The Lost Words: helping unearth nature for new audiences


Ways in which this publishing phenomenon is being used to connect with diverse groups and learning settings are highlighted by Rob Bushby.

Read how educators, youth workers, countryside rangers and others are using The Lost Words to help inspire and engage people from all backgrounds to re-discover words – and find and interpret their own learning and meaning through creative connections with nature.

Free resources including 5 spell-poem downloads and an Explorer’s Guide are hosted by the John Muir Trust.

The Lost Words Examples April 19

British Council: LfS Connecting Classrooms Course


Glasgow: 14 January – 18 March (Venue TBC)

Edinburgh: 21 January – 25 March 2017 Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh
Oban: 22 April – 25 June 2017 (bookings not yet open, please register interest)

This professional learning initiative by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the British Council and Learning for Sustainability Scotland, is a timely opportunity for teachers to grapple with 
what Learning for Sustainability means, what existing and new skills and knowledge are required, and how this might all look in the your school context. Connecting directly with Curriculum for Excellence, involvement will enable you to effectively plan for and implement Learning for Sustainability approaches in your school.

This programme offers teachers the opportunity to engage and collaborate over a ten week period which includes two full day face to face sessions at the beginning and at the end of the period, supported by fortnightly inputs from online materials.

Teachers who successfully complete the programme will be eligible to apply for overseas study visits to partner schools in other countries. Learning can be used to strengthen international links at your school, enriching teaching and learning through partnerships and joint projects.

The professional learning is fully funded.

For more information on the Glasgow course, including what is involved and how to book please click HERE.

For more information on the Edinburgh course, including what is involved and how to book please click HERE.

If you would like to be included on the mailing list for future courses in other Scottish locations, please email Abi Cornwall.   


LfS at the Scottish Learning Festival 2016

SLF 2016Registration for this year’s Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) is now open.  SLF 2016 will focus on promoting excellence and equity for all through the key themes of:

• school leadership and school improvement

• assessing children’s progress and parental engagement

• teacher professionalism

There are a number of seminars exploring how these themes can be addressed through learning for sustainability. These seminars include:

Wednesday 21st September 2016

Learning for sustainability, leadership and school improvement
Ian Menzies, Education Scotland
Focusing on key drivers from the National Improvement Framework, including leadership, teacher professionalism and parental engagement, this seminar will explore how one school has developed a whole school approach to learning for sustainability as an integral part of their school improvement process. Seminar Code: D2E

Global learning partnerships: Inspiring today’s global citizens through career-long professional development, Georgea Hughes, The Wood Foundation
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire education teams share their experience of global learning partnerships; showcasing examples of partnership working and interdisciplinary practices which support and encourage young people to become thinkers, questioners, challengers and responders in a globally sustainable way. Seminar Code: D2C

Outdoor learning and Curriculum for Excellence
Daniel Moncrieff, FSC Scotland
Outdoor learning is increasingly being used as a powerful tool across all subject areas in Scotland, and in both primary and secondary schools. Our charity provided outdoor learning experiences for over 165,000 people last year, and during this seminar we will explore some of the different ways we work with schools to raise attainment in literacy, numeracy and other curriculum areas through residentials and day visits. The focus of the discussion will be on activities teachers can utilise to access outdoor learning environments and make these learning experiences as powerful as possible. Seminar Code: M1A

Outdoor learning – a whole school approach to raising attainment
Jenny Watson, Middleton Park School, Aberdeen
We will share our effective outdoor experiences to promote excellence and equality for all. Our outdoor learning has successfully raised attainment across the school and has been pivotal in our journey to excellence. Our sector leading approach to embedding the principles of GIRFEC in our outdoor learning
have been commended by HMI. Seminar Code: M1D

The James Maxton and WW1 project: a collaboration between teachers and archivists
Michael Gallacher, Glasgow City Archives
The seminar explores the lessons from the James Maxton and WW1 project, a collaboration between archivists, and primary and secondary teachers from Glasgow, supported by Education Scotland. It examines how partnerships create resources to enrich learning outcomes, empower teachers and engage pupils with unique, interdisciplinary sources of evidence. Seminar Code: K3B

A smorgasbord of support for practical food education
Lorna Aitken, Education Scotland
Join us at the table to discuss current ingredients within food education in Scotland. From self evaluation and support around whole school engagement with Better Eating, Better Learning to assessing pupil progress in practical food experiences, we will aim to fuel your learning with inspiration from colleagues across Scotland. Seminar Code: D2B

GIRFEC through eco-schools co-curricular participation
Dugald MacGilp, Keep Scotland Beautiful
This seminar draws on the experience of three school clusters in raising attainment through co-curricular participation. We will hear from students, teachers and education research staff about successfully achieving GIRFEC through participation. There will be the opportunity for attendees to discuss their experiences and to learn about the refreshed Eco-Schools programme. Seminar Code: B1D

Our 5Rights: Digital rights of children and young people
Scotland’s 5Rights Youth Commission
Young Scot, Scottish Government and 5Rights introduce Scotland’s 5Rights Youth Commission – a diverse group of young people passionate about their rights online. We will hear from them what their ‘5Rights’ mean to them, and how children and young people can be empowered to access technology creatively, knowledgeably, and fearlessly. Seminar Code:C2A

Thursday 22nd September 2016

Throwing out the plastic; constructing an environment which supports the development of high quality creative play, Catriona Gill, Craigentinny Primary School, Edinburgh
This practitioner enquiry used high quality self-evaluation to make deep and sustainable improvements to practice with real benefits for learners. The enquiry explored the effect of changes made to the nursery environment in order to cultivate creativity and develop opportunities for free flow play. Seminar Code:D1F

Rights made real: Rights-based learning in action
Christine Creaney, South Lanarkshire Council
South Lanarkshire Council’s fully accredited Rights-based learning model – Making Rights Real – has been embraced by both primary and secondary schools within and beyond the authority as a practical and effective conduit to achieving equity for all, improving school ethos and deepening engagement with
parents and the wider community. Seminar Code:B1G

Recognising and realising young people’s rights in youth work (resource)
Nicola Sykes, Education Scotland
This seminar will provide an introduction to the Recognising and Realising Children’s Rights resource for youth workers. The passing of the Children and Young People’s Act (Scotland) 2014 places further duties on Scottish Ministers and public organisations in relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This important legislation, enshrines in the education system enhanced duties in relation to the UNCRC. Recognising and realising children’s rights permeates the essence of youth work. The new resource supports youth work practitioners knowledge and understanding and invites reflection on how young people’s rights are realised in policies and practice. Seminar Code:A2H

Walking back in time
Donald Macdonald, Sustrans
Every local community has a story to tell. From the Romans, to Victorians and WW2’s Home Front, there is a story children can use to put their learning in context. This outdoor learning project uses active travel to engage children in learning and discover more about the place they live. Seminar Code:K3H

You can view the full conference programme here .

Volunteering for sustainability

ProjectTrustLogoB200Project Trust is now welcoming applications from those leaving school in 2017 who are interested in becoming Global Volunteers.

Project Trust’s aims are to “empower young people to be confident, creative and resilient through a challenging volunteering experience overseas.  Acting as responsible citizens and effective contributors, volunteers make a positive difference to their overseas host communities and share their learning and understanding when they return home. ”

From the charity’s home on the Hebridean island of Coll, Project Trust selects around 300 young people from across the UK for 8 – 12 month teaching, social care and outward bound projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“Project Trust gives young people the opportunity to explore the world whilst making a real contribution to the global community. … you don’t just see a place but become part of it.”

Lucy Hughes (Cambodia volunteer)

Working and living in challenging environments within communities around the world, offers volunteers an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of various global issues.  Through Project Trust’s Global Citizenship programme, returned volunteers also share their experiences and knowledge with schools across the UK. Volunteers can receive an accreditation of a Level 3 Foundation Year in Global Volunteering and Citizenship as formal recognition of their learning.

Volunteering overseas with Project Trust is open to all young people with the desire, motivation and aptitudes required to succeed.  A bursary fund has recently been established to provide financial assistance to volunteers who may require extra support.

To find out more visit

To organise a visit from a Project Trust representative to talk to S5/6 pupils, contact

Minister invites schools to share LfS story

Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, IMG_2574Science and Scotland’s Languages launched the #ThisIsLfS campaign this week, encouraging schools across Scotland to share their stories of what learning for sustainability means to them.

The announcement came as the Minster helped St. Aidan’s Primary School, Wishaw, unveil their sixth Eco Schools green flag. The learners displayed great confidence, knowledge and enthusiasm as they took Dr. Allan on a tour of their school building and grounds. They shared the many different ways they receive their entitlement to learning for sustainability.

IMG_2572P2/3 shared their learning on their whole class ‘Clyde in the Classroom’ topic, including an introduction to the “alevins” that had hatched in the special tank in the classroom. The children shared their knowledge of brown trout life cycles and displayed great care and attention in regulating the temperature and looking after the eggs. Dr. Allan commented on the potential of this project for furthering their knowledge of river ecology and care of the local environment.

In addition to the P2/3 class, Dr. Allan met IMG_2569representatives from a number of pupil groups including the Eco group, the Rights Respecting Schools group and the Fairtrade group. He was even treated to some home made carrot cake made from carrots recently harvested from the school’s raised beds. The children also spoke passionately about their links with Malawi and how much they had gained from their work in supporting and learning from their link school.

Dr. Allan said: “The Scottish Government supports every learner’s entitlement to learning for sustainability. We think it is a great way to learn and can help raise attainment and prepare young people for the world of work. For me, learning for sustainability is about learning for a better world. Education Scotland would like to hear what LfS means to you. You can share your pictures and stories and thoughts, using #ThisIsLfS. I look forward to seeing your responses. ”


Hands up for LfS award nominations!


Croftcroighn Primary School won the Learning for Sustainability (LfS) award at last year’s Scottish Education Awards. In this guest blog post, the Glasgow school share their story and encourage others to apply for this year’s award:

“We were delighted to win the Learning for Sustainability award at last year’s Scottish Education Awards.

We first decided to apply for the award to gain recognition for the excellent practice in Learning for Sustainability we feel we have established, not only in Croftcroighn School itself but across our wider campus and with various other partners.

We reflected upon Glasgow’s Growing Good Citizens diagram which provided us with a framework to work within and used the Reflection Tool: A whole school journey towards Learning for Sustainability to track and monitor our progress.

As a school we have undertaken a lot of work across many areas of Learning for Sustainability, this has included our extensive International Education programme We have gained our full International Schools Award from the British Council and received our plaque and flag. We have hosted many International visitors to the school from Namibia, Sweden, Dubai, Holland and Japan. We are currently involved in the Erasmus Plus project and have a social enterprise link with Malawi, working alongside a local secondary school.

We also have a thriving eco-committee in the school, which pupils, parents and the wider school croftcroighncommunity are involved in. We are currently working towards permanent green flag status.

Last session we were awarded a grant from Education Scotland which allowed us to undertake a whole school Food for Thought Project. This enabled us to raise awareness around the importance of healthy eating with both parents and pupils as well as developing a range of life skills. This has continued this session through the Love Food Hate Waste initiative we are involved in.

Another of our recent developments was to look at effectively taking our learning outdoors to develop pupil’s skills and understanding across the curriculum. This initiative was fully embraced by all staff and pupils and it now firmly embedded within the school and the wider campus as a whole. This included the development of a whole campus orchard.

It is important that our pupils learning takes place in a variety of contexts to make it meaningful for them and to develop their life skills, self-confidence and communication. On reflection many of the different initiatives we are involved in under Learning for Sustainability allows this to happen in a variety of ways and we were extremely proud to be shortlisted for the award. The judge’s visit was a very positive experience and they were keen to hear about all the work that was going on within the school.

A number of pupils represented the school at the award ceremony and celebration which was a wonderful experience for them and one which they thoroughly enjoyed. ”

SEA2016There is still time to nominate in the LfS category for this year’s Scottish Education Awards. Nominations must be submitted by 12pm on Monday 15th February.

Thank you to Clare Fitzpatrick and Margaret McFadden from Croftcroighn School for sharing their story.

#ReadyToVote – Scotland’s Schools Registration Event, March 2016

readytovoteThe Electoral Commission invites all schools to take part in: #ReadyToVote Scotland’s Schools Registration Event, March 2016.

It is easy for schools to take part. They just need to select a day during the month of March and encourage their students to go online and register to vote. The Electoral Commission is providing schools with a toolkit which will contain everything they need to deliver the event.

If you would like to take part and be sent a copy of the toolkit please email Jonathan Mitchell, at the Electoral Commission supplying your schools’ name and contact details.

This initiative is being delivered in partnership with Education Scotland, SOLACE, ADES, SLS, ERO’s, SCIS, and Colleges Scotland.


LfS and the Shieling Project

Shileing 1

Before outdoor learning there was the shieling.  For hundreds of years, each summer young people all over Scotland would take the livestock up to hill or moorland pastures, camping there in small bothies, learning about the world beyond the village. The Shieling Project brings the shieling back to life for young people and teachers, through outdoor learning, resources and professional learning for teachers.

Sam Harrison, who runs the Shieling Project explains “Through this tradition we can look at so many subjects across the curriculum, and work skills from archaeology to forestry, as well as exploring global sustainability themes through hands on local learning experiences.”

The Shieling Project professional learning programme in learning for sustainability will run again from this May.  The year long course leads to professional recognition from the GTCS in Learning for Sustainability.

Based in Glen Strathfarrar, near Beauly, four weekend workshops, two days of outdoor learning with your class and an online forum provide an opportunity to build a critical, supportive and collaborative community.  The course costs £900.

For more information, including a video of the first cohort of teachers presenting their learning journeys, click here.

For a full list of courses that can lead to professional recognition, visit the GTCS website .

LfS national practitioner network launched

The first meeting of the Learning for Sustainability national practitioner network took place on Friday 30th October. Practitioners representing nineteen different local authorities worked alongside partner organisations (including Keep Scotland Beautiful, WOSDEC, LfS Scotland and Architecture and Design Scotland) during a very productive day of conversation, sharing and planning. Class teachers, faculty and department heads, principal teachers, head teachers, depute heads, curriculum support officers and child development officers got together to share some of the fantastic work already taking place.

The wealth of experience and commitment to LfS was wholly evident, as was the enthusiasm and determination of delegates to ensure that their efforts have an impact in their local authorities and beyond. Comments on the LfS Newsfeed included:

pract walls“Loved hearing about all the excellent LfS projects going on across Scotland…inspiring stuff! Looking forward to collaborating with like minded people to spread the good work more widely.”

Great to share practice and successes across different sectors. Need to identify gaps and future opportunities for Learning for Sustainability (LfS) to ensure we keep the momentum going.”

Great morning so far at the LfS practitioners network. Lots of really inspiring work going on all across Scotland!”

The full range of discussions, approaches and resources shared can be found in the LfS professional learning community . However, the list below picks out some of the tasks that network members are planning to take forward through a process of collaboration and co-creation:

  • Getting started : LfS whole school strategic approaches in the secondary school
  • Professional review and development resource: getting the most out of LfS in the standards
  • Progression and transitions: programmes of support to build on LfS successes
  • LfS in National Qualifications
  • Progression in secondary using the John Muir Award
  • Planning and progression in ASL sector
  • Using new GLOW functionality (Delve) to organise curricular resources
  • LfS-specific Resource Calendar
  • Outdoor learning skills progression

Please join in the discussions if you are keen to be part of this process. If your local authority is not already represented on this network, please contact  for further information.



Refugees facing winter freeze

A common refrain over the weekend of the clocks going back is that we can have “an extra hour in our bed.” As we prepare for the transition from autumn to winter, pictures emerging from Associated Press’ twitter feed show drone photography of a continuing stream of refugees heading through the Balkan countryside. For them, just one hour in their own bed in the face of dropping temperatures and increasingly complex arrangements for finding sanctuary, is a forlorn hope.

Meanwhile, the UNHCRC are warning of an increasing polarisation in the views of Europeans in their response to the refugee crisis. The head of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, has spoken out on the distinct possibility of refugees “freezing to death”.

GLP-S editMany educators will already have found ways of engaging pupils with the refugee crisis (See previous post on IDEAS network resources). For others, however there may not yet have been the time or opportunity.

This Thursday, SCOTDEC is offering a practical session aiming to provide ideas, methodologies and resources for teachers to explore the refugee crisis . This session will be co-delivered with the British Red Cross. You can sign up here.

Christian Aid have also produced an assembly resource Christian_Aid_Logo_svgwith speaker notes and accompanying PowerPoint that may provide a helpful way in to discussing the issue as a whole class/ school. You can access the resources here.