Interim reports

Education Learning Log


So I’m trying hard to twitter…

August 30, 2009 Posted by | ICT | Leave a comment

Stuart and Henrietta


Pictured here after their wedding. The wedding took place in a small town called Szentendre just outside Budapest. This is in the town square after the church wedding. We tottered about in our heels on cobbles with great difficulty so were glad to get seats in the centre at a cafe and chill for a couple of hours.121

Uncle George, father of the groom,  in Panama hat…. with best man.


And one roasted son in the heat, after a boat ride up the Danube from Budapest. He ended up later in the evening after a traditional Hungarian game at the reception with the bride’s garter, which caused him great consternation.

My favourite game was the dancing with the bride game when the master of ceremonies held a huge mixing bowl and wooden spoon with a cloth over it. Banged on it for at least half an hour while Henrietta danced with everyone who paid money into the bowl. Sometimes one person, sometimes a wee group, this wasn’t my shuffle around slowly dancing, but fast exhausting stuff, a pretty hefty work out. Luckily before this dance she’d changed out of her wedding dress and into a traditional red dress which looked at least a bit cooler for dancing in.

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Nonsense | , | Leave a comment


Had a very busy week, but hopefully worthwhile, catching up with Improvement Plan visits, staff development reviews etc and held an HMIe prep session for HTs, Ollie came along to do ICT talk with Jaye and held an area forum for Early Years, also went to various meetings, area committee re a recent HMIe and pottered about looking at STACs and 5-14 attainment, writing reports on these for some establishments. My job is very varied which is why I enjoy it so much, every day is different with new challenges. At the EY Area Forum Karen, depute at Cathkin Comm Nursery did some really helpful input on 0-3 curriculum, Pam McDaid QIO curriculum provided helpful workshop material for use back in establishments for CfE work and we had a look at just some of the CfE work already being completed to assist with planning by establishments – as always the quantity and quality of this is pretty remarkable. Sharing this over the next few months should help everyone in the area working in early years – we saw backdrop planners from Oakwood, individual CfE profile booklets, observation sheets from Glenburgh, Cathkin Primary Nursery Class had a whole variety of planners, overview sheets from the comm  nursery, individual CfE record booklets from Yvonne Barr etc etc and that was just skimming the surface. We hope to put together a folder of examples which people can use to kickstart/assist their own work.

Movies of choice this week have been zombie ones… Thirty Days of Night and Diary of the Dead… When busy these are my favourite films, sad but true, I do love a bit of zombie action.

August 29, 2009 Posted by | education, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Enjoyed my jaunt to a wedding over the weekend just outside Budapest. My cousin Stuart was getting married to Henrietta who is from a small town near Visegrad. Glorious weather, hearty goulash and stuffed pancakes and lots of cake. Loved all the traditions during the wedding and reception with the master of ceremonies. Just wonderful.

Busy couple of days at work we held an HMIe preparation event yesterday where “talking heads” who have recently had HMIe visit their schools talked about their experiences. As with anything, its all about making connections and sharing with others. Everyone got a pack with bits and bobs which might be helpful.

This evening Cathkin Primary hosted a talk by Ollie Bray. He was ably intoduced by Jaye Richards and has promised to embed his slides on his website. One HT phoned me afterwards to say it was inspiring, and I’d have to agree.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, education, ICT | , , , | 1 Comment

School’s back

Thursday and Friday were Inset days. Most of the schools re-open on Monday apart from those who may be unpacking for a day in their new builds. Enjoyed doing a vision and values session at Loch Primary, who are awaiting a visit from HMIe over the next couple of months. They’ve been doing lots of really good work from introducing VCOP strategies in writing, to working on Games Based Learning, to some really interesting work in the early stages using new planning formats to enhance their active learning. The staff area always really up for it. Spent a morning working with the extended team in the area (Specialist Support Teachers, Behaviour Support, Home School Partnership etc) and staff from David Livingstone Behaviour Base also attended. We spent time looking at JTE materials (a sore head was had by all with a JTE quiz I made up) and how CfE planning materials linking in with IEPs could be further developed this session. Enjoyed a visit to Cathkin Community Nursery’s Fashion Show. It was well supported by parents, the children and others from the community such as the Head of Education and the Provost. 10 Mums had been working with a variety of workers for 10 weeks on cofidence, health and well being etc and it was entitled Look Good Feel Great. To finish the course off they all had a mini make over and paraded the results with the help of Camglen Radio. It was great, loads of cheers, smiles and tears. Next week I have a busy couple of days at a pre area committee agenda meeting, HT Staff Development Reviews in a couple of schools and catching up with improvement planning then I’m going to Budapest from Wednesday to Sunday and back to work next Monday when we have a few sessions after school – Ollie Bray on developing technologies one evening at Cathkin Primary and a preparing for HMIe session with SMTs where we have some talking head guests who are associate inspectors, have recently been through inspection etc.

In the meantime I’ve been spending the weekend mostly cooking… After 23 years of marriage I’m ashamed to say that I could count on one hand the amount of times I cooked a meal as hubby did it… So in our house over the past year we started with the little plastic bags you heat up in the microwave, with noodles and bits of chicken and whatnought in them from Asda. We moved on to a variety of one pot type things – stew, soups, spag bol etc. But I’m getting a bit better, I’ve noticed the boys are going through less snacks now as they eat more of the meals I produce. So I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. There has been a concern raised in the house however that once I discover how to make something I tend to make it for several nights in a row… The suggestion has been made that I vary this more regularly. For instance in recent weeks we have been mostly eating a variety of Thai curries which I vary from green to red, sometimes with noodles and sometimes without….

I’ve been enjoying a couple of Christopher Brookmyre books this week and am reading a nice wee novel by another Scottish writer called BuddhaDa. Bruce’s show has been going well, although he tells me he’s drained. I’m contemplating a hobby…. Now I spend time thinking about them, but tend to be a bit slow on the moving forward, I’ve narrowed it down to three things I’d like to take up – horse riding(because I’ve never done it for ages), kayaking or belly dancing. I’m thinking my age and body shape may be most suitable for the third option. I’m watching the movie Factotum tonight which I’m looking forward to after my weekend of cooking, packing and cleaning!

August 16, 2009 Posted by | learning, Nonsense | , | Leave a comment

Devlins Daily Link

Daily show is here on the stv player. I’m very proud of him, particularly as I remember him well as a small boy. To keep him occupied we gave him a tambourine to play with our band, it was the only way to keep him quiet as he did enjoy getting some attention…. Some things never change… He was a wee trial but he’s turned out fine!

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Nonsense | Leave a comment

More on Excellence

The recent Care Commission Report on Cathkin Community Nursery confirmed what we already knew – its an excellent establishment. But what are the key aspects about the establishment that make it so good? It would be difficult and not sensible to replicate what they do elsewhere as each establishment is set in a unique context, with its own uniques set of children, parents and staff but there are things which we can all learn from what takes place in Cathkin Community.

The leadership of the nursery is exceptional – improvement planning and talking about improvement is a way of being at Cathkin Comm Nursery. This striving for excellence,  for innovation, for better ways of doing things is evident as soon as you go in the door – the Nursery has an abundance of awards from a COSLA silver award, to SLC awards to certificates of staff CPD and children and parent achievement on display as soon as you go in and this sets the tone for everything else. The less formal achievement tree has little messages which are added to daily from stories from Mums about new babies, to wee ones who have leared something new at nursery or home to messages about how proud they are to have had a visitor. Everything is noticed, celebrated and the attention to this kind of small detail is very important.

As you walk through the nursery the wall displays have a tone which has evolved over time – there’s a balance between published and children’s work but work which is displayed is linked to CfE principles and outcomes for instance if there’s a display with photos of playing outdoors – it won’t say that John was splashing in the puddles but that John was splashing in the puddles and he was exploring and appreciating the wonder of nature – everything is about learning. There are colour coded displays  for each of the four capacities with photos/evidence to link to these. Floorbooks are displayed for the children and adults to look at with ones for different curricular areas, focus topics etc etc. Planning is up on the walls with tips for the week related to learning and teaching. Children’s learning stories/portfolios are accessed by the children all the time so they can update them/read them and staff have a purposeful well planned way of doing assessments, running records etc. But none of this ever stays still for instance the learning stories are now being made into multi media resources.

All staff have leaderhip roles of their own and most are involved in additional study such as PDAs BAs etc in their own time. Any innovative practices carried out have presentations written about them which other establishments can ask to see and use with their own staff.

Visitors pop in and out and are welcomed at any time, doors are opened and you can have a good old nose to find good practice and this is openly encouraged!

Self evaluation is circular and real. For instance questionnaires last session showed parents would like more courses etc, so the nursery applied for funding, got about £9000 and set up courses with a local college. I’m just off to see a fashion show shortly which parents are putting on after they’ve spent 10 weeks looking at their self esteem, how they present themselves/look after their health etc.

Volunteers are welcomed, community links are fostered with everyone you meet knowing something about the nursery or having some involvement in visiting.

Their vision and values are clear and embedded. They use the word ENABLE and their vision is linked to the word in a sort of acrostix. Then their aims are divided into parents, children, staff, community and management. These are then linked to the improvement plan.

They are making a real difference to the lives of the children and adults involved in their community, and those differences and little impacts are often immeasurable. Liz and her team will never know all the differences they have made or the impact they have had on our future’s children

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, glow, leadership, learning, Making a Difference | , | Leave a comment

Ironing and Inset and Devlin’s Daily

I hate ironing… 12 shirts today and various other items. Vile. Apart from that I’ve had a pleasant couple of days – went to see my friend’s festival show launch Devlin’s Daily. It will be streamed daily on STV. He’s very funny live and this show gives a flavour of lots of acts that are on with them guesting during lunch time daily. It’s getting on for a year now since my husband died and Bruce has been a particularly good friend during this time, keeping me occupied by phone calls and texts, and raucous nights out, when I’ve needed some cheering up. Sometimes you really need a friend like that who doesn’t dole out advice or try to help – just let’s you be, and has a damned good gossip with you. Saw a couple of DVDs – Midnight Meat Train and Tigerland. Bought my Jonathan Richman tickets for Oran Mhor in October – I love going to see him live, he’s always good value. Signed up for a couple of classes at the gym.Anyway next week is busy – a few establishments due HMIe follow throughs over the next couple of months, so catching up with that, a couple of sessions at Inset Days on CfE and Vision and Values Development, and then the following week I’m taking the last of my annual leave for a while  from the Wed to the Fri and going to a family wedding near Budapest in Visegrad.

August 9, 2009 Posted by | Nonsense | | Leave a comment

Boys are good for…

Further to the sons… They do have some redeeming points. This past month they have introduced me to an, Its always sunny in Philadelphia, boxset, reminded me that they already had some of the holiday books I bought in Fopp, in their rooms (I’ve trained them well in book, CD and DVD purchasing)… which saved me some money on returns – Self Yann Martel, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle  and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami and Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Unfortunately I have to admit they’ve developed my love of comedy movies, kung fu films and anything with blood and gore, car chases and shoot me ups. My guiltiest secret of all, they’ve got me just loving Seth Rogin.

August 5, 2009 Posted by | Nonsense | | Leave a comment

All Sixes!!!

Cathkin Community Nursery where I visit is an inspirational place, their recent Care Commission report was graded at 6 all the way through. The first one we’ve had so far in South Lanarkshire. Well done Liz Mercer and team. This is well deserved and a great tribute to their ongoing work.

August 5, 2009 Posted by | education | , , | 7 Comments