Interim reports

Education Learning Log

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


I’ve been pretty busy of late with many ongoing developments at work. For instance this week we have had our regular Learning Community Management Team meetings. Today Jaye Richards updated the Cathkin LC on the Gams Base Learning ASG, which she writes about on her own blog, and over the course of the meetings the topics have been wide ranging from self evaluation, to planning, to CfE, staffing, etc etc.

This is one of the busiest planning phases for the Heads as they prepare new Improvement Plans, review what has been achieved etc. I’ve been writing up a review of LC Area improvements over the session and doing that has again confirmed the quantity and quality of work going on in the area. When doing this kind of task I really enoy seeing how establishments, partners, Youth Learning etc all link together within the Area to provide the best for the young people. Its pretty mind blowing when you pull together reports from various people on the activity their sector/project/service has been involved on. It also reminds me of the enormity of the job our Heads undertake and when out of school its crucial that you constantly remind yourself of the dedication and commitment those involved in education show daily.

I was at a really impressive event run by the SLC arts co-ordinators a few days ago where they showcased some of the activity they undertake. Arts are fundamental to life and although it may be difficult to measure the impact these projects might have on attainment – the children involved showed very clearly in their faces the difference being involved was having on their self esteem and love of just being alive!

We attended a HT conference on CfE with a variety of speakers from LTS, Universities, examples of good pracice and so on. I found the Secondary session where some trialling of new models of S1 – S3 timetables/curriculum models were discussed really interesting. Fascinating how different they all were, also fascinating from a primary background how the secondaries are approaching these reforms.

Anyway off to Hong Kong Saturday in SCIPD visit. Info will be update on our blog

May 13, 2009 Posted by | education, glow, Hong Kong, learning | 2 Comments

Lighting Up Learning

Jaye Richards from Cathkin High has now published her research project which looks at Glow and learning and teaching. It can be found here

Here is the GTC summary ”


Despite huge investment in school ICT over recent years, there have been relatively few, if any, reports of the substantial transformation of teaching and learning expected by governments as a result of this funding. GLOW, the Scottish School’s Digital Network is the latest of these costly initiatives.

This research study tracked four S3 classes working through the same modules as part of the standard grade Biology course. Results were tested using summative instruments of assessment comprising topic-specific questions from past standard grade Biology papers, and an end of year exam. One class, after two modules taught without it, studied one module using ICT timetabled for one of three lessons each week over one school term, with a mixture of independent and collaborative learning tasks reinforcing the learning objectives for that week, delivered using the GLOW virtual learning environment.

Results for this class with the same pupils and the same teacher showed a mean increase of 32.27% for the GLOW vs. non-GLOW modules. The attainment of this class on the non-GLOW modules was consistent and significantly below the best of the four classes. However, on the GLOW module, it was better by 14.69% than the mean of the other three classes. Further examination of the results showed that the weaker students benefited at least as much as their more able classmates.

The report discusses the challenges of embedding ICT into subject curricula and makes suggestions for a model of good practice. This use of ICT could facilitate a partial move away from a predominantly subject based focus in teaching to the more applied approach as advocated by a Curriculum for Excellence.”

Have a look at John Connells blog to read his comments on Jaye’s report He says it much better than I could!

Caroline Gibson who has taken up a secondment as a Glow mentor in SLC has just returned from a LECT visit in Malawi. Her blog is worth looking at to find out how this went

August 17, 2008 Posted by | glow, learning | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colour Coding

Jaye Richards was sharing the results from her Glow work with her S3 biology class with me, and the resulting attainment rise is extremely impressive. Seeing her collation of results etc just confirms the importance of this kind of careful reflection on impact. We need to be doing much more of this within our classrooms to ensure we get off the hamster wheel of development for development sake and ensure that we use our resources for improvements which are carefully considered. I noticed she was discussing how innovation fatigue can set in within schools and I think its really important that the kind of work she has been doing is seen as a model which others can try, albeit perhaps on a smaller scale – practice where practitioners are focused on the improvement they are trying to achieve and carefully considering whether or not there has been an impact. I’ve been pestering various people with her results because I feel something as significant and well researched as this should be looked at seriously. The next question to ask is – is it the ICT and GLOW which is making the difference here or the one I suspect is more likely… is it the methodologies she is trying out as she teaches because the tools she is using are helping her try innovative teaching?  The other thing in amongst this is the amount of time Jaye is spending networking, researching etc via online communities and how much impact that is having on her practice in the classroom.

Meanwhile out in the nurseries I had a ball in Westburn Nursery the other day where they had made an indoor beach (just glad I wasn’t having to clean up later), it was great fun for the children. The whole nursery was looking vibrant and interesting – I had to go to the toilet for hankies as I get very sniffly when things are going so well!

At Loch Primary today I was really impressed in a QIO quality kind of way! The Head has set up a new colour coded filing system with the HGIOS colours and QIs for evidence gathering for HMIe. I took a picture but saw the look of horror on her face as I snapped away.It may be odd that I could be so excited by her new filing system…. It was pretty damned impressive though!


June 4, 2008 Posted by | glow, ICT, learning | , , , , | Leave a comment

More SLC CPD Glow

Jim Reid has been telling me more about the roll out of Glow in SLC. The advisory service manager May Boyd has been demonstrating the use of the SLC CPD Glow Group to SLC CPD Coordinators at their CPD Coordinator meetings. He also tells me Margaret Tracey and Stephanie Farquharson were also part of the team who constructed the Glow group. This is going to be a fantastic collaborative site as people begin to use it across the authority. The SLC glow roll out team are taking a very sensible, measured approach to the roll out of groups – trying out big hitters which can be seen to be useful. This steady drip is showing through as I meet HTs who are in the middle of writing their improvement plans. They too are speaking about a measured approach to rolling this out – getting it right bit by bit and building capacity amongst staff that way rather than a big bang approach.

May 8, 2008 Posted by | glow, ICT | , , , | 2 Comments

Herald on Glow

Glow is getting lots of write ups, including this piece in the Glasgow Herald.

May 3, 2008 Posted by | glow, ICT | , , , | Leave a comment


A new glow group is now up and running which Con Morris from LTS has been working on with Jim Reid and May Boyd from SLC. It’s looking good, and as it takes off will become a useful place for sharing practice and CPD experiences.

Thanks to help from Caroline I’ve managed to embed some video in the area glow group and Jaye helped with setting up a calendar. I’m all pleased with doing this! This is a glow drop which might be useful for those now moving forward with glow – lots of links to what’s being said

It’s a long weekend and I’m glad of some time to gather my thoughts. A couple of those HMIe boxes have landed in our schools over the past weeks and I’m sure the staff there are even more glad of the time off.

Karl Fischer mentioned Darren Draper’s site and I found his sharing of this bit from Carl Glickman’s book thought provoking. I have to agree this should be compulsory reading for all us teachers!

May 3, 2008 Posted by | education, glow, ICT, learning, teaching | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments


Still enjoying playing with my glow area group. It’s for the Cambuslang/Rutherglen area and I hope that it will become a useful place over time for all the services supporting education within the area. At the moment I’m building up documents which staff can access, news about the area, surveys and discussions linked to the area. In the future it will hopefully become something which saves us all time – for instance writing the improvement plan for the learning community could become easier using glow meet in the future using the whiteboard and the chat facility – nice as it might be to have a video link that wouldn’t be needed for this kind of thing. I’ve read lots of comments from various people recently about better VLEs however I think the joy of glow is that everything is in the one place for educators and fairly simple to use, which may make it more likely to be taken on by a higher percentage of staff as a useful tool.

Lots of work to be done slowly rolling this out to all those within the learning community. Glow mentors etc will be able to access this and use it in different ways very quickly but to become embedded it needs staff across the piece believing that its useful to their learning and teaching.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | glow, ICT | | Leave a comment


I’ve been itching to get going with glow. The P7 teacher in the school I used to work in was an early adopter and was doing great things and I mentioned Jaye at Cathkin too. So I was really excited to get a quickie hour intro from an SLC mentor so I could get started. On Friday she got my log in and things sorted out and I’ve been able to make a first attempt at setting up a group for the area I work in – Cambuslang/Rutherglen. And guess what – its easy!

So I’ve been playing around today putting bits and pieces up for the area – I’m really looking forward to talking to the people in the area about this and finding out what they would find useful to have on this group.

March 29, 2008 Posted by | glow | Leave a comment

George Lucas

I loved reading this, as recommended by George Lucas’ foundation

Go LTS and GLOW!!

March 25, 2008 Posted by | glow, leadership | Leave a comment