics at the University of Glasgow
• Raheem Beg – a former pupil at Perth High School who is currently studying mathematics at the University of Dundee

As part of the Scottish Government funded prize, they will travel to the internationally renowned CERN research facility in Switzerland in July to attend lectures and seminars on physics as part of the summer school programme, as well as talking to Scottish researchers about their work at the facility and their careers in physics.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Scotland has a wonderful history of scientific discovery and it’s encouraging to see that tradition continue through today’s pupils and students who continue to be passionate and excited to take on the scientific challenges that remain unexplained.

“Science is hugely important to Scotland in the modern era and the achievements of Professor Higgs – a man whose work is internationally renowned – are of course inspiring for any budding scientist. This year, the International Year of Light, also celebrates the incredible legacy of another Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, whose theories underpin the technology at the heart of almost all communications equipment we take for granted today.

“We are absolutely determined to support pupils to excel and remove any barriers that might prevent them from realising their full potential. This prize is the perfect example of hard work opening up life-changing opportunities. Today’s four winners Eilidh, Julie, Stuart and Raheem now have the opportunity to go to the fantastic CERN research facility in Switzerland to listen and learn from some of the brightest minds of our generation. We are offering them the chance to be the very best they can be – the vast knowledge and experience they will have access to is an opportunity that many across the world will envy.

“I’m therefore delighted to award a prize in Professor Higg’s name to these exceptionally hard working and talented youngsters.”

Professor Higgs said:

“Everyone in life has people that they admire and strive to be like – my own inspiration was Paul Dirac, a man who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933 – and I’m honoured that an award in my name is used as inspiration to the younger generation of physicists.

“I congratulate Eilidh, Julie, Stuart and Raheem on winning this prize and I am sure they will have an amazing time at CERN where they will learn from the very best. I hope these four promising young talents go on to became esteemed in their own right.”

Background

Pictures of the First Minister meeting Professor Higgs and the prize winners will be available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstministerofscotland

The prize is awarded on merit, to the highest performing male and female Advanced Higher Physics candidates from a publicly-funded school.

Submit your seminar proposals for SLF 2015

SLF_logo_URLSLF 2015 takes place on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September in Glasgow.

SLF provides high quality continuing professional learning and is a rendezvous for educational professionals both nationally and internationally, providing a unique platform to engage with a diverse range of experts, colleagues and suppliers.

We are now accepting seminar proposals for the 2015 conference programme which will feature around 100 seminars over the 2 days.

Is there a project you have been working on that could be showcased? Or perhaps you are aware of establishments that demonstrate good practice? We would encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and networks and submit relevant proposals for consideration.

The theme for SLF 2015: Raising attainment and achievement for all, with a focus on maximising educational outcomes through:

• local partnerships and collaboration – to share approaches that lead to better outcomes
• self-evaluation – to ensure creative and innovative approaches to sustained improvement
• work-related learning – to improve transitions into sustainable, productive employment.

Full details of the theme are available on the SLF website.

If you would like to submit a proposal for consideration please do so before Friday 27 February. Proposals received after this date will not be considered for inclusion in the conference programme. All proposals must be submitted online.

There is a robust review, evaluation and scoring system in place to help ensure that all submissions are treated equally therefore it is essential that all requests to participate go through the submission process and adhere to the timescales.

Last year we received in excess of 300 proposals which allowed Education Scotland to deliver a relevant and balanced conference programme covering all key areas of education. The 2015 conference programme and registration will be launched in May and will feature the sessions that have been submitted and selected for inclusion.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and hope you will contribute to SLF 2015 to help continue to deliver Scotland’s largest annual national education event. If you would like any further information about SLF 2015 please contact the SLF team.

Project STEM, Book of Insights 2014

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is the Government department for economic growth.
It works with further and higher education providers to give students the skills they need to compete in a global employment market and supports the UK’s science and research industry, which is important to economic growth.

The organisation has produced Project STEM, Book of Insights 2014 which details young people’s attitudes, beliefs, motivations and behaviours that affect their decisions on subject choice and career paths to add depth to the current understanding of how they perceive STEM careers.

The book brings together four phases of research activity with young people; qualitative, social listening, co-creation and quantitative research activities that ran between February and March 2014.
To complement the qualitative research, the researchers listened to young people’s social media conversations to understand their sentiment towards STEM careers and subjects.

To access the research document Project STEM, Book of Insights 2014

Scottish Learning Festival 2015 – save the dates

We’re delighted to announce that SLF 2015 will take place on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September in the SECC, Glasgow. SLF is the largest education event in Scotland and will focus on raising achievement and attainment. Those interested in presenting a seminar at the festival can submit a proposal in January, when further information will be available on the SLF website.

Registration for the SLF will open in May, look out for more information over the coming months and save the dates in your diary now.

We are also working with a range of partners to host a series of SLF Extra events in 2015. On 17 February, Aberdeen City Council in partnership with Education Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council and Moray Council will host the Aberdeen Learning Festival in the AECC. The festival will include keynotes, workshop and an exhibition. More information about the event and how to register will be available in January.

On 27 February Children in Scotland, in partnership with Education Scotland, are hosting the first in a series of six free events for all those involved in education. The morning session will focus on pupil engagement and participation and the afternoon session will look at parental engagement. This first event takes place in Melrose and more information is available on the Children in Scotland website.

More SLF Extra events will be taking place in 2015, visit the SLF website for details.

Game Masters: Teachers Preview Event

Date: Tuesday 9 December
Time:
16:30-18:30
Venue: Studio 1, Learning Centre, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Cost: Free
Booking: Please book your FREE space by email schools@nms.ac.uk or phone 0131 247 4041. Tea/coffee and cake will be provided. Spaces are limited so please book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

This session will introduce teachers to the Game Masters exhibition in preparation for visiting with a class.

The event will run as follows:

4.30pm – Registration and Refreshments

4.45pm – Introduction, practicalities about visit & overview of resources

5pm – Sarah Rothwell, Assistant Curator (Modern & Contemporary Design), introduces exhibition

5.15pm – Short tour of exhibition, followed by opportunity to explore exhibition and try games

6.15pm – Finish

More details about school visits to Game Masters: www.nms.ac.uk/schoolgames

Inspiring workshops and presentations for all year groups

File:Edinburgh Napier University logo.png

Presentations

Our presentations are designed to be delivered to up to 150 people. We can happily deliver these to an entire year group. All presentations run from 40mins– 1 hour

P7 – S3 Workshops

Our workshops are intensive fully interactive sessions designed for groups of up to 30 pupils (unless otherwise stated). Workshops are 45mins—1 hour long to fit into a standard lesson.

Careers & Parents’ Evenings

We are happy to attend your careers event or parents’ evening to answer individual questions and provide literature and information on our courses. We also have presentations suitable for a group of parents & carers. Please let us know your date and we will check availability.

Edinburgh Napier University Information Stand

If you are holding a careers event or parents’ evening, invite us along, and we can bring our information stand with literature about our courses and applying. We will provide a member of staff to answer any questions.

For more information and a brochure on more about ‘what we can do for your pupils’ – studentrecruitment@napier.ac.uk



Instellar – CfE Higher Physics Resources

Instellar – CfE Higher Physics Resources

An Education pack has been created by the makers of Interstellar that helps teachers with some of the topics covered in the film. In discussion with Professor Martin Hendry from Glasgow University it became clear that this deals directly with some core topics of the new revised Physics Higher.

This guide to be available on the Glasgow Science Centre website at: http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/online/astronomy-activities.html. Or from the Sciences Glow site in the Higher Our Dynamic Universe folder.
Additionally Martin has written a great blog post about the film here: http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/science/the-science-of-interstellar.html

Updated N5 and Higher Resources guides for Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Physics

The highly popular Resource guides for N5 and Higher have been updated with the latest SQA information and new links.

Two versions are available on the Sciences Glow 365 site http://bit.ly/glowsciences

Got some good links to share? Then post using the edit online feature on the editable resource guide.

Or use the pdf version for Education Scotland’s latest update.

These guides can also be found on the NQ Course Materials portal at the following links

Higher Biology
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/b/nqresource_tcm4829573.asp

Higher Human Biology
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/h/nqresource_tcm4844711.asp

N5 Biology
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/b/nqresource_tcm4838382.asp

Higher Chemistry
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/c/nqresource_tcm4844708.asp

N5 Chemistry
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/c/nqresource_tcm4838371.asp

Higher Physics
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/p/nqresource_tcm4843582.asp

N5 Physics
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/p/nqresource_tcm4838378.asp

Glow TV’s Watch Again Service for Higher Physics

On Monday 3rd November, at Ardrossan Academy, Professor Martin Hendry, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, gave a talk on the astronomy and cosmology content in the CfE Higher Physics course.

The talk can be seen on GlowTV’s watch again service by following this link.

https://meet.glowscotland.org.uk/p9u46a3qkp6/

Updated N4/5 Physics support materials from Aberdeen City Council

Many thanks to Aberdeen City Council for sharing even more resources to support Physics learning and teaching at National 4 and 5. These materials have been posted on the NQ Course Materials Portal and can be found using this link.

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/p/nqresource_tcm4817069.asp

Staff are encouraged to draw on these materials, and existing materials, to develop their own programmes of learning which are appropriate to the needs of each individual school.

The materials include National 4 and National 5 teacher guide and a complete set of problems and answers for:
•Electricity and energy
•Waves and radiation
•Dynamics and space.

These resources will soon be shared through the Sciences Glow 365 site http://bit.ly/glowsciences
Do you have something to share? Contact grant.mcallister@educationscotland.gov.uk for further details on ways to share.

N4/5 Chemistry in Society support materials from Aberdeen City Council

Many thanks to Aberdeen City Council for sharing even more resources to support Chemistry learning and teaching at National 4 and 5. These materials have been posted on the NQ Course Materials Portal and can be found using this link.

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/chemistry/coursematerials.asp

The materials include teaching and learning activities for:
•Metal Chemistry
•Electricity and Chemistry
•Corrosion
•Plastics, Polymers, Ceramics
•Plant Nutrients and Fertlisers
•Nuclear Chemistry
•Chemical Analysis

Also in the package are updated materials for Volumetric Calculations. These materials will also be shared on the Sciences Glow 365 site.

Do you have something to share? Contact grant.mcallister@educationscotland.gov.uk for further details on ways to share through Education Scotland’s Sciences Glow 365 site and NQ Course materials portal.

Free Science and Food CLPL at Dundee Science Centre

Education Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Food and Drink Federation and Dundee Science Centre have create a series of Career Long Professional Learning events about Food Science. These events would be particularly relevant for those teaching N5 and Higher Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Science as well as those teaching Higher Health and Food Technology and Hospitality.

1. Cooking Bus Career Long Professional Learning at Dundee Science Centre 10th – 14th November 2014
Free 3 hour CLPL sessions available during 10th – 14th November 2014 – open to teachers and support staff. For more information and how to sign up for a workshop.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CookingBusatDundeeScienceCentre2014

Please note the date and time you sign up for – your place will be confirmed in October.

2. Home Economics & Science staff Teach Meet Dundee Science Centre Tuesday 11th November
Teach Meet for Home Economics and Science staff offering support around Broad General Education, National Qualifications, positive destinations, progression with assessment. Presenters include Education Scotland, Scottish Food & Drink Federation, Food Standards Scotland, SQA, University of Abertay, SSERC & Dundee science Centre to name but a few.
Also included in the session will be a ‘Science of Gin’ presentation, discussing the use of botanicals to produce different styles.
TUESDAY 11th NOVEMBER 4.30pm – 7.30pm Dundee Science Centre.
Sign up here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/teachmeetDundeeScienceScentre

Particle Physics in Higher and Advanced Higher – CPD

Particle Physics features in the new Higher and Advanced Higher courses.
For those who would like to brush up on your knowledge of this topic, a Glowmeet will be run on November 6th a 4 pm (“doors open” 3:30 pm) featuring Dr Aidan Robson of Glasgow University. Aidan will cover the theory for the new courses and will then answer questions from participants.

If you would like to join the Glowmeet, please let us know by emailing sts@sserc.org.uk with your Glow username and your school email address.
This is the first of a series of Glowmeets covering new Senior Phase topics. It is the result of a partnership between Education Scotland, SSERC, STEMNET and SUPA

BBC iWonder – Would we starve without bees?

BBC iWonder – Would we starve without bees?

The importance of bees

Ever wondered where all the food that you eat comes from? Well it might surprise you that a significant proportion is provided by bees one way or another.

If you look at the plate of food on your dinner table, bees have played their part either pollinating the many vegetables and fruits we eat directly, or pollinating the food for the animals that we then consume. And that’s not all bees do for us – honey and wax are two other important products that come courtesy of bees.

But honey bees are disappearing globally at an alarming rate due to pesticides, parasites, disease and habitat loss. If these little insects that help provide so much of the food we eat were to vanish, what would we do without them?

National Museums Scotland launch Secondary Schools Renewable Energy Programme

National Museums Scotland have launched a programme of Challenge Days for pupils undertaking their National Qualifications in Physics, based on the topic of renewable energy.

The days have been created by National Museums Scotland, working with experts from the energy industry. They will provide pupils with the opportunity to meet and interact with real-life scientists and engineers, plus hear from a keynote speaker about their career path and experiences. Working in groups, pupils will solve challenges around four types of renewable energy: hydro, wind, marine and solar power.

Throughout the day, each group will take part in two challenges and then feed back their findings. Industry experts then choose one winning group. Each pupil receives a certificate for taking part, and the winning group receives a prize for their school and themselves.

The Challenge Days are at National Museum of Rural Life on Thursday 23, Friday 24 & Monday 27 October 2014. Those at National Museum of Scotland are on Monday 3 & Monday 17 November 2014.

There are also two twilight CPD sessions for teachers being held on 1 October at National Museum of Rural Life and 2 October at National Museum of Scotland.

Get Energised is made possible by the generous support of the ScottishPower Foundation and all sessions are free, but spaces are limited. To book a place contact schools@nms.ac.uk or phone 0131 247 4041

More information available on www.nms.ac.uk/getenergised

Dance National Working Group

The Dance National Working Group (NWG) met for the third time on 2nd September at the Optima, Glasgow. Notes from the meeting are attached below.

Dance National Working Group (NWG) Meeting Notes

The Implemento document attached below summarises the ‘futures’ discussion we had in relation to dance education 3-18. From the process we have identified key areas for development and action.

Comments and suggestions in relation to all the above documents are very welcome.

Implemento
Implemento

Implemento Outputs

The draft action plan document explains how we arrived at the actions and next steps for the group to take these forward.

Dance NWG Draft Action Plan

The Dance National Working Group will meet again at the joint NWG meeting on 27th November at Atlantic Quay.

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Parkinson’s Disease

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Parkinson’s Disease

Learn the fundamentals of Parkinson’s disease; what causes it and what we can do to ameliorate the symptoms.

This free online course is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out the fundamentals of Parkinson’s disease; how it affects people, what causes it, what we can do to try and ameliorate the symptoms and what we don’t yet know about it.

As one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases, most people at least know of one person who has Parkinson’s disease.

As the population ages, so the number of people with it will increase. Many people will be able to give a vague description of how that person is affected but may not know why. In this course we will consider how the normal principles of how neurones work and communicate are altered in the parkinsonian brain and why this leads to the symptoms that we see. We can then apply this knowledge to thinking about how current therapies work.

Finally we can think about where the holes in our knowledge are and the importance of this for improving our ability to alleviate the symptoms of the disease.

Higher Sciences Evidence Spreadsheets

Posted on the NQ Higher Sciences website Higher evidence recording spread sheets for Higher Biology, Higher Chemistry, Higher Human Biology and Higher Physics. Similar to the spreadsheets shared to record the evidence for nationals, these are bespoke to each Higher. They can accessed at
Biology http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/highersciences/biology/learningandteaching/resources.asp
Chemistry http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/highersciences/chemistry/learningandteaching/resources.asp
Human
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/highersciences/humanbiology/learningandteaching/resources.asp
Physics
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/highersciences/physics/guide/resources.asp

Many thanks to John Watson of Campbeltown Grammar and to the SQA for their help and support in producing these.

Teachmeet @ SLF 2014

Sign-up now for TeachMeet @ Scottish Learning Festival 2014.

Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. This is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and learning. Anyone can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. Education professionals from all sectors are welcome to take part.

The Scottish Learning Festival TeachMeet is always something special. It is usually the biggest TeachMeet in Scotland and often attracts some of the biggest names in education. It is also great fun!

John Carnochan at SLF 2014

With SLF 2014 now only 4 weeks away we hear for one of this year’s keynote speakers, John Carnochan about his keynote and thoughts on Scottish education.

Responding Differently

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” Herman Melville

Teachers, parents and families have a collective responsibility to ensure our children receive a rounded education that helps prepare them for life. Sadly, in the process, we too often forget or ignore the fundamental importance of human connection and relationships in our lives.

We seem to think now that as professionals we just need to do more of the same and everything will be ok, more policy, more training, more process and everything will be fine. This slavish adherence to professional process is, at times, naively arrogant and often ineffective. Not only does it ignore the value of human attributes, it often deliberately de-values them as being somehow unprofessional.

Professionals do not have all the answers and neither can we continue to assume that professional skills are the only “skills” appropriate or adequate responses to persistent problems. The strategies, systems and structures that exist today often can only manage the problems we face, new thinking is required if we are to make these problems better. We must begin to Respond Differently.

Professional and technical skills are important but they are not more important than the human attributes that demand we care for our fellow humans that help us establish relationships and that keep us connected. By combining the professional technical skills with our human attributes we will produce far more effective services and also help us do the right things for the right reasons.

Teachers are on the front line of Responding Differently, helping prepare our children for life. It’s certainly true that our children will need many of the technical skills delivered so effectively everyday in classrooms across Scotland. But these technical skills alone will not be enough if our children are to lead successful and productive lives. There is every possibility that many will be working in roles and doing jobs that have not yet been invented; they may be working in industries that haven’t been created yet. The skills that will be of most use to them in everything they do will be human “skills’. Our children will need to be resilient, adaptable, courageous, thoughtful, collaborative; they will need to communicate, problem solve, negotiate, compromise. Most importantly they will need to connect with others, they will need to be human; create better relationships and in schools it will create better learning and better behaviour.

In Scotland we have started to Respond Differently, particularly in Education. We have defined What our ambition is for our children, we want to make Scotland the Best Place to Grow Up. We have also defined How we are going to do it with the introduction of national policies such as GIRFEC and CfE. The inclusion of “wellbeing”, in CfE, with its aims to help children become Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens is hugely important.

This is an exciting time for Scotland and I sense that we have started to Respond Differently to children how we educate them and how we include them.

We know What we want to do and we know How we’re going to do it that’s a great start. Change is always difficult but if we remember also Why we are doing it the angst borne of the change will lessen as our aspirations increase. We are after all humans first and change is what we humans do, its what we have always done. Leadership has a role to play but we are all leaders and we can all Respond Differently.

If you want to hear John’s keynote then register for SLF 2014.

SLF 2014 – Alma Harris keynote

With SLF 2014 now only 4 weeks away we hear for one of this year’s keynote speakers, Prof Alma Harris about her keynote and her thoughts on Scottish education.

I am looking forward to being part of the ‘Scottish Learning Festival’ 2014 and engaging with this vibrant educational community. I will be bringing a group of Malaysian educators with me and I have promised them a warm welcome but not warm weather! In my previous visits to Scotland I have found that teachers and principals appreciate honesty and integrity so my aim is demonstrate both.

In my session I will argue that we need to go ‘beyond PISA’ to find the touchstone of real educational success and that there are important lessons that systems, like Scotland, can give to the global educational community. Despite the fact that education systems in Asia currently dominate the top of the PISA tables, there is much that the East can learn from the West in terms of educational change and improvement. Some of these messages will be shared with you all.

The aim of the session is not to devalue or dismiss PISA but rather to underline that high performance in education is defined by much more than rankings. The session will argue that we need to put the ‘learner’ at the forefront of our educational reform processes and avoid being seduced by superficial explanations of ‘high performance’ that tend to objectify learners and place performance above learning.

I will also focus upon leadership and will aim to answer the question, ‘what type of leadership is required to ensure success for every student in every setting?’ To answer this question, I will share the findings from two recent comparative studies. The first set of findings comes from a ‘7 System Leadership Study’ that is exploring the relationship between leadership development and leadership practice in differentially performing systems (Australia, England, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia Singapore and Russia). Initial findings highlight that there are more similarities than differences in the approaches these systems are using to secure and sustain improvement. The findings also challenge some of the cultural assumptions and popular assertions about ‘high performing systems’.

The second study looks at leadership within high performing organisations across different sectors (education, sport and business). The full range of empirical findings can be found in a new book with Andy Hargreaves and Alan Boyle called ‘’Uplifting Leadership’. Among, a range of conclusions, the findings from this study show that the type of leadership needed to secure and sustain exceptional performance is that which builds professional and social capital.

Overall, my message is that we need to look ‘beyond PISA’ and to move past the current preoccupation with international rankings, if authentic school and system improvement is to be achieved. I will propose that the real power and potential for system transformation in Scotland resides in the professionalism of its teachers and its school leaders, combined with an unshakable belief that every child deserves the best education possible.

It is with a huge degree of humility that I take part in this ‘Scottish Learning Festival’ 2014 involving educators from many countries. It is also with a great sense of pride that I am speaking at a conference that is about learning first and foremost. Putting the learner at the heart of the reform process, deeply, authentically and genuinely gets us much closer to the outcomes that we want for all young people.

If you want to hear Alma’s keynote then register for SLF 2014.

SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING TRAINING EVENT

1 day – Thursday 25th September 2014 from 09.30-16.00

The Lighthouse, Glasgow

Delivered by  Made-by (www.made-by.org) on behalf of Zero Waste Scotland

Event overview
Zero Waste Scotland and the STLA are proud to bring this Sustainable Apparel Training Day to the textile sector working and designing in Scotland. Come along to this day long workshop based session and learn from global case studies on the supply chain and innovation, opening your eyes to the opportunities for sustainbility in the textile sector. A networking lunch will also provide ample opportunity for networking with others working within the Scottish textile sector.

This event is suitable for individuals and companies involved in the design and manufacturing of apparel as well as academic and education professionals interested in the wider issues of clothing and environmental sustainability.

Event detail

The days training will provide you with an overview of:

  • The sustainability issues related to the clothing industry
  • The carbon, water and waste hotspots across the clothing lifecycle
  • The metrics and tools that have been developed by industry groups and multi-stakeholder organisations.
  • The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan Knowledge Hub
  • Innovations, processes and practices which have the potential to have a sustainable impact across:
  • o   Design
  • o   Raw Materials & Textiles
  • o   Colouration

 

Alongside the global case studies you will also hear from our speakers working within Scotland

  • Keela Clothing www.keela.co.uk
  • Dawn Ellams – alternative denim research case study

For further information and to book onto this event please visit here.

Advanced Higher Art and Design exhibition catalogues

As a resource to support the Advanced Higher in Art and Design, Education Scotland has secured enough catalogues from the 2013 Advanced Higher exhibition to make one available for each secondary school in every Local Authority, free of charge.

We have contacted every Local Authority and made the catalogues available for uplift from our offices across the country from Tuesday 12th August 2014. Our offices may be found at the following locations: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Livingstone and Clydebank.

We are delighted that over 20 Local Authorities have taken us up on our offer of free catalogues to support their schools.

If you wish to acquire a copy of the catalogue for your school, please contact the officer responsible for Expressive Arts in your Local Authority.

SLF 2014 – looking forward to Frank Dick’s keynote

With SLF 2014 now only 5 weeks away we hear for one of this year’s keynote speakers, Dr Frank Dick OBE, on his thoughts about how people are prepared to take ownership of their lives and the vital role that teachers and mentors play.

A Winning Lead

Whether as teacher, coach or mentor, our purpose is to prepare the pathway that takes people from who they are to who they will become. My thinking in this was mostly shaped by two life changing books: Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull which to me was about taking the risk of being different; and The Prophet which persuaded me that the coach is to the athlete as Kahlil Gibran saw the parent to the child – the parent is to the bow as the child is to the arrow.

Both of these seemed to point to preparing people to take ownership of their lives – to doing things right and to do the right thing.

We are not in total control of conditions in our lives, nor of results, but we are of our attitude to dealing with them and of our performance. And because life is more like a white water ride than a flat water glide, our attitude must find us controlling the controllables and being agile to turn uncertainty and adversity to advantage. In this, focussing on the performance of those whose development we influence and our own, is key.

Our behaviours, it seems to me, must work to a simple acronym: “O.D.D.” Own: take personal ownership of each moment to turn it into opportunity. Decide: take considered risks in decision making to turn opportunity to advantage. Do: just do it – effectively and excellently.

Giving ownership means not only preparing people to be let go (arrow) but being prepared to let go (bow).
Whether teaching, coaching or mentoring or being taught, coached or mentored, the most important quote to reflect on is Arie de Geus: “Probably the only sustainable advantage we have, is the ability to learn faster than the opposition.” The key to this, clearly is in being prepared to learn.

“Being prepared” is about attitude (again!) and process. The attitude part is clear and must be there every step of the life experience pathway towards who we will become.

The process starts with learning to learn and having in place the “machinery” to learn. For example, before a Commonwealth Games you must put in place how you will collect the necessary intelligence to debrief meticulously all that has influenced the performance and results.

In all of this we might agree that there are some things in life we can be taught, and others we can only learn.
Early in our life experience pathway of shaping personal and professional growth, we are taught the “science” for our education and development role. As we proceed, through experience, we learn the “art” of translating the science to action excellence by effective decision making.

The trouble, however, as Vernon Law avered, is: “Experience is a hard teacher, because she gives the test first and the lesson after.”

Yet if we are to learn the art of delivering our purpose in education, we must be exposed to the challenge and pressure of experiencing the untrodden path. It is by taking such risk that we turn fear to courage in the process of making right judgement calls.

It is important to get this right. The learning experience must be planned to ensure it is appropriate for the intended lesson, and we must have a critical competency set in the person responsible to teach, coach or mentor following the experience.

To return to our purpose: by preparing the pathway well, we not only develop people for their arena, but through the process for a better life. We not only develop them to improve performance, but to deliver it under pressure, on the day.

Want to hear more from Frank? Then register for SLF 2014 today.

Connect your school with the world’s leading chemistry community

Nearly 200 Scottish schools and FE colleges are now involved with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s free programme for schools, the Learn Chemistry Partnership, which was launched earlier this year. With your help, we’d like to ensure all Scottish schools are part of this network.

Educators who register their school – whether they are Head of Science, department technician or NQT – will become their school’s main contact for chemistry and will be the first to know of new Royal Society of Chemistry education products and discounts.

Registered schools receive free copies of Education in Chemistry and The Mole magazines (written for students); in addition, a monthly e-newsletter keeps Learn Chemistry Partnership contacts up-to-date with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s latest education news. You also receive discounts on products such as our giant periodic table as well as other free display materials such as careers posters.

In recognition of their subject expertise, Learn Chemistry Partnership contacts receive free Royal Society of Chemistry membership. Member benefits include careers support and a personal copy of Education in Chemistry, as well as the opportunity to join education interest groups.
For more information go to http://rsc.li/lcp-ts or contact Bill Beveridge, Regional Programme Manager for Scotland at beveridgew@rsc.org

Education Scotland NQ Sciences Resources

Welcome back to the new session from Education Scotland,
A reminder of where you can find resources and some new additions.
The NQ Higher Sciences Site was created for the introduction of the revised Highers and has a number of teacher and learner resources including animations commissioned for the new content.

The NQ course materials Glow portal contains materials created by Education Scotland including Introductions and Learning Journeys for the CfE Highers as well as resources shared by local authorities for N3 level through to Advanced Higher.

The Sciences Glow 365 site, created in January this year provides a single national site for teachers to share resources. Its where to find materials produced by the Cross Authority writing groups, as well as the latest resources produced by Education Scotland.

Recent additions include N5 resources guides for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These guides, similar to those created for Higher, maps useful resources to key areas within the SQA’s course and unit support notes. Guides can be found in the appropriate subject folder.

Also created are evidence recording spread sheets for Higher Biology, Higher Chemistry, Higher Environmental Studies, Higher Human Biology and Higher Physics. Similar to the spreadsheets shared to record the evidence for nationals, these are bespoke to each Higher. They can accessed from the Higher folder for each subject. To download, click on the three dots on the right of the title, then click on the second set of three dots and click on download a copy. Many thanks to John Watson of Campbeltown Grammar and to the SQA for their help and support in producing these.
Use the hashtags for more updates into your Glow newsfeed or set alerts for these updates to appear in your Glow inbox.

Higher Sciences Evidence Spreadsheets

Posted on the Sciences Glow 365 site, Higher evidence recording spread sheets for Higher Biology, Higher Chemistry, Higher Environmental Studies, Higher Human Biology and Higher Physics. Similar to the spreadsheets shared to record the evidence for nationals, these are bespoke to each Higher. They can accessed from the Higher folder for each subject. To download, click on the three dots on the right of the title, then click on the second set of three dots and click on download a copy. Many thanks to John Watson of Campbeltown Grammar and to the SQA for their help and support in producing these. For more updates, delivered to your Glow newsfeed, for the subjects and levels you’re interested in click on the hashtags in the newsfeed and click on follow.​

National 5 Sciences Resource Guides

Education Scotland’s Sciences have posted resources guides for Biology, Chemistry and Physics on the Sciences Glow 365 site. These guides, similar to those created for Higher, maps useful resources to key areas within the SQA’s course and unit support notes. Guides can be found in the appropriate subject folder. Use the hashtags for more updates into your Glow newsfeed or set alerts for these updates to appear in your glow inbox. These guides are part of the increasing number of resources found on the NQ Higher Sciences Site , the NQ course materials Glow portal and the Sciences Glow 365 site

How CfE is making changes

This opinion piece by Education Scotland’s Strategic Director for School Years, Graeme Logan appeared in The Herald on Friday 1 August 2014.

Learners and teachers across Scotland have been working very hard, and next week will see the culmination of their efforts as qualification results are published. The introduction of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and the new national qualifications are significant milestones for Scottish education. Feedback from learners and examination centres during and after the exam period indicates that things have gone well so far.

The new national qualifications have been designed to build on CfE in a way that makes learning more relevant for today.  They are different from Standard Grade, Access and Intermediate qualifications, and direct comparisons with results from previous years are neither possible nor appropriate.

One of the objectives of our new curriculum is to allow for personalised learning, which aims to ensure that every learner gains the skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications that will see them equipped to succeed in our modern world.  Learners are following a far greater variety of “pathways” as they progress through their learning than previously.

Local authorities and individual schools have been developing their curriculum to meet the needs of their pupils at local level. In best practice, young people and their parents have been fully involved as decisions are made.  One key difference to previous years, is that many learners are taking qualifications in fewer subjects at the end of S4. Schools have made these changes to ensure greater depth in learning and best possible levels of achievement for young people. As they move into S5 and S6, it is anticipated that some may take courses in different subjects from those studied in S4.  The senior phase should be viewed as a phase of learning with flexible progression routes which allow all young people to build up a portfolio of qualifications and awards appropriate to their needs by the time they leave school.  It is important to remember that as part of CfE, young people will have studied all subjects to a higher standard than ever before, giving them a better broad general education and a stronger platform to build on.

Some schools have changed the timescales over which young people study for qualifications, for example “by-passing” qualification in S4, and instead following a two-year course to Higher in S5. The guiding principle is that qualifications, awards and achievements are taken at the right pace and stage for the individual over the senior phase, which for an increasing number of young people, will be up to three years.

Schools and centres will currently be considering how the first year of the senior phase has gone, to build on experiences of the new qualifications and make changes to ensure learners are getting the high-quality education they deserve. We have already seen changes made to the SQA’s verification process which aim to simplify the system whilst maintaining standards.

Whilst we provide a very wide range of support, working directly with practitioners as well as publishing materials and resources, we continue to extend our offer of tailored support to any school which requires it. We are here to support practitioners and schools so that they can do their job to the best of their ability. We shall continue to work alongside our national education partners to ensure that all learners are being served well whilst working closely with the National Parent Forum of Scotland to ensure that the interests of parents are also considered and taken account of.

My thanks, once again go to all the teachers who have worked so hard this year. To the young people receiving results, I wish you all the very best. Remember, there are many ways to get advice and support if you need it.

Pupils can contact the SQA’s candidate advice line on 0345 279 1000 or Skills Development Scotland Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000.  Your own school is of course best placed to help plan next steps in learning.

Graeme Logan
Strategic Director School Years
Education Scotland

Education Scotland Higher Computing Science Conference

Higher Computing Science  – Conference Report

Background information

Education Scotland held a conference on Thursday 29 May 2014 as part of the ongoing support of the new national qualifications.  The need for this national event became clear following a series of meetings early in 2014 between the Technologies team at Education Scotland and the following local authorities:

  • North Lanarkshire
  • East Ayrshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • South Lanarkshire

Discussion with the local authority representatives focused mainly on the implications of moving from 2 Higher Grade courses in this area of the curriculum to one new higher.  The opportunity to up-date the content was quite rightly taken.  However this has resulted in a significant amount of new content which has resulted in practitioners being uneasy about their ability to deliver the subject content for this new qualification.  In order to evaluate the scale of the difficulties Education Scotland established a Short Life Working group for Computing Science to discuss the best ways to address the issues that were being highlighted.  This resulted in two main areas of activity

  • ‘crowd sourcing’ of support materials
  • organising and planning a national conference.

 The main aims of the conference were to

  • Examine a range of appropriate approaches to learning and teaching
  • Exemplify a significant amount of new course content
  • Continue to build a successful learning community for computing science
  • Examine other areas for development to be addressed over the next academic year

 Conference organisation and delivery

The programme for the event was a mix of keynote presentations and workshop sessions.  Gerry Docherty set the scene for the conference.  He is currently Chief Executive of Smarter Grid Solutions a fast-growing company, with operational bases in Glasgow, London and New York.  He leads on the implementation of the ICT and Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan.  This plan makes explicit the need for developing skills in this key area of the Scottish economy.   It also makes clear connections to the industry working much more closely with the education sector.  From an education perspective, Education Scotland see this report as being a powerful driver behind the support we are going to be giving this area of the curriculum over the next year or two.  Gerry did a tremendous job setting the scene for the conference and many of the issues he raised in the morning were discussed again in the closing plenary. 

Peter Donaldson set the scene for the afternoon sessions by outlining the aims and objective of PLAN C (Professional Learning and Networking for Computing).  He explained that the Core PLAN C team are connected to 50 lead teachers who are then connected to a further 10-25 teachers in their local area with industry, HE and FE encouraged to link in taking a more strategic approach to supporting work in this area of the curriculum.

The workshops were delivered by 9 practitioners identified by the Computing Science Working Group and delegates were able to attend 3 workshops over the course of the day.  It was planned that each of these workshops would focus on learning and teaching as well as new course content.

Evaluations

The evaluations and conversations with various stakeholders during and after the event indicate these aims were met.  The table below indicates how successful the event was with respect to the evaluation forms returned at the end of the event.  This is based on 66 returned evaluations.  In total there were 125 delegates in attendance and 30 out of 32 local authorities had representatives and there was representatives from the private sector and from colleges.

The key statistics from the table above are

  • 92% of delegates agreed that ‘meeting and exchanging ideas with colleagues was valuable’.
  • 94% of delegates agreed that ‘the workshops sessions and discussions were helpful’
  • 89% of delegates agreed that ‘the suggested approaches to learning and teaching were appropriate’
  • 67% of delegates agreed that ‘a significant amount of new content was exemplified’

 

The figure of 67% in the final statistic is probably explained by the fact that the delegates were approaching the new content from a slightly different teaching background.  These being either a Computing Science or Information Systems background.  It is also an indication that much more needs to be done to support teachers in this area.  One of the comments from the delegates also helped explain this

‘Still need more detail.  Some subjects were over-subscribed, more access to these would be helpful.’

Further comments from delegates were very helpful and they focused on the following key areas.

Ongoing Support

The delegates recognise that this is just the start

‘More events like this to show ideas and methods.  Better continued support.  Direct guidelines to local councils as to how staff should be supported – reinforce the importance of computing science.’

‘We are still unclear about the depth of coverage and are simply guessing.  Fortunately we have a year to get the handle on this so hopefully more information will come out from SQA and yourselves.’

‘More meetings where we can gather, talk face to face and get away from being lots of ‘wee islands’ – the sessions were excellent and I am away feeling muchh more confident about the higher. Anything for ISDD would be great.’

Professional Learning Community

While computing teachers have an excellent ‘professional learning community’ through CompEdNet there is still more that we can do.

‘Local ES events welcome.  How can we develop a shared agenda?’

‘More of the same please. Always good discussions + inspiration.’

The role of key organisations

In the context of on-going work across education and the ICT sector this comment is pertinent

‘Very interesting and useful event.  Great speech by Gerry Docherty’.

Education Scotland and SQA are still expected to do more in this area too.

‘SQA arrangements still require more guidance on depth of treatment required.’

‘More detail on the support team at Education Scotland.  Who’s our contact? Who does what?’

Summary/Conclusions

Education Scotland would like to thank the Computing Science Working Group for their support in making this conference a great success.  The conference would not have been possible without their knowledge and understanding of the computing science context in local authorities and in schools.  Workshop presenters did a superb job and the level of ‘interactivity’ in the sessions was impressive. 

The following comment is one that we should finish on

‘Absolutely fantastic, we need more of these to get up to speed.’ 

It may be worth considering following this conference up in May 2015 to cover other aspects of the new higher but also have a focus on the new ‘Advanced Higher’.

Next steps

The following suggestions have been made as to how we build on the success of the conference

–          Work with the CompedNet practitioner network to identify the features within Glow that will support what they are doing through their professional on-line community.  This will focus on the added value Glow brings that is different from what’s on offer already through CompEdNet e.g. Glow TV, Glow Meets etc

–          Create user stories (identifying practice that’s worthy of sharing)

–          Monthly Computer Science update (publication, 2 sides A4)

–          Host a series of regional events to roll out the information from the conference

–          Host an online national conferences.

Education Scotland is aware that more support is required for computing science and this will continue over the next academic year.

Workforce Review – Practitioner Consultation

Professor Iram Siraj has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to chair a review on the Early Learning and Childcare Workforce and Out of school Care Workforce from March 2014 to April 2015.

The second call for evidence in relation to the review has now been launched by Professor Iram Siraj.

This call for evidence consists of the completion of separate questions by practitioners and individuals working within early learning and childcare and out of school care sectors. Individuals working within both sectors will have the opportunity to complete both sets of questions.

The original deadline for the first call for evidence, which was specifically aimed at organisations has also been extended. This is in recognition that there may be organisations who have not yet had time to respond. The date for both responses is now the 30th September 2014.

This is an excellent opportunity for individuals and organisations to contribute to the review of Scotland’s Workforce.

Become an inspection volunteer today

Passionate about good care?

The Care Inspectorate is looking for people to help them carry out their work. They would like people with first-hand experience of care to help make sure care in Scotland continues to improve, by becoming an inspection volunteer. Inspection volunteers are members of the public who use a care service, have used a care service in the past or care for someone like a family member or friend who has used a care service.

Volunteers help the Care Inspectorate get the views of people using care services.  They work closely with the Care Inspectorate’s teams of specialist inspectors and together they help spot where things need to improve, help keep people safe and ensure that the rights of people receiving care are respected and their needs met.

Interested?

To find out more please click the link below

http://www.scswis.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7731&Itemid=757

Physics resources for N4 and N5 from Aberdeen City Council

Many thanks to Aberdeen City Council for sharing resources.
These materials are provided to support staff who are delivering programmes of learning in Physics National 4 and National 5. Staff are encouraged to draw on these materials, and existing materials, to develop their own programmes of learning which are appropriate to the needs of each individual school.

The materials include National 4 and National 5 teacher guide and a complete set of problems and answers for:
•Electricity and energy
•Waves and radiation.

They are available in the NQ Sciences Glow Portal.

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/p/nqresource_tcm4817069.asp

Chemistry resources for N4 and N5 from Aberdeen City Council

Many thanks to Aberdeen City Council for sharing resources.

These materials are provided to support staff who are delivering programmes of learning in Chemistry National 4 and 5. The materials include teaching and learning activities for:
•Chemical formulae and reaction quantities
•Acids and alkalis
•Neutralisation
•Rates of reaction
•Energy changes
•Atomic structure
•Chemical formulae and equations.

They are available in the NQ Sciences Glow Portal.

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/c/nqresource_tcm4749193.asp

SQA Star Awards 2014 – nominate your brightest star’s!

Nominations are now open for the SQA’s annual Star Awards.

The awards are a unique way to celebrate success, triumph, achievement and recognition of the best in education and training. Behind every success story lies motivation and commitment, pride and self-esteem and, of course, sheer hard work.

See the stars come out – nominate your stars today at www.sqa.org.uk/star

Closing date for entries is Friday 27 June 2014.

Higher Human Biology Resource Guide

This Higher Human Biology Resources Guide links Mandatory key areas to useful learning and teaching resources.

The pages show the Mandatory key areas table from the SQA Higher Biology course and unit support notes with an additional column containing hyperlinks to videos, animations and other resources. Content new to the course from the Higher Still Higher have been highlighted in green to further assist practitioners.

Updates will be posted on GLOW 365

This resource compliments similar guides produced for Higher Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Higher Human Biology Resource Guide

Higher Sciences Cross Authority Writing Group

Following the NQ Sciences events which took place in Hampden Stadium in December 2013, Education Scotland, in partnership with the SQA, organised cross authority writing workshops for NQ sciences qualifications. Faculty Heads and Principal Teachers from 30 local authorities have attended and worked collaboratively to co-develop materials for priority areas identified required support at the Hampden events.
These events have been hugely successful; at the first event hosted at SSERC materials for the National 5 Assignment, National 4 Added Value Unit were produced along with a bank of open ended questions.
The first Higher event allowed practitioners to evaluate Education Scotland materials and to generate and share further support materials. The second event at SSERC allowed delegates to choose practical activities appropriate for the new Highers and practice these as well as gain some content training from our partners at SSERC. Over 500 resources was shared through the GLOW 365 sciences platform.
The third Higher Cross-Authority Writing Workshop took place on Tuesday 27th May.
The purpose of the day was to provide practitioners with the opportunity to complete the materials they are developing for the Higher Sciences qualifications and professional learning events with updates from industry and further education professionals of the applications and theory of new content areas. Colleagues from HMI, SQA, learned societies, STEMnet ambassadors and research institutes join the group. Presentations included careers in life sciences venture capital, the Higgs Boson, Antioxidants in food and Stem Cell research. Speakers then worked with teachers to produce professional learning materials, teacher and pupil resources and assignment materials.
The feedback from the events was very positive with those attending keen for the model of cross-authority collaboration to be extended to include preparation for the new Advanced Higher courses, review best practice in National 3,4 and 5 courses and to quality assure materials share through the GLOW 365 sciences platform.

Higher Computing Science Conference

Computing Science – support for new national Qualifications

Education Scotland organised and delivered a conference to support learning and teaching around the new Higher Computing Science on 29 May 2014.  The main aims of the conference were to

  • Examine a range of appropriate approaches to learning and teaching
  • Exemplify a significant amount of new course content
  • Continue to build a successful learning community for computing science
  • Examine other areas for development to be addressed over the next academic year

Gerry Docherty, Chief Executive of Smarter Grid Solutions, who leads on the implementation of the ICT and Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan was the keynote speaker.  He did a tremendous job setting the scene for the conference and many of the issues he raised in the morning were discussed again in the closing plenary.

It was a really great day and gives us lots to build on.  If you have any suggestions as to how Education Scotland can further support this area of the curriculum please contact jim.lally@educationscotland.gov.uk.

SQA Star Awards 2014 – Nominate Your Brightest Stars!

Nominations are now open. The SQA’s annual Star Awards are a unique way to celebrate success, triumph, achievement and recognition of the best in education and training. Behind every success story lies motivation and commitment, pride and self-esteem and, of course, sheer hard work.

See the stars come out – nominate your stars today www.sqa.org.uk/star

Closing date for entries is Friday 27 June 2014.

Registration for SLF 2014 now open

Registration for SLF 2014 is now open at www.scottishlearningfestival.org.uk

The theme of SLF 2014 is raising achievement and attainment for all with a focus on maximising educational outcomes through:
• early intervention and prevention – for children, young people and adult learners in order to maximise educational outcomes;
• health and wellbeing – ranging from physical education and sport to the full range of health and wellbeing subjects which are the responsibility of all practitioners;
• employability skills – to secure a highly educated, well prepared and well-motivated young workforce able to compete in a global market.

SLF 2014 is free for everyone to attend and gives you access to:

• Inspirational keynotes from Michael Russell MSP, Dr Frank Dick, Prof Alma Harris and John Carnochan;
• Over 100 professional development seminars where you can engage in activities and learn from practitioners and young people;
• Lively debate at the professional discussions led by Sir Ian Wood, Chair of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, Sir Bill Gammell, Chairman and Co-founder of the Winning Scotland Foundation and Kenneth Muir, Chief Executive of the GTCS;
• Scotland’s largest education exhibition with over 100 exhibitors showcasing educational resources;
• Opportunities for discussion and professional networking with peers and colleagues from across Scotland.

Book Now
To guarantee your place at SLF 2014 and your choice of seminars book now, as many sessions do fill up before the summer break. Visit www.scottishlearningfestival.org.uk to browse the full conference programme and book your place today.

Software to support server-side development for Higher Computing Science

The new Higher Computing Science has a clear focus on modern technologies and development for the Web.  Server-side scripting and online databases are the building blocks of the large information systems that we all use today.

The new Higher requires learners to provide “exemplifications and implementation of coding to create and modify information systems including the use of: … scripting (database/web pages), server-side scripting…”

This means that every learner studying Higher Computing Science should have experience of using these technologies.  To support the introduction of the new Higher Computing Science, Aberdeen City Council have created and deployed a number of open source software packages.

We have deployed EasyPHP to provide each learner with a dedicated web and database server. This open source software provides an Apache Web Server, MySQL Database Server, PHP language plug-in (to allow for server-side scripting), phpMyAdmin (a web based database management tool) and Xdebug (to provide full debug information for learners as they develop programs).  These servers are hosted locally on each computer where this software is deployed and the servers are controlled via a small application that learners can manage to start/store the servers as required.

This solution provides a full suite of technology that our teachers can now deploy in the classroom. We have modified the software so the data that a learner creates is stored and moves with the leaner in his/her roaming profile.  No matter which computer he/she is using the required data is available. 

As the solution is deployed locally on each station, the web pages are viewed using the localhost (http://localhost/) URL and the server is not broadcast to the wider Internet.

To assist with the development of programs, we have also deployed the open source NetBeans web project editor which supports development using a number of technologies that feature in the new Higher:  Javascript (client-side scripting), PHP (server-side scripting), MySQL (database queries), HTML, CSS and others.

In tandem with this software deployment, we have also provided training to support this technology, which all our Computing Science teachers have been involved with. 

If you would like additional information about this solution please contact Charlie Love at Aberdeen City Council.

HIgher Chemistry Resources Guide

 

This is the next in a series of Higher Resources guides linking key areas of the curriculum to identified learning and teaching resources

The pages show the SQA Higher Chemistry course and unit support notes with an extra column. Content new to the course from the Higher Still Higher are highlighted in green.

The extra column, entitled “Resources identified by Education Scotland”, shows links to resources each with a brief description. They are web-based resources such as animations which help understanding of the mandatory content listed. Each resource is placed adjacent to the content it exemplifies.

Updates will appear on GLOW 365.

Higher Chemistry Resources Guide

Higher Physics Resources Guide

This is part of a series of Higher Resources guides linking Mandatory Course key areas to useful learning and teaching resources.

The pages show the Mandatory Course key areas table from the SQA Higher Physics Course and Unit Support Notes with an additional column containing hyperlinks to videos, animations and other resources. Content new to the course from the Higher Still Higher has been highlighted in green to further assist practitioners.

Updates will appear on GLOW 365

Higher Physics Resources Guide

Particle Physics Masterclass, 17th June 2014

On behalf of Dr Aidan Robson FInstP,

Reader in Physics,

The University of Glasgow

Dear colleagues,

As part of “Elementary – CERN and Scotland”, http://cernandscotland.tumblr.com,

I’m pleased to invite you and your current 5th-year students to this year’s schools Particle Physics Masterclass, which will be held on Tuesday 17th June 2014 at Glasgow University.

This one-day introduction to fundamental particles and forces will be led by experts working at CERN and will convey some of the excitement of front-line research in a rapidly-developing field, with talks and hands-on sessions in particle detection and analysis of real collider data.

The masterclass will take place on Tuesday 17th June 2014 from 10am to 3.30pm, with registration from 9.30am, in the Kelvin Building at the University of Glasgow. It is intended for students who are just finishing 5th year; ideally for those continuing to Advanced Higher. There is no charge, and lunch will be provided. However, participation is by advance booking only and numbers are limited.

Please consult your pupils and if they would like to attend, email a list of their names to masterclass@physics.gla.ac.uk and indicate whether you would like to accompany them. The masterclass is normally oversubscribed, so I will try to make a fair allocation to schools on 9th May or shortly thereafter. Note that I’m unlikely to be able to fulfil requests for groups of more than about 10 per school.

We all look forward to seeing some of you here on 17th June.

Best wishes,

Aidan Robson

N5 Chemistry Past Paper Guidance

Education Scotland and SQA have identified questions from Standard Grade Credit and Intermediate 2 papers from the last three years and matched them to Key Areas in the N5 Chemistry Curriculum.

This resource has been produced in response to the requests from practitioners who attended the National Qualifications Sciences events at Hampden Stadium in December 2013 which Education Scotland organised in partnership with the SQA.

The questions in this resource relate to National 5 Chemistry and have been taken from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 Past Papers.

Booklets of past papers and answers have been collated for the three units and a problem solving booklet for teachers and students to use as part of their revision programme for the N5 exam.

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemical Changes and Structure (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemical Changes and Structure

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemistry in Society (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemistry in Society

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Nature’s Chemistry (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Nature’s Chemistry

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Problem Solving (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Problem Solving

N5 Biology Past Paper booklets

Education Scotland and SQA have identified questions from Standard Grade Credit and Intermediate 2 papers from the last three years and matched them to Key Areas in the N5 Biology Curriculum.

This resource has been produced in response to the requests from practitioners who attended the National Qualifications Sciences events at Hampden Stadium in December 2013 which Education Scotland organised in partnership with the SQA.

The questions in this resource relate to National 5 Biology and have been taken from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 Past Papers.

Booklets of past papers and answers have been collated for the three units for teachers and students to use as part of their revision programme for the N5 exam.

Biology-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Cell-Biology

Biology-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Life-on-Earth

Biology-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Multicellular-Organisms

N5 Physics past paper booklets

Education Scotland and SQA have identified questions from Standard Grade Credit and Intermediate 2 papers from the last three years and matched them to Key Areas in the N5 Physics Curriculum.

This resource has been produced in response to the requests from practitioners who attended the National Qualifications Sciences events at Hampden Stadium in December 2013 which Education Scotland organised in partnership with the SQA.

The questions in this resource relate to National 5 Physics and have been taken from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 Past Papers.

Booklets of past papers and answers have been collated for the three units for teachers and students to use as part of their revision programme for the N5 exam.

Physics-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Dynamics-and-Space

Physics-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Energy-and-Electricity

Physics-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Waves-and-Radiation

‘How am I preparing for the exams?’ A learner’s perspective

As this year’s NQ exams approach we continue our series of posts by parents and learners.

‘There are so many different methods people can use to revise for their exams; I have chosen the best method for my learning.

I try and split up my nights after school into hopefully 3-4 different subjects, spending about an hour on each or so. I have 5 higher subjects altogether and so the ones I miss that night I will do the next day during school in a free period. To start my revision, I base my studies on the theory of the subject. For example for Higher Biology at the moment, I’m using the textbook to write out notes on each of the sub-topics and also concentrating on the topics I struggle with. Once I have completed these notes I move on to practising past papers.

Writing notes, I find is the best way for my revision but it is different from others. It is also very important to practise past papers, and get used to the techniques you require to understand the questions. Past Papers also help you find points you might have forgotten about or struggle with, which I then refer back to my school notes, textbook or the online Scholar site. Scholar is very useful as an online resource; it supplies each student with the revision material for each subject and goes into detail on subjects that are usually found to be difficult. It also gives you examples and questions to work on. Working through Scholar it also gives you a topic test, where you can see how well you have progressed and also what else has to be worked on. I have also started my revision quite a bit before the exam as each subject’s capacity is large and it’s important to revise each as thoroughly as the other. ‘

Pupil (S5 Higher)

Take a look at the Parentzone website which has a guide to helping your child prepare for exams, with links to revision aids and specimen papers.

Also see other blog posts by parents and learners:
Learner’s perspective (S4)
Another Learner’s perspective (S4)
Parent (S4 pupil)
Parent (National 4/5 boy & Higher girl)

‘How am I supporting my child through her exams?’ A Parent’s perspective

As this year’s NQ exams approach we continue our series of posts by parents and learners.

‘At the moment I am trying to be patient with my child as I know she is under a great deal of pressure, so I am also trying to shield her a bit from unnecessary distractions or extra demands on her time, ie if she is actively revising I won’t ask her to complete her chores within the household.

I am trying to almost cocoon her a bit from the noise and bustle of a busy house where she has older and younger siblings getting on with their lives. We have rearranged her room and provided a desk so she doesn’t have to study at the kitchen table (which is a nuisance for everyone) and has a place to leave her materials undisturbed. I am encouraging her younger sister, with whom she shares a bedroom, to play in other rooms to give her a bit of peace. I am fortunate to have the space to do this.

Similarly I am keeping an eye on her diet and sleep patterns to ensure she is getting enough to eat and drink and is not over tired. I will continue to do this until the end of the exams and will up the ante considerably in the days leading up to them. I encourage her to take a break from her desk to watch TV or go out with friends to keep her from overworking.

My dad bought her some specimen papers from SQA for a few of her subjects, Maths, Chemistry and Physics which have helped her become more familiar with the new type of questioning involved in the N5 papers. She has been provided with some revision booklets etc for some subjects from school but this has been very patchy. I have been web surfing to find any extra resources to plug gaps. The new revision guides from the NPFS will be very helpful in the next few weeks providing extra examples of questions for the N5 question papers.

I am trying to keep calm myself and not get worked up if she becomes anxious or stressed.I know that I have to provide support as she needs it and to suit her…’

Parent (S4 pupil)

More posts:
Parent’s perspective (National 4/5 boy & Higher girl)
Learner’s perspective (S4)
Another learner’s perspective (S4)

Take a look at the Parentzone website which has a guide to helping your child prepare for exams, with links to revision aids and specimen papers.

Getting ready for the National Qualifications – another learner’s perspective

In the run-up to this year’s NQ exams we asked some young people how they are preparing for them and some parents how they are supporting their children through them. Over the next few weeks we’ll share their thoughts with you via this Learning Blog.

‘The countdown to the exams has really begun. All that teachers are talking about now is revision, revision, revision. Some teachers are making classes a bit fun by doing quizzes and games to go through the topics and I like that.

At home I am trying to do a bit extra every night. It is hard to fit everything in and so I have made a timetable which has helped my time management a bit. I get stressed when I can’t fit it all in. I know I have to have some free time too and I am trying to get the balance right. I don’t really like all this studying so I am finding it quite hard to motivate myself.

I have some specimen papers for the subjects I find the most difficult and they have helped my studying quite a bit. They really helped me prepare for the prelims too. I am going to start using the revision pages from NPFS too now.

As I am doing N5 music I try to play my violin most days for a change of focus. I have already completed the music practical exam which gave me a little sneak preview into the tension that overcomes you when entering the exam hall. This is my first ever sitting of exams so this part of it frightens me a little.

I have been going to supported study three times a week after school and some subjects have lunch time revision classes too.  I am going to go to Easter School during the Spring Break.

The exams still feel a wee bit away but I know that nearer the time I will have to prioritise a bit for the next exam.

I will be glad when they are all over….’

Pupil (S4)

(Take a look at the Parentzone website which has information and advice for parents and carers who have children sitting exams in the coming weeks. )