Professional Reading Group

‘I think the PLA’s this year and the reading group sessions have been enriching with respect to pedagogy and raising awareness of very important ideas.’                                                                                                                          – SASB Teacher, June 2018


Initiatives such as schools’ Professional Reading Groups are an ‘essential component of the nature of the profession.’                                                                     – John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (SASB launch event, 2 February, 2021)



  • The aim of the Professional Reading group is to provide a time and place for staff wishing to engage with colleagues in order to ‘stimulate their thinking and professional knowledge and to ensure that their practice is critically informed and up-to-date’. (GTCS).
  • The group  not only promotes professional reading and further reflective practice but also provides those coming along with an additional opportunity to enhance their professional learning.
  • It is a great way to catch up with colleagues from across the school in an informal setting.
  • It is something you can drop in and out of and then come back to or a session you can attend regularly.

What will the group be reading?
The group chooses short texts on relevant topics such as reports, excerpts from books, articles etc. Details of the selected text will be made available to all staff so it is just a case of printing a copy, reading it and coming along to the meeting. We’re always looking for suggestions for reading material, so please feel free to suggest something you think would be of interest and would generate discussion.

Where does this fit in with what the GTCS is asking us to do through Professional Update/the Professional Learning Framework?
Examples of professional learning activities provided by the GTCS include:

  • Professional dialogue with colleagues, other professionals, parents, and learners
  • Focused professional reading and research
  • Leading or engaging in practitioner enquiry/action research
  • Critical analysis of reading, learning and impact on professional practice

From GTCS – Professional Learning

Therefore, the opportunity to meet regularly and informally with colleagues from across the school, to discuss a range of short texts, is something that will help ensure we are the ‘enquiring professionals’ the GTCS ask all teachers to be.

For further details on the group, please contact Bryson McGinlay or Susan Brownlie


SESSION 2020-2021


Date: Wednesday 16 June 2021 – Professional Reading Group

3:10-4:00pm Google Meet 

Education Scotland’s Engaging parents and families – A toolkit for practitioners (2019)

Section 2 – Why involve parents? – pages 7-11

Section 3 – Involving all parents – pages 3-11 (please note, there are a number of reflective questions as part of the content which might be worth considering as you read. The ones we’ll specifically refer to in the discussion, if time allows, are the following ones at the bottom of page 11):

Reflective Questions (Section 3, page 11)

What are the barriers and challenges to parental involvement and parental engagement in your ELC setting or school?

What changes can be made to overcome the barriers and challenges?

How can your community partners help you to overcome the barriers and challenges to parental involvement and parental engagement?

Do you have a ‘support directory’ of community partners that could help you overcome barriers and challenges?

How have other ELC settings or schools in your cluster, local authority, regional improvement collaborative overcome barriers and challenges to parental involvement and parental engagement?

Toolkit section 2

Toolkit section 3

Additional Reading Material

Additional reading material, if you’d like to read more of the research around parental engagement, either before the PRG or after it, is available via the Staff Online PDLR:



Date:  Wednesday 3 March, 2021 – Professional Reading Group 

3:10-4:00pm Google Meet 

Discussion of the International Council of Education Advisers Report 2018-20, as recommended by John Swinney


Tuesday 2nd February, 2021 – Professional Reading Group launch event

Microsoft Teams 3:45-4:45pm

‘No more snow days’

The pandemic has changed the Scottish Education landscape forever.  What opportunities and challenges are there on the road ahead?

St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School staff and friends in conversation with John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Mr Swinney’s ‘recommended read’ for our next Professional Reading Group discussion
International Council of Education Advisers Report 2018-20

SESSION 2019-2020

School Library, 3:10-4:00pm

Wednesday 11th March, 2020 – Professional Reading Group launch event

The group will be discussing the following article recommended by Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the GTCS.

For information, Ken’s other reading recommendations are listed on the PLA page with links to the materials.

PRG March 2020 Teachers Agents of Change

The article is also available online here:

In addition, if of interest for further/wider reading, here’s a link to Education Scotland’s range of draft guidance which aims to support an empowered education system (21.2.20).,6QWWF,CA881O,QYO2M,1

An Empowered System Diagram

SESSION 2018-2019

Date: Wednesday 15th May, 2019 – Professional Reading Group 3

Chapter 6 of Paul Dix’s book ‘When the Adults Change Everything Changes’ – a copy of this chapter is available from the All Staff Shared Area/Staff Resources/Professional Reading Group.

Additional article: ‘Positive Portobello’, also available from the PRG folder on the Shared Area.


Date:  Wednesday 20th March, 2019 – Professional Reading Group 2

‘What works in promoting social and mental well-being in schools?’ suggested to us by Catriona Robb, Teaching Fellow in Children’s Mental Health, at the University of Strathclyde.

Venue: School Library 3:10-4:00pm


Date: Wednesday 21st November, 2018 – Professional Reading Group 1

Venue: School Library 3:10-4:00pm

We will be discussing the executive summary, key messages and conclusions and recommendations from this document (pages 3, 16-21)

As always all staff are welcome.

SESSION 2017-2018

If anyone’s looking to do some professional reading outwith the group, this list might be a good place to start:

Ten Books Every Teacher Should Read

Date: Wednesday 16th of May 2018

Representatives from WOSDEC will be facilitating our discussion. WOSDEC works to support educators throughout the West of Scotland to develop their skills in Global Citizenship, Learning for Sustainability and Rights-based Learning.

This session will be followed by a PLA on Wednesday 13th of June led by WOSDEC. This workshop will build on the initial Reading Group discussion and share approaches for exploring learner participation and different ways we can utilise the resources that are available.

How young people’s participation in school supports achievement and attainment
Published by the Children’s Commissioner in 2015, this document describes a research project which looked at the impact of participation and rights-based education on attainment in seven Scottish secondary schools. Available from:

Sections to read – Executive Summary (p 1-4) and Section 4: Summary Discussions and Implications (p39-49).

Please note, feel free to read the whole publication if you want to, but the discussion on the 21st will focus on the above sections.

Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm


Further reading

If you’d like to read more about this area, please see:

The introduction (pp4-16) of ‘Putting children at the centre: a practical guide to children’s participation’
Save the Children, online at
One of the most accessible introductions to the idea of young people’s participation.

Young people’s participation in decision making in Scotland: attitudes and perceptions – research findings 8/2018



Date: Wednesday 15 November 2017 (note change of date from the 25th of October)

Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm

Venue: Library
Theme: Literacy, empathy and wellbeing

Literacy PRG – Pinker article link

The second article to be discussed, on Literacy, Language and Wellbeing by Smith and Ellis, is available on the shared area from: Staff Resources – All Staff – Professional Reading Group.

Professional Learning Launch Event
This year’s Professional Learning Activities and Reading Group sessions started with a launch event on Wednesday 6th September, 2017.

Professor Kate Wall from the University of Strathclyde joined us to talk about the connection she sees between pupil voice and teachers’ professional learning.

Having worked extensively in partnership with teachers, Professor Wall’s work focuses on the development of innovative pedagogies and research methodologies that facilitate effective talk about learning. She is interested in methodologies for gathering learners’ views on experiences, curriculum and learning and in generating knowledge of ethical practice for eliciting voice within a democratic community.

Professor Wall has made her presentation available to staff:


SESSION 2016-2017

Date: Wednesday 15 March 2017
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library

Reading – ‘2017 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan for Scottish Education – Achieving Excellence and Equity’ (published December 2016)
Available here:
National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education

The NIF in a Nutshell – concise 2-page guide produced for parents by the National Parent Forum of Scotland
The NIF in a Nutshell guide

Date: Wednesday 23 November 2016
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Reading – ‘What is Dialogic Teaching?/Teaching Approaches/Dialogic Teaching’
Available here:

Date: Wednesday 5 October 2016
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Reading – ‘Do They Hear You?’ journal article on feedback strategies by John Hattie, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey (Educational Leadership, April 2016, pages 16-21)

Two other resources were discussed at the PRG:
David Didau’s blog post ‘Marking is an Act of Love’ from his blog ‘The Learning Spy’ and Victoria Hewett’s presentation ‘Marking with a Purpose’. Available here:
David Didau’s blog post

Another useful article on quality feedback is available here:
The Secret of Effective Feedback
Education Leadership, April 2016 (Dylan Wiliam

Date: Wednesday 7 September 2016
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Launch – with guest ‘The Real David Cameron’ @realdcameron
David will be discussing ‘Leading the Creative School’ with a focus on assessment and attainment.
No set reading materials for this session but a recommendation from David is the Teaching & Learning Toolkit which is available from the Education Endowment Foundation website here:
Teaching & Learning Toolkit (Education Endowment Foundation)

David’s presentation

Further reading recommendations from David:
The Sutton Trust Teaching and Learning Toolkit

John Hattie – Visible Learning

You can ‘eborrow’ a downloaded copy of John Huttie’s Visible Learning for Teachers and Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn from the GTCS’
Leadership and Management Learning Centre (LMLC) on the GTCS site.
Log in to MyGTCS and click on resources to access the LMLC and search for Hattie’s books. Note, the original Visible Learning (2008) book doesn’t seem to be there.
GTCS Log-in

Chris Kilkenny on Poverty and Learning: Extract from Creative Conversation, 28th Oct 2015
(25mins 56)

#carconference with Chris Kilkenny

Ten challenges to overcome to become a truly creative school
School leaders striving for a creative environment face significant challenges today, as they balance the drive for creativity with meeting government standards. Following a 12 month series of debates at schools across the UK, new guidance on becoming a creative school has been produced by education experts Sir Tim Brighouse and David Cameron in partnership with Hays Education
or you can access it here:

Creative Curriculum podcast (David Cameron and Tim Brighouse)

Alan McLean – The Motivated School

Interchange journal article on differentiation – being tracked down

Education Endowment Foundation – Teaching & Learning Toolkit (strands/evaluation)

About David:
David’s experience stretches from leadership of children’s services at authority level to the classroom, from the development of national educational policy to its implementation in schools and takes in work at national and regional level in both Scotland and England.
The lead on Scotland’s Outdoors Education strategy, he was also involved in the devolved management of schools initiative and was a central player in Scotland’s challenging Curriculum for Excellence project. A highly entertaining and engaging speaker, he has worked across the UK with teachers, school leaders and governors and is currently chair of the York Education Partnership.

SESSION 2015-2016

Next meeting (meeting 5)

Date: Wednesday 8 June 2016
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Reading material: The issues around Gender Balance

(Although 3 documents have been selected as below, to give a range, they aren’t lengthy)


Extra articles if you wish to do some further reading:

Next meeting (meeting 4)

Date: Wednesday 27 April 2016
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Reading material: The Executive Summary for the Wood Report and the Career Education Standard for Developing the Young Workforce


Meeting 3

Date: Wednesday 2 March 2016
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Reading Material: ‘National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education: Achieving Excellence and Equity’ – Scottish Government 2016

Meeting 2

Date: Wednesday 20 January 2016
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Reading Material: ‘Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education’ – Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2014 (as recommended by Tony McDaid, Head of Education, Curriculum and Quality) – a link to the document can be found under the Launch Meeting details section below.

Launch Meeting details

reading group.jpg
Date: Monday 7 December 2015
Time: 3:10pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Library
Reading Material: ‘Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education’ – Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2014 (as recommended by Tony McDaid, Head of Education, Curriculum and Quality)
Thanks to everyone who came along.
Full report:

JRF – Closing the Attainment Gap – Summary

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