Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Great teaching at Stonelaw High

Great to see Alan Byrne at Stonelaw High in the Cambuslang Rutherglen area of SLC recognised in the TES awards. The full article about the awards  is here

The following quote from the TESS explains about Alan

“A South Lanarkshire teacher has won the top honour for a lifetime’s achievement in the first UK-wide TES Schools Awards, presented yesterday at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Alan Byrne is no stranger to Scottish teachers and pupils, having worked with thousands of them in his 40 years as a PE teacher. For 27 of them, he has taught at Stonelaw High, putting the school firmly on the national map with countless sporting victories.

In the past year alone, Stonelaw produced four Scottish Cup-winning teams in volleyball (two), cross-country and football, and seven internationalists from six sports. Three of the current Scottish volleyball team come from the school.

Mr Byrne’s pioneering approach to setting sport in S2 won media recognition four years ago for boosting the achievement of the best athletes while increasing the fitness of the young citizens of Rutherglen, who sported pedometers with enthusiasm as they strived to raise their exercise levels and enjoyed sessions on the trampoline or running through the local heritage park.

School inspectors have praised his PE department’s “new and creative approach to improving the health and well-being of young people”, recommending it as an example of good practice. And Stonelaw has won bronze, silver and gold awards for being a health-promoting school.

His Higher course materials are used by more than 100 schools and he leads national and local authority inservice training. He has also, through “caring counsel and motivation to students who struggled elsewhere”, produced some of the best PE exam results in Scotland.

On top of that, Mr Byrne, whose teenage daughter died 15 years ago after years of 24-hour care, has helped other similarly-afflicted families and managed to fundraise over £80,000 for charity.”

The school’s nomination drew a vast range of testimonials from colleagues past and present, which reflected their admiration and affection for him. The words “inspiration”, “energy”, “commitment”, “passion” and “enthusiasm” ran through them, as did “respect” and “regard”.

Uddingston teacher Jean McLeod said: “He epitomises the phrase ‘Deeds, not words’, leading by example in teaching, managing his department, moderating for SQA or taking extra-curricular activities. He shares knowledge and experiences.”

Another teacher, Lisa Polombo, said: “In leading the curriculum, Alan is informed and his opinion valued. Revered across Scotland, he comes into lives and makes big differences, whether you’re a pupil, colleague or friend.”

His headteacher, Brian Cooklin, simply added: “I know of no other colleague who deserves this award more. Alan is unique.”

The TES judges were overwhelmed by Mr Byrne’s achievements, saying: “The sheer range of sport that he’s taught is impressive – but it’s even more impressive when you see so many of his teams have succeeded at such a high level. And on top of this, he has done unstinting work for charities. He’s done it all.”

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June 18, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education, learning, Making a Difference | , | 1 Comment

HMIe visit

HMIe feedback after visit to Cathkin Community Nursery was very positive. The report will be published in the next few weeks when the gradings etc are all confirmed. In May they are holding an open doors cpd event for teachers, early years workers etc in SLC. At this event the nursery staff will be running a series of workshops on topics such as persona dolls, planning and of course the eyepet project. HMIe mentioned the fabulous work going on around the pets project and were impressed by the use of the eyepet as a stimulus/motivator which led to the focus. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how the mindmapping process and consultation with parents and children is carried out for a focus in the nursery. Some lovely learning experiences which are evidenced around the  nursery over the past few weeks linking in to pets – each group with key worker, hatching/nurturing/caring for an eyepet including the youngest children under 3! Caring for goldfish in playrooms, bringing in fish from fish counters on ice and investigating these, children’s drawings and paintings inspired by pet pictures by artists such as Monet and Andy Warhol, visits to Pet shops, visitors in to nursery linked to pets, photographs by children of their own pets and home links, use of video camera and digital camera by children in playroom, pet corner made and designed by children where they dress up as pets to be sold, use money etc etc, sensory area with linked activities, emergent writing and mark making at all areas in the nursery where the children record what they are doing, the list goes on. The key however is not really about the eyepet it is about  the opportunities provided for learning – like any fantastic practitioners they listen to the children, follow their interests and balance that with staff knowledge about outcomes and direction of learning needs, then use learning tools to make the learning experiences enjoyable, exciting and challenging. The eyepet has been a great tool which has lifted motivation, interest, enjoyment and added in fun. It has not however been used as a bit of tech for tech’s sake. Its been about learning! It  has also given a means of our being able to gather evidence of how they staff go about the planning, observation, evaluation process and this will be gathered, published and shared in various ways over the next few weeks. A truly inspiring place – and the question I would ask is – would I send my own child there? The answer is that I would fight to get them a place!

March 27, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , | 2 Comments

Visiting Hallside Primary

I had a great day today visiting Hallside Primary. I spent time in several classrooms and saw lots of interesting and exciting learning and teaching going on. The children are a real joy – listening really well and showing great pride in their school. The whole school has a super ethos and learning buzz about it. Lots of highlights – super language being used in p4, great fun learning fractions outside with P7, a wee bit scary in the dark learning about light and dark in p3 but they kept an eye on me to stop me being too spooked….lots of active maths, glow pages and ict in P2 and P1 left me just bursting with excitement – the teachers were doing all sorts of exciting storyline things with them to introduce mapping. A few pictures below give a little taster of some of the great stuff going on in Hallside!

Runaround fractions – problem solving right into the warp and weave of the day. Energetic p7s engaged fully in a bit of fun that was pretty hard and needed lots of thinking!

Think about it facts highlight just some of the very good work done in Hallside on global citizenship

A shared vision.


A focus on health and wellbeing. A health update newsletter.

P1 getting ready to hear about the letter left in their room by the Crumpoles…. Lovely storylines in practice.

Learning from nurseries! Using floorbooks.

You follow a map to find Crumpoletown and then you discover a bit of the Crumpoles daily newspaper….There’s been a fire and the Crumpoles have gone (but its ok they had smoke detectors no-one was injured). New plans afoot by p1 to rebuild house for the Cumpoles.

Here’s a colourful, spikey Crumpole

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education, learning | , , , , , | Leave a comment

AiFL questioning

Neat little fans made by the Depute at Westburn Nursery. She took Blooms taxonomy and the starter questions which are within this blog from various sources and put them into an easy to manipulate format for the staff at the nursery. They hook these on to their badge lanyards and they are great reminders during the day and at planning sessions. Equally useful for older children to use themselves in group discussions/feedback sessions etc etc.

Add these to thinking dice, beach ball question prompts etc to raise the profile of these techniques or refresh AiFL work. Sometimes the cheaper option like these fans work just as well. Its not hard to use the kind of ideas infant and early years staff have used for years to push eg great questioning further – an old football with sticky white labels on it with question starters written in pen, throw it round group – the sticker your thumb lands on when catching is the question to be answered etc.

Good meeting with Brian McLaren from the consolarium the other day, and he enjoyed having a little tour of some of the establishments in the area. Looking forward to gathering in the evidence of the hard work Cathkin Community Nursery are about to start using eyepet as a context for learning. We will publish all that material here and pass it on to the consolarium

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education, teaching | , , , , | 3 Comments

Games Based Learning

Brian McLaren from the consolarium visited two of our schools today to have a chat about ideas for taking forward interdisciplinary topic work with various off the shelf games as contexts for developing learning and activities. Visit the consolarium blog and national consolarium glow group (which the team are currently updating) where you’ll find more information. He was a great help and inspiration to the HTs and staff involved. Lots of good ideas generated. Loved watching the children in P2/3 having a look at the eyepet – their one is coming soon. Not sure who was most engaged the children or staff – lots of open mouths and excitement – particularly Mrs R and Mrs P (see pics below!). The eyepet will be used as a motivator for taking forward writing but with any interdisciplinary piece of work lots of other learning opportunties will be taken forward. The HT and I managed to scribble down an A4 sheet of paper off the top of our heads – once the children are consulted and involved the ideas will become endless. I always say it but when I see this kind of thing happening in a school it makes my job feel like the best in the world.

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , | Leave a comment

As Ithers See Us

Enjoyed a fashion show and design work show last night. It was held at the Scottish Museum For Rural Life in East Kilbride, which is a great venue and well worth a visit. They will be having a bumper crop of baby animals this Spring they tell me!

Anyway , the design project show was the culmination of an annual design project organised by the South Lanarkshire Cultural Co-ordinators Team. The theme behind it was “As Ithers See Us”. This session the secondaries involved were Stonelaw High, Larkhall Academy, Strathaven Academy and Calderside Academy. The showcase included Jewellery, Textiles and Film and animation work created by pupils with support from designers and film experts who worked with the pupils after school over a ten week period. Some great stuff on display, I particulalry enjoyed the film work and the fabulous headpieces/hats etc. More information can be had on this and other cultural co-ordinator activity in SLC by contacting the co-ordinators at any time.

Not so great was getting stuck in a patch of snow in the carpark afterwards…However, as if by magic, the director and a team of councillors appeared and rescued me with a spade and much rocking of the car, and instructions on my gear and revving skills! Now rescuing me, in the dark,  in a snowbound car park, with snow trickling out the sky on a cold winter evening is above and beyond the call of duty for Education Directors and Councillors I would say, so I am very grateful if a touch embarassed by the whole event.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year in Area

As always lots of interesting things already happening in the Rutherglen/Cambuslang Area. At the moment I’m involved in the preparation for two imminent HMIe inspections in the area. In the build up to an inspection the role of a QIO is to assist the establishment in their preparations. Mostly this includes help with things like the safeguarding proforma, assisting with anything related to writing up QI performance profiles self evaluation materials for the dialogue session, preparing evidence folders, making sure any support needed from other professionals is available etc. I’m finding that increasingly establishments are finding this is becoming more just part of their on going work here as they are all well advanced in developing their performance profile linked to the HGIOS Cat C QIs and showing the cycle between this top level self evaluation write up and their improvement plan. Hopefully as time goes on the 3 weeks prior to the visit will be less and less about pulling this stuff together with evidence as it will already be in place. One of the key things which I find is helping establishments is the great work done by the senior managers pupil support in the area and the specialist support teams in assisting with audits/paperwork related to aspects such as child protection and meeting learners needs. The systems and procedures in place are showing dividends in meeting needs effectively. The model in the area of having these managers working in co-location with quality personnel, support services, the Head of Area etc makes a huge difference to the speed of communication and support available as required.

The Holocaust memorial final preparation meeting took place today with the programme now fully in place. This willtake place in Trinity High with establishments from all the area learning communities involved. Its being overseen by the cultural co-ordinator in the area.

Final drafts of stage 1a early years early intervention materials are now in place and this is assisting in meeting needs appropriately for our youngest learners.

Good to see Brain McL from the consolarium getting in and about a couple of the schools soon (Loch and Calderwood) and further raising  the profile of games based learning.

Met with David Scott from University of West of Scotland yesterday to begin planning some community practice projects with Cathkin High and a local primary with some of his students. Its always great to work with David, he’s doing fantastic work down in Ayr with the students on the commercial music course. Previously he’d worked alongside a lot of pupils in my previous school doing recording work etc out of East Kilbride Arts Centre (soundscapes to e.g. WW2 poems, music for a drug awareness DVD, soundscapes to Italo Calvino fairytales, Scottish Indie song recording – our very own Langley CD!). To my delight I discovered yesterday that one of the classroom assistants (Alison Cassells) at this school, who was very talented, has gone on to take this degree and will be one of the students coming out on practice. Building capacity in action, thanks to David! She had been involved in lots of these projects in the school and is now further developing her expertise.

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , , | Leave a comment

December Round Up

Its been a busy few months with lots happening in the Cambuslang Rutherglen Area. This is a brief roundup of some of the work thats been ongoing. The school modernisation programme in SLC carried on with the new Trinity High Building being finished in our area. The “street” element is core to the design of all the 19 new secondary schools in SLC, including Trinity. Its a flexible space with  a variety of uses – assembly, dining, circulation, social interaction, theatre productions, formal events and displays. Pupils at Trinity had a brief phased return in August and are now well settled in their new building.

The Stonelaw High refurbishment is now completed. Every room was repainted, refloored. Replacement ceilings, minor adaptations in certain departments and general landscaping upgrading was carried out.

The new build Loch Primary and Burgh Primary opened their doors to   pupils too, St Anthony’s moved to their decant building. Hallside Primary annexe was completed and opened.

Cathkin High School, Rutherglen High and Cathkin Community Nursery who are now in one newly built campus held their official opening events.

Numerous special visitors have been in and out our establishments. Provost Cleary is a stalwart of our area and is a well known face who shows his support at educational events. The previous education secretary Fiona Hyslop dropped in to Burgh Primary on her way to the Scottish Learning Festival and Andy Murray dropped by Burnside Primary to look at their RBS sponsored garden area.

Interesting events continue to take place in our establishments with a high emphasis in particular on enterprise and charity work – from Stonelaw High now sponsoring 300 orphans in Africa to St Columbille’s working with @GlasgowJacky (on twitter) and his events management team.

Too many other exciting events to mention but here are a few:

Home school partnership programmes continue such as Querks work on diversity at James Aiton Primary, Loch and other schools recieve eco awards (all schools in the area now have either registers or have bronze silver or green awards), Cathkin PS and Cathkin HS and other establishments devised interesting homecoming events, interesting sporting events and winners across the area, senior pupils visited Auschwitz, several new blogs set up, Crucial Crew attended, visitors gave many takes such as gradparents talking about WW2 at Loch, pupil run banks set up at eg Cathkin PS in conjunction with RBS, playgroun/garden areas developed with a variety of Lottery and Supergrounds funding eg Calderwood PS and Bankhead, prowrestler vists Burgh, Cairns get involved with other schools in learning about the M74 project, Universal Connections run a question time event for young people in the area, Wear it Pink events held, musician of the year events, Burns competitions etc etc……

Teaching staff in the area attended a variety of CPD training – inhouse, at the advisory centre, nationally e.g. the Scottish Learning Festival and also area based e.g. Ollie Bray talking about ICT in August, HT meetings around HMIe preparation, EY Area Forum and PT Drop Ins. All schools held a CfE based additional Inset day to assist driving forward curricular developments

Senior Managers Pupil Support in the area continued to raise awareness of a variety of intitiatives such as staged intervention procedures for early years, single agency assessment referrals, information sharing protocols. They continued to support vulnerable children and assist schools in their work. Child Protection audits were carried out on a rolling programme with schools.

Integrated Children’s Services in the area continued their work with vulnerable children and their families. An ICS self evaluation interagency event was held. Training and partnership working continued to grow and improve.

Several  positive HMIe follow through inspections have taken place over the past two months at Glenburgh Nursery, Cathkin Primary and Loch Primary. Westcoats PS HMIe report went to the education committee in August, much to their delight and they congratulated the HT and school on their hard work.

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , | Leave a comment

Calderwood Winter Wonderland

Lovely afternoon watching Calderwood Primary’s Winter Wonderland Show. Each class performed a medley of songs, the school bands performed and we had a sneak preview of some songs from next week’s nativity. The children in p7 had organised the programme, tickets, invites etc etc as part of an enterprise topic and would give many an events company a run for their money. Well done to all involved.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, education | , | Leave a comment

Cathkin High Christmas Concert 09

A huge well done to the music teachers, instrumental instructors, drama department, AV technician, librarian, janitors, DHTs and the young performers. I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s Christmas Concert at Cathkin High. Why? It was great to see all the young people on stage giving their best – all levels of development were represented from beginner musicians to those older students who had been playing for some time. It was a showcase of tuition and learning during school lessons but also represented the after school and lunch time clubs which pupils attend to widen their achievement. Not just the dedication of the young people on show, but the staff at the school who put the extra mile in, day in day out.

Not mentioning names I also loved the DHT’s knock knock Christmas variety turn….

But not just music was on show. There was a really funny drama called “A credit Crunch Christmas” which caused lots of snorts and hoots of laughter. Chick Murray would have enjoyed it – Comedy is alive and kicking in Cathkin!

I often say it but its getting in and about the youngsters and staff that is what my job is all about. I know what my new year’s resolution is already – refocus continually on remembering that time spent in my office is less time to spend in schools. I tried as a Head to remember that and I need to keep working at that.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , | Leave a comment