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Time is running out to join over 3,000 colleagues from across the education sector at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival, Scotland’s largest education event, which takes place at the SECC in Glasgow on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th September.

At SLF this year you can choose your range of professional learning from the keynote speeches over 100 seminars and professional discussions, as well as the largest exhibition of its kind in the country.  Everything is themed around raising achievement and attainment for all by maximising educational outcomes through early intervention and prevention, through promoting health and wellbeing, and through developing employability skills.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell MSP will open the conference with a keynote speech to a wide audience who come from across the educational spectrum and who all contribute to the learning and development of Scotland’s children and young people. Delegates won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear the speeches from world renowned educationalists such as Dr Frank Dick, Prof Alma Harris or John Carnochan OBE, QPM. In addition there promises to be lively debate as part of the highly interactive seminar sessions, including sessions led by leading figures such as Sir Ian Wood, Sir Bill Gammell and Kenneth Muir.

Dr Bill Maxwell, Chief Executive for Education Scotland, said: “I’m looking forward to meeting colleagues from across the early years, primary, secondary, community learning, health, social work and voluntary sectors at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival, which looks set to be our best yet.

“Those attending will have the opportunity to meet with peers from across the country to network, share best practice and develop fruitful insights and partnerships that can really benefit children and young people.”

Alongside a huge range of stimulating keynotes and seminars and the ever-popular exhibition area, there will be a number of exciting announcements and launches over the course of the two days.  The new curriculum development toolkit ‘Evaluating and improving our curriculum-Primary’ will be launched as will ‘Insight’ the new benchmarking tool for the senior phase.  The newly redeveloped Parentzone website will also be previewed.

There is still time to register for this year’s Scottish Learning Festival, follow the link to book your place.

Learning for people of all ages requires a multifaceted approach

This article by Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director, Lifelong Learning appeared in the Herald newspaper on 08 September 2014.

Scottish Education is undergoing a major shift with the introduction of the new curriculum from 3-18 and stories relating to education have been dominated by scrutiny of the new national qualifications. When speaking of education, the predominant image is inevitably of school-going children and young people.  However, learning is for everyone. Learning takes place throughout life and in a broad range of settings.   Education Scotland works to promote and improve learning opportunities for all. Community Learning and Development (CLD) is a hugely significant area of development for us.  It supports individuals, families and communities to tackle real issues in their lives through learning and action.

We are well aware of the links between deprivation and attainment. Whilst many answers lie within school settings, CLD has a significant role to play in closing this gap. We have been working hard to raise broader awareness of strengths in this area of education. CLD provides great opportunities for young people to undertake learning which contributes to their wider achievements, for example through youth work or schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

New CLD Regulations mean Community Planning Partnerships, local authorities and providers of public services must respond appropriately to expectations set by the national CLD Strategic Guidance. Working with agencies, our aim collectively is to create stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential communities and improve life chances for people of all ages. We support them through learning, personal development and active citizenship which can be the key to successes in our personal, family, community and working lives.

The recently published Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill proposes new rights for communities and duties for public authorities. These will, it is widely recognised, require more than legislation to become effective realities. Active community development interventions will be required if communities are to have a chance, on an equal basis, of benefiting from provisions in the Act.

This summer we also published the Adult Learning Statement of Ambition which we developed in partnership with learners and national agencies.  It aims to give every adult the right to access learning and make Scotland one of the most creative and engaged learning societies in the world.  However, without action and investment these are just words. Local authorities, politicians, employers, support agencies and everyone who supports adult learning need to add their commitment to this ambition and to act on it.

The new Youth Work Strategy, developed with YouthLink recognises that youth work too is creating substantial opportunities for learning outside the classroom. This strategy will give young people a voice, build sustainable learning cultures, ensure that Scotland is the best place to be young and in which to grow up, and ultimately improve wellbeing and life chances.

Through the CLD regulations and our developments in youth work and adult learning, Education Scotland has led a step-change in the clarity of ambitions for CLD and an energy and sense of purpose for the sector that will provide guidance over the coming years.

These initiatives have also ensured strong synergies with many other developments in education and beyond – the Early Years Collaborative, the Children and Young People’s Act, Curriculum for Excellence, the Post-16 Act, and The Wood Commission.  Together they provide an integrated framework of policy, advice and guidance.  I am confident that practitioners across CLD are very well placed to draw on this framework in providing the very best experiences for the young people, adults, families and communities they work with.

Scotland has a long, prestigious history for great learning, invention and innovation. We should embrace this legacy and look towards untapped potential amongst people of all ages. The impact of lifelong learning is extensive and includes opportunities to change or start new careers, help build communities and assist children with their homework. Learning means different things to different people at different stages but one thing is certain, it can mean life-changing possibilities both for individuals and for their communities, given the right level of support and encouragement. That it is up to all of us to help provide.

Moving Forward Together: a discussion event

Education Scotland is taking forward capacity building activities to support Scottish Government’s objective in tackling sectarianism. We are organising a discussion event in the Albert Halls Stirling on 6th October 2014.  This discussion event jointly organised with the Voluntary Action Fund offers the chance to draw upon good practice in communities in dealing with prejudice.

The key objectives of this discussion event are for delegates to hear from Scottish Government on their approach to tackling sectarianism, to build capacity to tackle sectarianism in partnership at a local and national level, to encourage further development of positive working relationships across the wider community including, third sector, education and CLD and to focus on sustainability and legacy at a local level in tackling sectarianism.

The agenda will include opportunities for workshops from practitioners including education authority staff, an update from Education Scotland and a keynote address from Scottish Government. If you require any further information please contact June on 0141 282 5137 or email

Route maps for Gaelic (Learners) and Gàidhlig

Route maps are a sequential list of the key guidelines, advice and support for qualifications at N4, N5 and Higher. They include important information about assessment, learning and teaching.  These papers are for teachers and other staff who provide learning, teaching and support as learners work towards National 4, National 5 and Higher.  The route maps for Gaelic (Learners) and Gàidhlig are available on the Education Scotland website.

Scottish Educational Research Association: Annual Conference Wednesday 19- 21 November 2014, University of Edinburgh

The Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA) is holding its annual conference in November in Edinburgh.  SERA strongly encourages all members of the educational community in Scotland, and beyond, to participate in the conference.  Along with the varied inputs in the programme, some key activities are of particular interest to practitioners, student teachers and early career researchers. 

  • Join one of the SERA networks and take part in network activities held at the conference and throughout the year. Current SERA networks include: Early years education; Early career researchers; Poverty and Education. A new network on Leadership in Education may be launched shortly. 
  • Participate in discussion at round tables centring on key topics in Scottish education.
  • Make contacts with educational researchers, members of learned societies and government representatives in the course of discussion sessions and social events.
  • Participate in a dedicated session to meet the Editors of Scottish Educational Review (SER), the key educational research journal in Scotland, and the Research in Education Bulletin (REB).
  • Access, publish and disseminate your experiences in the classroom, reflections and research into practice.
  • Submit a paper for the Estelle Brisard Award for the best paper written by an early career researcher.

 A small fund is available from SERA to support delegates’ attendance. Please visit the website at to find out more about how to apply.

SERA aims to promote educational research and debate about the contribution research can make to enhanced practice.  SERA membership brings the opportunity to join an active community of teachers, policy makers, teacher-researchers, professional researchers, research funders and other educational professionals.

CLD regulations – 1 year to go

It is now one year to go until each local authority publishes a three year plan for community learning and development in its area, setting out how the local authority and its partners will:

• improve life chances for people of all ages through learning, personal development and active citizenship;
• develop stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities.

As a hub of the community, schools have a key part to play in the lives of both young people and their families. You may already be involved in work locally with your community learning and development partners around The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013, which came into force last September. If not, we’d like to make you aware what is happening and encourage you to contact your local CLD partners for more information.
The CLD Regulations consist of two parts:

• a process to audit CLD needs, strengths and opportunities with communities and partners;
• a three year plan setting out what local authorities and their partners will do to meet needs, how they will co-ordinate their provision, and any CLD needs which will not be met during this period.

The first of these plans must be published by 1st September 2015. If you would like more information on the CLD Regulations, please go to the CLD pages of Education Scotland’s website or talk to your local CLD partners.

HSE publishes sensible risk guidance for schools

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published new web resources designed to support school managers in adopting a sensible and proportionate approach to health and safety risks. The resources will also interest anyone who provides advice or direction to schools or education providers, including local authorities.

The guidance draws on the work of HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel.  Some of the Panel’s cases raised concerns about over-protective approaches to health and safety in school activities. School managers themselves called for more support in developing rational approaches to risk management – particularly when dealing with risks to children.

HSE has used the experience of people working in education, so the guidance addresses the issues faced by schools on a day-to-day basis –  illustrating the balance between overly cautious risk aversion at one extreme and failing to manage the significant risks at the other.  In summary the guidance aims to:

  • clarify which activities are covered by health and safety law;
  • expose common health and safety myths;
  • identify the key health and safety roles in schools; and
  • advise school managers on how to make sensible and proportionate arrangements for health and safety.

The guidance tackles activities in the classroom and at school premises, and extends to the challenges and benefits presented by school trips and other outdoor learning activities – with links to case studies on sensible risk management outside the classroom

HSE hopes the new resources will help schools to strike a balance and prioritise and target the real risks while enabling pupils to experience learning opportunities to the full.

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

New Inclusion Resource from the John Muir Trust

Inclusion, wild places and the John Muir Award

This resource is a showcase of inclusion-related John Muir Award activity. This includes examples of the Inclusion organisations

(including schools and colleges) that use the Award and why they do. It also features short case studies from different sectors, and how the John Muir Award contributes to inclusion national policy. Click here to access a copy of the resource.

The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages people from all backgrounds to enjoy, connect with, and care for the natural environment. The John Muir Award is suitable from an upper primary level.

The Curriculum for Excellence and the John Muir Award resource helps people find out more about the John Muir Award and how it can meet a range of educational needs, recognise achievement, deliver Experiences and Outcomes through themes across learning. Access this resource here.

ASPIRES awarded further funding by the ESRC

The ASPIRES study, tracked the development of young people’s science and career
aspirations from age 10-14.
The first ASPIRES Project has now ended but the ESRC has awarded further funding to continue their research for the next five years.
ASPIRES 2 will continue this tracking over the crucial next five years of the young people’s lives, to understand the changing influences of the family, school, careers education and social identities and inequalities on young people’s science and career aspirations and, crucially, relate these to their actual subject choices and attainment in national examinations and their post-16 choices. This tracking of young people’s aspirations and educational outcomes comprises the crucial ‘final link’ in the longitudinal project,
and will have strong bearing on educational policy and practice.

ASPIRES 2 aims to investigate:
1. How are student educational and occupational aspirations formed, and how do they change, over time?
2. How are subject choices and (GCSE) attainment related to aspirations, and how are these patterned over time?
3. How are aspirations shaped by families and schools (including experiences of school science and careers education)?
4. How are aspirations shaped by gender, class and ethnic identities?
5. How can findings be translated for stakeholder audiences, specifically for policy-makers/ intermediaries, teachers, students and parents/families

The final report of the ASPIRES Project is available online

Family Learning in West Dunbartonshire: A Local Authority Case Study

West Dunbartonshire families are seeing improvements in the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and parents and carers, and their attitudes towards education as a result of learning together as a family, a recent project has shown.

The initiative by Education Scotland in partnership with West Dunbartonshire Council looked at learning opportunities that families can access in their local area, and found that learning together helped strengthen family dynamics and supported a learning culture within the family giving them a greater sense of wellbeing.

A report on the project, now published on the Education Scotland website, found that families accessing support through a number of family learning programmes in the area were better equipped at recognising and managing their child’s behaviour, as well as being more engaged in their child’s and their own learning and development.

Read press release: West Dunbartonshire families feel the benefits from learning together.

Read report: Family Learning in West Dunbartonshire: A Local Authority Case Study

Philosophy Conversation Day: Invitation to apply for a place at this event

Education Scotland will be hosting one of its popular Conversation Days on Monday 1 September 2014 at Denholm House in Livingston.  This is an opportunity for members of the philosophy teaching community in Scotland’s schools and colleges to come together and share ideas, good practice and talk through what’s happening in the subject at school and college levels.

The event is limited to 40 delegates and places will be allocated to ensure a good balance of school/college representation as well as a good geographical spread of delegates. The event is free, and lunch and good company are provided!  If you would like to apply for a place at this event, please contact Joe Walker, Senior Education Officer for Philosophy with your details and a short note about why this event would be of benefit to you.

Closing date for applications is noon on Friday 15 August. You will be notified shortly after this date as to whether you have been allocated a place.

Further details and draft programme are available from

Psychology Conversation Day: Invitation to apply for a place at this event

Education Scotland will be hosting one of its popular Conversation Days on Tuesday 2 September 2014 at Denholm House, Livingston. This is an opportunity for members of the psychology teaching community in Scotland’s schools and colleges to come together and share ideas, good practice and talk through what’s happening in the subject.

The event is limited to 40 delegates and places will be allocated to ensure a good balance of school/college representation as well as a good geographical spread of delegates. The event is free and lunch is provided!  If you would like to apply for a place at this event, please contact Joe Walker, Senior Education Officer for Psychology at the email address below with your details and a short note about why this event would be of benefit to you.

Closing date for applications is noon on Friday 15 August. You will be notified shortly after this date as to whether you have been allocated a place.

Further details and draft programme are available from

What issue should science solve next? Ask the Longitude Prize challenge champions.

Water. Paralysis. Food. Flight. Dementia. Antibiotics. Which challenge should science solve next?

In 1714 the UK Government offered £20,000 to the person who could solve the Longitude problem. In 2014 the prize fund has increased to £10,000,000 and the public get to decide what challenge needs to be solved.

I’m a Scientist get me out of here are giving the public the chance to ask before they vote with our Longitude Prize Zone. Until Wednesday June 25th anyone can quiz their champions to help decide which challenge to vote for,

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.

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
•Rates of reaction
•Energy changes
•Atomic structure
•Chemical formulae and equations.

They are available in the NQ Sciences Glow Portal.

Glow Update – June 2014

The Scottish Government June 2014 Glow Update is now available. This update details the progress of the various projects involved in Glow as well as useful information for Key Contacts, partners and educationalists.

Here on the Learning Blog we will be publishing these helpful updates on a monthly basis to keep everyone up to date with developments in Glow. In this edition you can find information on:

  • Glow Service – RM Unify Release
  • Countdown to switchover
  • Glow Projects Update
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Communications
  • Guidance and Policy
  • Download the June 2014 Glow Update – June 2014 Update Newsletter

    Book now for SLF 2014

    Registration for SLF 2014 is now open at

    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 to browse the full conference programme and book your place today.

    Science and Sustainability at the Scottish Learning Festival


    SLF 2014 is completely FREE for everyone to attend and will support practitioners as they explore a wide range of practical approaches, resources and research aimed at improving achievement and attainment for all learners in Scotland.
    There will be inspirational keynotes speeches, conversation and debate in the professional discussion sessions and professional learning seminars where you can engage in activities and learn from practitioners and young people;

    This includes a number of seminars specifically aimed at addressing the sciences curriculum.

    Wednesday 24th
    Learning for sustainability – a strategic agenda for change – SLF Guide Page 7

    In February 2014, the National Implementation Group for Learning for Sustainability was established to ensure all learners in schools experience global citizenship, outdoor learning, sustainability, children’s rights and play in a transformative way. This seminar will outline the ambitions of the group and this exciting agenda for change which will impact on all schools and support the introduction of the new GTCS Professional Standards.

    Thursday 25th
    Supporting primary science to inspire STEM careers – SLF Guide Page 21

    STEM subjects are central to Scotland’s economic future and our health and wellbeing. They also offer a range of excellent career opportunities for young people. This seminar will demonstrate how SSERC and Education Scotland provide valuable support for primary practitioners to enthuse and inspire learners about science and STEM careers.

    Thursday 25th
    Engaging pupils with science – SLF Guide Page 23

    Outlining the various projects Aberdeen City have developed, which have increased pupils’ engagement and enthusiasm in science. This includes the S6 Science Ambassador Award; Science Buddy Award; P6/7 Science Champions; Intertek Science Fair; Science for PSAs & Playground Science.

    To book your place browse the conference programme, note the seminars you want to
    attend and visit the SLF website –

    Register on line today.

    Exclusively on Glow: The Athletes, Games and Queen’s Baton

    Over the next 3 weeks Game On Scotland is delighted to be able to present you with an exciting series of Glow Meets for learners to hear from top Scottish athletes and post their questions to them.
    These sessions will include athletes such as Colin Gregor (Rugby 7s Captain), Eilish McColgan (athletics), Meggan Dawson-Farrell (wheelchair racer) as well as presenter and adventurer, Mark Beaumont.

    Joining the first session tomorrow may also win you a Clyde Doll. The best question posted will be selected as the winner.

    The following sessions will be on offer:

    Meet the Athletes 1: Sport in a Global Context
    4 June, 10.00 am

    Join Colin Gregor, captain of the Rugby 7s Team, Audrey McIntosh, the first Scot to complete an Antarctic marathon and 100k run in just 3 days as well as Angie Malone, British Wheelchair Curling team and Bronze medal winner from Sochi 2014, to hear about their extraordinary achievements as well as their views on global issues such as gender equality and inclusion.

    This session will be followed by:

    Athletes Challenge Global Issues – Workshop
    4 June, 11.00 am

    Learners from St Blane’s Primary in Blantyre will begin the workshop by presenting their findings from research carried out on tribal conflict in Rwanda and sectarianism in Scotland. The presenting group will be taking questions from the Glow audience and posing a some questions of their own to challenge learners participating on Glow. Leaners will provide an opportunity to get involved in a comparative discussing focused on tribal conflict in Rwanda and sectarianism in Scotland.

    Meet the Athletes 2: Preparing for the Games
    9 June, 11.00 am

    Eilish McColgan (3000m steeplechase), Ailsa Wylie (hockey striker), Meggan Dawson-Farrell (wheelchair racer) and Sean Docherty (table tennis) will share their excitement about the Games with you and tell you what it takes to be at the top of your game. They are looking forward to meet you and answer the questions you may have for them live on Glow. See you all on the 9th June!

    Mark Beaumont presents: The Queens Baton Relay!
    16 June, 11.00 am

    This exclusive session will be presented live by Mark Beaumont from a school in Midlothian. Mark will share his rich experiences following the baton around all the 70 nations and territories and answer your questions as we go along. He will also introduce you to some special guests joining him that morning. This session is one you don’t want to miss!

    The Team behind the Games: Meet the Glasgow 2014 Staff
    20 June, 11.00 am

    This is your chance to find out about the people who are involved in the organisation and running of the Games. You will receive insider information about a variety of aspects from the Games creators and be able to ask them the question only they will be able to answer.
    Game On!

    Game On Scotland Team

    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.

    Registration for SLF 2014 now open

    Registration for SLF 2014 is now open at

    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 to browse the full conference programme and book your place today.

    Adult learning in Scotland – Statement of Ambition

    Education Scotland is pleased to present Adult Learning in Scotland, a Statement of Ambition. Developed in partnership with the National Strategic Forum for Adult Learning, it takes account of the views of adult learners.

    The agreed aspiration is that Scotland becomes the best place to learn. The Statement has three core principles, that adult learning should be:
    •learner centred.

    As such it recognises the key and distinctive role that adult learning plays in helping to develop the person, the family, communities and society.

    Next steps in achieving this ambition will be to work with a task group to put in place a strategic implementation plan by autumn 2014.

    The National Youth Work Strategy and Adult Learning in Scotland, a Statement of Ambition will both be instrumental in improving life chances for all.

    Click to access AdultLearningStatementofAmbition_tcm4-826940.pdf

    Computing Science Conference

    As part of the ongoing support for senior phase qualifications Education Scotland has organised a conference to support practitioners who are delivering the new Higher Computing Science course.  This will be held in Edinburgh on Thursday, 29 May, 9:30 am, at the Hilton Grosvenor Haymarket.  Places have been allocated via local authorities, however there are a limited number of spaces still remaining and we would like to offer these on a ‘first come, first served’ basis to anyone who will be delivering the new course.  If you would like to attend, please email your name, school and authority/organisation to as soon as possible.  Full details will be sent out by email once all of the remaining places have been allocated.  We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the event.

    The Gaelic Books Council – free workshop

    The Gaelic Books Council, with the Scottish Book Trust, are hosting a free workshop for those interested in writing through the medium of Gaelic.

    The workshop will be led by Catriona Lexy Campbell on Saturday 24 May at 1200-1600 at the Gaelic Books Council, 32 Mansfield St, Glasgow, G11 5QP.  Participants will be given an opportunity to write stories, poetry, songs or plays.  If you are interested in this workshop, please e-mail or

    Writing competition for Gaelic Medium and Gaelic Learner Education

    CLAS – The Professional Association for Secondary Teachers of Gaelic – are pleased to launch their annual writing competition for Gaelic Medium and Gaelic Learner Education.  Young people in S1 and S2 are being encouraged to write on a choice of topics related to the significance of the year 2014 for Scotland.  Schools should submit their entries by 9 June 2014.

    For more information on the competition, please visit For general information on CLAS, which celebrates its 10th anniversary later this year, please visit

    Bookbug’s Big Sports Days

    Bookbug, Scotlands national book gifting programme have announced the details of their annual Bookbug Week celebrations. The dates for this year are 19th-25th May 2014 and the theme is Bookbug’s Big Sports Day.

    Sports themed activities, rhymes, stories and songs will be available at over 200 special events. Details of the events can be found by visiting .

    Bookbug’s Big Sport’s Day – Launch Event in North Inch Park, Perth

    There will be a special Bookbug Week flagship event at North Inch Park in Perth on Monday 19 May from 10.30am to 3pm. There will be races and games in the park, getting creative with arts and crafts and face painting and joining Bookbug for some special sporty stories, songs and rhymes. For more information about the event, please or contact the Perth and Kinross Bookbug team or 01738 477 043.

    New Gaelic Young Writers Award

    The Gaelic Books Council, the lead organisation for Gaelic literature in Scotland, is delighted to be working in collaboration with the Scottish Book Trust to establish an award for a young writer of Gaelic.

    Teenagers who are keen writers are being offered a golden opportunity with four awards from the Scottish Book Trust being available to people between 14 and 17 who write in Gaelic, English or Scots. The recipients of this year’s Young Writers’ Awards will receive a prize which includes a six month mentoring period with a published writer, a visit to a top London publisher, a writers’ retreat at Moniack Mhòr and the chance to meet industry professionals.

    Budding authors are invited to submit a piece of creative writing and a personal statement explaining why they would benefit from this programme. The closing date for applications is 27 June 2014. Full details are available on the Scottish Book Trust website. For more information on the award for Gaelic please contact

    GLOW TV Session Introducing circular economy of textiles

    CPD session 

     28th May from 16.00-17.00

    Lynn Wilson, Key Accounts Manager (Textiles), Circular Economy Team at Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) will deliver a GLOW TV session introducing circular economy textiles and clothing industry models and how examples could be applied to class project work. It will also cover ZWS current work with the clothing industry – Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 and the consumer side of this work – Love Your Clothes ( as well as Circular Economy Business Models in clothing retail.

    ZWS is commissioning a series of master classes for textile and clothing industry experts, academia and education practitioners to up skill in areas such as zero waste pattern design; assembly for disassembly; fibre processing and dry dyeing and printing, to be delivered from January – December 2015. Four places per master class (there will be 16 in a class) are offered to teaching staff responsible for national curriculum development. Those wishing to attend must apply by preparing a proposal identifying how it will contribute to their professional development and how they will disseminate the learning. An introductory one day event introducing the topics will be hosted by the Scottish Textile and Leather Association in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland in September and the date will be announced shortly.

    This session and the master classes proposed will be of interest to teaching professionals across disciplines from Science to Design and Technology as well as more traditional textile and clothing curriculum areas such as Home Economics and Art and Design.

    Click on the link below to sign up for this session.

    Sign up here!

    Glow Update – New RM Unify Release

    Each month the Scottish Government produces an update detailing the progress of the various projects involved in Glow as well as useful information for Key Contacts, partners and educationalists.

    Here on the Learning Blog we will be publishing these updates and highlighting various aspects of it during the month.

    This post will be looking at the Glow Service and the new RM Unify Release.

    RM Unify is the product from RM Education that hosts the Launchpad from which users can access their Glow content and services. An update, Version 2.0, is now live. We will continue to try to improve our notification process to you of these updates. The new features include:

  • Personal Launch Pads and an improved RM user interface including optimization for different screen sizes.
  • The My Launchpad feature allows individuals to personalise the Launchpad from a selection of tiles, including those made available by their school.
  • My Launchpad is available to all users by default. All users will now have restricted access to the RM Unify App Library to allow population of My Launchpad.
  • Schools can disable the My Launchpad feature if they wish using their RM Unify Administration accounts.
  • The RM Unify support documentation describes in detail the process of enabling.
  • To find out more visit the RM Unify Blog

    You can also download the full Glow Update Newsletter – April 2014 document.

    Issue 5 – Switched On Scotland

    Issue 5 of “SwitchedOn Scotland” – Computing At School Scotland’s newsletter – has been released.  This edition gives an overview of the recent Digital Skills Investment Plan announcement, an update on the PLAN C Professional Learning programme, advice on how SQA standard pseudocode can be used and exciting news from Universities regarding their recommendations for Computing as an entry requirement for courses.

    The newsletter can be viewed online at or on ‘issuu’ at

    Power Politics – teaching resources exploring Oil and Development

    Power Politics is a new education learning resource for schools, community groups, and anyone interested in global learning. 

    The resources were developed by the Living Earth Foundation as part of a three-year project funded by the European Commission. They were designed to meet the need for engaging development education materials, providing resources to teach with confidence on a broad range of issues relating to international development and global citizenship.

    The resources explore issues including the Millennium Development Goals and the environmental, social and economic impacts of the oil industry, enabling pupils to compare and contrast the different contexts of Scotland and Nigeria.

    Teachers, pupils and members of community groups in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Port Harcourt, Nigeria, were involved in a range of creative exercises and workshops, and were at the heart of developing the resources, which is clear to see in the final products.  They created films and comic strips to bring to life the differences and similarities in their day to day lives, and to provoke debate and discussion about the opportunities and challenges that living alongside the oil and gas industry can bring. 

    The Power Politics pack includes:

    • Comic text books
    • 9 short films introducing the key issues
    • Exercise packs with activities to suit a range of abilities
    • A user guide for teachers giving background information and additional support.  


    Power Politics is aimed at S1-S3 and the learning activities can easily be tailored to suit any age group.

    The learning pack, with comics and exercises for entire classes is available free to use. You can borrow them from the Montgomery Development Education centre or access and download from the website

    John Muir – teaching resources

    John Muir Education Pack – This resource aims to help teachers understand outdoor learning opportunities, and give confidence to use outdoor spaces for teaching a wide range of experiences and outcomes. The pack for Second Level encourages structured learning in the outdoors, along with a deeper understanding of John Muir’s writings and philosophies. The pack can be used flexibility as stand-alone activities to cover certain aspects of the topic or as activities leading into each other as a programme of learning. The Second Level pack can help with an introduction to the John Muir Award. John Muir Education Pack – Second Level

    The pack has been created by The Rural Connect Project which is all about reconnecting local communities to the rural environment through community engagement events, workshops and online resources

    Outdoor Learning Resource Guide – This new Outdoor Learning Resource Guide summarises the many benefits of Outdoor Learning, and contains useful information and website links for further information.

    John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe – A graphic novel based upon the life of John Muir has been produced by the Scottish Book Trust with free copies going to every secondary school in Scotland. It’s also available for anyone, anywhere to download as a PDF version. Teaching support notes and pupil activities also accompany the book. John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe brings Muir’s story to life in a new way, and is intended to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the natural environment and the importance of protecting wild places.

    New John Muir Way website – Find out everything you need to know about the UK’s newest long distance route, by visiting the new website. There are maps and information for each of the ten sections of the 133 mile route, which runs between Helensburgh in the West and Dunbar on the East.

    Outdoor Learning online support

    For information, resources, support, key organisations and national guidelines on taking learning outdoors click on the link below to access the Education Scotland outdoor learning online resource:

    Education Scotland Outdoor Learning online resource

    Key documents available on this resource include:

    • Outdoor Learning 3-18: Self-evaluation resource – this resource is specifically designed to support teachers and educators in pre-school centres and primary, special and secondary schools and Community Learning and Development (CLD) to evaluate the potential of their work to help children and young people learn outdoors.

    A downloadable word document highlighting all these links is available here: Education Scotland Outdoor Learning online support materials

    The Octavia Hill Awards 2014

    This year, the Octavia Hill Awards are looking for heroes who have helped children and young adults connect with the outdoors and wildlife – passing on their own experience, enthusiasm and love of nature. As many studies have shown, such connections with nature (even, or especially, in towns and cities) are essential for our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

    Nominate your wild hero

    Examples could include:

    • A teacher who makes a special effort to inspire their pupils to love and understand nature through outdoor classes.
    • An individual or organisation that has fought a campaign to save outdoor space to play in.
    • A conservation volunteer who gives up free time to take children and parents on field trips.
    • A national organisation that promotes the importance of children’s connection with nature.
    • An individual who teaches children outdoor skills, such as foraging, den-building, camping and birdwatching.

    The closing date for nominations is midnight 31 May.

    Further information can be accessed here: or

    Skills Fusion – VFX film careers outreach programme.

    Skills Fusion is a VFX film careers outreach programme. Funded by Creative Skillset ( , the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Industries, its aim is to highlight the skills shortage that the UK film industry faces in this sector and the opportunities, particularly in the more technical specialist roles that rely on strong educational foundations in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), and computer science subjects, available to students.

    Young people concentrating on these areas very often do not know, or realise that rewarding careers based on STEM subjects are possible in the creative industries, nor that many of computer generated imagery (CGI), that they see on the big screen, have been created here in the UK and not Hollywood. 

    It is recognised through the landmark report published by NESTA – The Next Gen Report –, that there is a knowledge gap between the classroom and jobs, and that without an intervention such as Skills Fusion, the UK film industry will not be able to maintain its position as a leading country to do business in the global marketplace.

    The intention of Skills Fusion through its resources, attending conferences, working with schools, participating in career fairs, engaging STEM orientated school clubs and cascading information through career advisor networks, that it can inspire and spark that initial interest to potentially fully fledged careers, career paths, which they might not have otherwise considered.

    If you would be interested in copies of the specially commissioned careers resource or have opportunities for someone to come to your school to talk about Skills Fusion, participate in an event/teachers CPD session or present a film careers talk to students, please get in touch with (Talent Development Manager, Into Film)

    GLOW TV – Meet the Engineer – Roma Agrawal

    Meet Roma Agrawal
    Date: 25th April
    Time: 9:30 – 10.30am
    Sign up here:


     Roma Agrawal ( , an Associate Structural Engineer at WSP, will be talking to students about her career and her role in designing bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with signature architects over her eight year career.  She will then take questions from the students in the studio and logged in on GLOW TV. 

    Roma Agrawal is being interviewed to encourage students to engage with The Leaders Award for STEM (

    Learning Technologies in Argyll & Bute Council

    Over the last year the learning technologies team in Argyll and Bute have been providing additional exciting, computer science related learning opportunities for young people at primary level.

    The long-term goal of this project is to capture the imagination of young people, to showcase what can be created and inspire through technology.

    Before commencing this project we were very aware that our young people had excellent ICT skills and made very good use of technology.  However, this project is about equipping young people at primary level with skills and knowledge to turn computing ideas into concepts, improve their understanding of how technologies work and gain some understanding of the concepts involved in computer programming. 

    We feel that this project is important to the economy of Argyll and Bute, particularly as we want to offer our young people as much choice as possible in where they live and work.  We feel that the technology sector provides a number of remote working and company start up opportunities.  Additionally we are very aware that almost every field of employment now relies on technology, and our challenge is to prepare young people for jobs that may not even exist yet.

    Our team has so far supported approximately 50 primary schools by providing expertise to assist them in commencing a computer programming related project.  We work with each school on an individual basis and the projects vary depending on the schools learning outcomes, expertise and available equipment. 

    Our approach has been to offer centrally hosted CPD sessions for staff whilst working directly with pupils in schools.  We feel that technology related learning provides excellent pupil led and peer learning opportunities.  It is however interesting to note that in the majority of cases the pupils’ knowledge of technology quickly overtakes that of the teachers.  Subsequently, we are seeing teachers taking up more of a facilitator role in technology related learning. 

    An important part of this project was to establish a loan bank of equipment.  This has given our team the opportunity to showcase a variety of technologies whilst allowing us to loan schools suitable equipment.  In addition this provides the school with an opportunity to try out various technologies before committing to a purchase. 

    The two most popular activities in our schools so far are Kodu and Lego Wedo.   However schools have also being using Raspberry Pi, Lego Mindstorms, Scratch, PicoBoard for Scratch, LiveCode and .net gadgeteer.  

    We have been very much encouraged by the enthusiasm and passion our young people exhibit towards technology.  We have found that about 97% of the young people have fully engaged with activities such as Kodu and have shown a real desire to learn the basics of computer programming. 

    This project has provided a number of opportunities for the young people of Argyll and Bute to share their learning and skills.  We have seen pupils presenting and demonstrating technology projects at workshops.  Some of these young people have stated that as a result of this they feel more confident in using technology but also as individuals too.  In addition to this we have a number of schools establishing lunchtime, afterschool computing clubs and some schools appointing pupil ICT mentors.

    The next step for this project is to implement a pupil self-evaluation framework in order that we can better measure the impact of learning computer programming in primary schools.

    Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

    Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder- A free event for Educational Professionals
    4 CPD credits awarded
    16th June 2014, Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ

    It is anticipated that this event will attract large numbers so please book early to be guaranteed a place.

    Please return your completed registration form by either post or email to:

    Post: RCPCH, 12 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JE


    For further information contact Lorna at the email address above or on 0131 247 3657Agenda and booking form FASD 16 June 2014

    Place will be allocated and confirmed on receipt of booking form.

    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Event for Nursery and Primary Professionals

    A free event for Educational Professionals

    16th June 2014, Edinburgh

    Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading known preventable cause of permanent learning disability worldwide and is caused by maternal use of alcohol during pregnancy. Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy and when contemplating pregnancy is the only way to be sure that the baby will not be affected by FASD. Affected children can have a wide range of physical, growth and neurobehavioural problems which impact on their everyday lives and limit their independence.  Often teachers are the first professional to notice a child has difficulties.

    Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are permanent lifelong developmental disabilities caused by maternal use of alcohol during pregnancy. Worldwide incidence is estimated at 9/1000 live births.

    As part of a programme of events over the last 3 years, to coincide with the Scottish Government funded FAS Surveillance Study, this year an event for nursery, primary school and educational psychologists has been arranged.

    The events keynote speaker is Jo Egerton, Schools Research Consultant & Educational Writer, who has a teaching background and a wealth of practical experience to share on:
    – The impact of FASD on learning
    – Helpful teaching and learning strategies
    – Supporting social skills
    – Promoting mental health and wellbeing
    – Encouraging positive behavior
    – Working with families

    We will also have parents talking about both positive and negative experiences.

    If you would like to book a space on this event, please contact

    Education Scotland meets with partners to tackle sectarianism

    Education Scotland currently has a Tackling Sectarianism Network engaging a range of organisations, including Scottish Government, Voluntary Action Fund, Church of Scotland, Scottish Catholic Education Service, Bridging the Gap, Children’s Parliament, Youthlink, Nil by Mouth, Sense over Sectarianism, South Lanarkshire Council, Garscadden Primary School, St Thomas’ Primary School (Glasgow). The network allows the opportunity to share good practice in our schools and communities and engage in professional dialogue regarding the issue of sectarianism.

    The network came together recently to discuss our aim to tackle sectarianism in Scotland. The group discussed the role of education in eradicating sectarianism. The discussions offered an opportunity to share good practice in both our schools and communities. The group also took a pro-active approach when discussing some of the challenges facing practitioners, and focused on finding positive solutions to these challenges.

    All partners involved were keen to offer support to schools and communities tackling sectarianism, so why not take a look at some of their websites?

    Action on Sectarianism

    Glasgow Sense over Sectarianism

    Nil by Mouth

    Education Scotland has a development officer in post dedicated to tackling sectarianism in Scotland. If you would like to share your good practice or discuss the possibility of developing your anti-sectarian work please get in touch,

    Get Scotland Dancing

    We’re on a mission to get more people dancing in Scotland than ever before.

    How? We’re working with as many dance providers as we can and together we’re campaigning for and promoting dance to the public, encouraging all to try a free taster dance class and to join in with our all-singing, but especially all-dancing, events programme.

    Get Scotland Dancing (GSD) was created by a Scottish Government policy in 2010 and is one of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Legacy programmes. It’s also part of Culture 2014, the national strand of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. It’s free to join and school/youth groups can register at

    Being part of the online community means you can find out what’s going on in your area and make connections with other dance groups and teachers who could help develop your work.

    Events especially suitable for school/youth groups
    Partners can work alone or team up with others to put on one or more of these events which are designed to be scaleable and can be staged at low/no cost. We provide event guidelines, funding advice, Culture 2014 branded print and sample press releases.

    The Big Dance Pledge
    created by Scottish Ballet – Friday 16 May at 1pm or 7pm
    The Big Dance Pledge is a chance to learn, make and perform dance with the rest of the world. The free online films show you the dance and how to learn it, or give you the starting point to make your own version. Music and teaching resources are provided too. Learning the dance is a fun way to get a group together to have a fun time doing something creative. Using rhythm and percussion, the dance is complete mix of dance styles. It’s under 4 minutes long and easy to learn, whatever your experience of dancing.
    Join other local groups and perform the pledge in a local landmark location and invite your local press along

    The Commonwealth Ceilidh
    with the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society – Saturday 21 June at 7.30pm

    A 24-hour global ceilidh on Saturday 21 June (the summer/winter solstice) with a programme of dances including three newly commissioned ones. Beginning at 19:30 (local time) in New Zealand and moving around the world, the final event ends 24 hours later in Hawaii. Add some local flavour with a unique interval dance that showcases dance styles from other Commonwealth cultures.
    Free online event guidance advises on how to plan your event. Free videos and teaching resources help a group to learn the dances in advance which they then share with their community on the night.
    Could be planned and run within a school context by students with mentoring.

    Make Things Do Stuff

    Make Things Do Stuff is a campaign to inspire young people aged between 13 and 18 to make things in the digital world. It aims to help them to look beyond being a consumer and instead to create things, understand why things happen and to take ownership of it for themselves.

    The campaign offers support, advice, resources and tools that are ideal for use in schools and at home, whether it’s a lesson, after-school club or competition. There’s something for everyone, whatever level they (or you) are at – and it’s all designed to nurture understanding and enjoyment through practical experience.

    Adapted from a special digital making event for Teachers in Scotland, these videos show a range of different step-by-step digital activities for computing/other secondary school teachers.

    MAKLab is Scotland’s first open access digital fabrication studio. The video covers how to create a 3D model of an object of your choice in 3D software and shows how the physical object can be then printed on a 3D printer. The process of creating a 3D object is a memorable and meaningful learning experience.
    Suitable for: Secondary teachers of all subjects at all levels, particularly CDT, Art and Computing.

    Processing Tutorial with Chris Martin
    Processing is an open source programing language, community and development environment. In this session you will learn how to rapidly demonstrate computational principles with striking interactive visual output. This will be hands on, fun and you will make something interesting.
    Suitable for: Teachers of National 4 / National 5 Computing

    LiveCode Tutorial with Elanor Buchanan and Neil Roger
    Livecode is an easy to learn, open source, high level language for creating programs and mobile apps for a variety of platforms including Windows, iOS and Android. The LiveCode introductory session will take you through creating a short interactive side scrolling hot air balloon game. Working with text, simple animation and using sound to create moving background images to give the illusion of movement, controlling an on-screen element, and detecting collisions to collect bonus points or end the game when you collide with negative elements.
    Suitable for: Teachers of National 4 / National 5 / Higher Computing

    App Inventor with Jeremy Scott
    We have to provide students with an experience of Computing Science that’s not only accessible and exciting, but real world. What better way to do this than tapping into the mobile revolution? This workshop will provide an overview of the RSE/BCS Computing Science exemplification project and focus on how teachers might use “I Love My Smartphone” to introduce mobile app development in the classroom.
    Suitable for: Teachers of National 4 Computing

    Colin Maxwell Animation Tutorial
    Vectorian Giotto is a powerful and free animation tool for creating 2D animations and interactive presentations. In this session you will explore the features of the tool whilst making short animations for science, literacy and foreign language, and discuss how the software can be applied to different curriculum areas. Animation is not just for art or computing classrooms, it can be an engaging medium across the curriculum.
    Suitable for: Secondary teachers of all subjects at all levels.

    Webmaker and Video Editing tools with Doug Belshaw from Mozilla
    The Web is the world’s largest free public resource. Do you feel confident in teaching your students about how to read, write and participate on the Web? In this session, Doug Belshaw from the Mozilla Foundation (the people behind the Firefox web browser) will introduce some free Webmaker tools that you can use in your teaching. You will also learn how to use Popcorn, a free and open video editing tool. You can make videos to educate your pupils or get your pupils creating campaign videos or short films to revise a topic.
    Suitable for: Secondary teachers of all subjects at all levels.

    Engineering Science – Engineering Contexts and Challenges

    “Engineering turnover has grown 2.2% over the past four years to £1.1 trillion in the year ending March 2012.  5.4 million people are employed across 565, 320 engineering enterprises but we need many more engineers!

    Engineering companies are projected to need 1.86 million people with engineering skills between 2010 and 2020.  This mean we need double the numbers of engineering related apprentices and graduates coming out of college and universities.”

    Facts from Engineering UK 2014 –

    Within Engineering Science National 4/5/Higher the engineering contexts and challenges unit is an opportunity to bring engineering to life and to deepen the learners understanding of how engineering plays a part in their local community.

    We have an opportunity for one group of learners studying national 4 or 5 or Higher to work with Edinburgh Trams and to see engineering in a real world context, in and out of the classroom.

    This will be based on a first come first serve basis, if you are interested please contact for more details.

    Launch of the information and communications technology (ICT) and digital technologies Skills Investment Plan

    First Minister announces funding to attract up to 11,000 jobs.

    Scotland’s digital technologies sector will benefit from £6.6 million to boost its internationally renowned reputation for cutting-edge expertise, the First Minister Alex Salmond announced today (Tuesday 11 March, 2014).

    The funding will support digital skills and address actions set out in the information and communications technology (ICT) and digital technologies Skills Investment Plan, which was also published today by the First Minister, on a visit to officially open the new Edinburgh premises of CodeBase, Scotland largest digital incubator company.

    The announcement comes during Make Young People Your Business Week which focuses on promoting the digital technologies sector as a career option to a younger audience while celebrating Scottish successes in the industry.

    The plan includes actions such as:
    • Responding to the immediate skills shortage by developing an industry led talent academy model in summer 2014 to support the demand of up to 11,000 jobs per year
    • Offering more opportunities to increase female participation in the digital sector
    • Aligning education systems to employers need and supporting employer engagement with schools
    • Delivering 750 work placements for FE/HE students by 2016

    Scotland’s ICT and digital technologies sectors deliver £3 billion to the Scottish economy and currently employs 73,000 digital technology professionals. There is huge global demand for Scottish expertise and talent in this sector and today’s announcement will help maintain Scotland’s position as a key player in the global arena.

    For more details follow the links below.

    The SDS/Scottish Government press release is here –

     The SIP has also been uploaded to SDS Skills Force website –

     BBC Coverage –

     Just as a reminder to  follow the Make Young People Your Business Week on twitter, use #DigiSkills.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Young people are

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

    Staff and practitioners are

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

    Primary curriculum conversation day

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

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

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

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

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

    Launch of the Tullis Russell Environmental Education Centre

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

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

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

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

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

    For general enquiries contact Keep up to date on what’s happening at TREE on Facebook and twitter – – .

    Cool Cold Commonwealth Food and Health Challenge

    FREE CPD opportunity Monday 17th Feb

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

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


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

    Moira Stalker

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

    Kirsten Mack and Scarlett Palmer

    Castleview Primary School on food and health in classroom.


    Chefs in School

    Eco-Schools Scotland


    Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI)

    Soil Association/Crofting Connections

    Focus on Food

    For more information contact Leaghann Watson –

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

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

    Big thinkers. Different sessions. One issue. 

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

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

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

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

    Session highlights

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

    International Collaboration on School Improvement project

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

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

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

    The commitment required from headteachers in Scotland is as follows:

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

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

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

    Primary technologies conversation day 28th February 2014

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

     The purpose of the day is to:

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

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

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