Interim reports

Education Learning Log


The Early Years Forum in our area meet every 6 weeks or so. Its very much a drop in session, sometimes with them doing some work together, listening to someone talk etc. Brain McLaren from the consolarium came along last night with some playstation, Wiis, Nintendo DS stuff etc.

Have a look at their recently updated Glow group, which is looking quite nifty. As always the eyepet stole the show with the early years people!

Cathkin Community Nursery are working away with their eyepets and developing a focus around the theme pets.

The following outlines the key steps in planning a focus used at Cathkin Community Nursery

Consulting the Children Using a Mindmapping The Process

Listen to:

Children’s buzzwords

Record this information


Children and areas

Record this information

 Have a staff/team meeting:

Discuss the findings

Make decisions

Decide on a topic/focus


Ask the children key questions – What? Who? When? Where? Why?

Children’s ideas and thoughts are recorded (these are recorded on mini mindmaps which are displayed with all other planning materials on the together we learn wall)

 Develop planned experiences:

Learning intention and outcomes are identified

Planned experiences are offered to the children


Record children’s learning

 Topic Evaluation

Staff and children evaluate the topic together

 The Together We Learn Board

Planning is displayed on “The Together We Learn Board”

The mini mindmaps are written up after discussing the children’s thoughts and ideas with them

 The buzzwords for this topic were around “Pets”

The eyepet is used as a motivating activity within the focus context and is discussed with the children at the mini mindmap stage

 The “Sunshine Board” is there with post its for parents to add ideas. These are written up into curricular areas and dated. See below – ideas from parents



Read about  Cathkin Community Nursery and others doing mini music makers here

 SLCTV are in Calderwood Primary today filming some of the recent Burns Competition Winners, so it all looks very exciting downstairs today! Later on they are hosting a small retiral tea for some of the senior education staff who are leaving SLC over the next few weeks. Lorraine Bell, Jessie McPerson and May Boyd. We’re all looking forward to catching up and wishing them luck in the next stage of their lives.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | education, learning, planning, teaching | , , , | Leave a comment

Parents as Partners Consulting Children

The staff at Cathkin Community Nursery are in the middle of planning and carrying out activities around the focus “Pets”. To add a bit of excitement to this context they are using the eyepet. We’re going to collect this planning so other establishments can see how the nursery goes about planning with the children, parents and all involved in the children’s lives. In May the nursery is holding an Open Doors Event which will have 8 workshops run by staff. It will be open to Early Years establishments and early stage primaries in the Rutherglen, Cambuslang and East Kilbride areas. This follows on from successful work done in EK schools trying out open doors events.

Couple of photos below show some of the planning under way. At the nursery they use a mindmap approach to planning – they listen and observe and list “buzzwords” that the children are talking about. The staff team come together talk about the buzzwords and discuss possible focus ideas and outcomes. Children work with staff to develop a mindmap of the kind of things they would like to learn, find out about, try etc. You can also see  the materials which go up on the wall so that parents can add in ideas and thoughts about the focus.

Asking for ideas from parents about the pet focus….

Information about the children’s pets from parents……

Ideas from parents about the pet focus on the sunshine display board……..

Wee bit closer….

Mindmaps written up after discussion with groups of children around the focus pets and the eyepet

The initial mindmaps are going off to Brian McLaren at the consolarium and he’ll put them up on the glow group somewhere in the future.

Saw this in Oakwood House Nursery this week. They are working on ways to record the children self and peer assessing their work. The children using individual self assessment cards and the staff record discussions with the children around learning experiensces using this format. Currently writing a follow through report on their HMIe visit a year ago. Lots of really great work going on in the partnership establishment!

Enjoyed a visit to Little Pets partner nursery who ran a health day recently – great to see them inviting down local primary 1s to visit. Good transition work going on.

Really enjoyed attending the HMIe dialogue session at the end of the visit to Calderwood primary on Friday. It has been a really positive week for the school, staff, parents and children. Well done everyone there. Looking forward to reading the report when it is published.

Enjoying learning new things. I have some additions to my remit and I’m having a great time getting my teeth into them. Have a strategic ICT role and am spending time with the IT Business manager learning about all things ICT, just great fun getting to grips with the whole picture. Also taking on primary staffing work and again loving getting my teeth into new aspects of work in the education department. Have had an invite to the official opening of one of the schools I work with – Loch Primary. They are awaiting the publication of their follow through HMIe report. The initial visit was carried out around two years ago and the HT had just taken up appointment at that time. Really pleased with the outcome of this too – and can’t wait to see it published. Amazing work done by the staff in the school. Big thumbs up all round to the impact HMIe have had working together with these and other establishments in the area!

Busy week ahead, particularly looking forward to class visits at Hallside Primary.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | education, ICT, learning, Parent Consultations, planning, teaching | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Over and over again

Tonight at our staff meeting I went through all the suggestions for taking planning forward. I had devised some formats for daily planning and termly planning. We will talk about all of this at our next inset. I’m going to be interested to see what all the teachers think about this as a way of moving forward to curriculum for excellence. We may move to something which takes bits of this and adds/changes things but this has certainly given us all food for thought.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Einstein

Loving the above quote which someone from LTS showed us the other day. How often do we repeat the same mistakes in schools over and over?

I’m really interested in these new laptops. I’m awaiting a reply from the sellers on how we could try some way of getting parents involved in purchasing these or whether that is even possible. Apparently in some authorities in England parents are able to purchase these through a special purchase scheme via the LA where they pay back a certain amount monthly. I don’t yet know if this is what we’ve been looking for to take glow forward and get the children involved with access at home. I have a lot of questions/thoughts about how this could be taken forward so all children will have equality of access. Anyway this sounds like the start of something promising.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | ICT, planning, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Moving on Curriculum for excellence

Today we had a headteacher conference. It was really useful to hear people from LTS talking about Curriculum for Excellence, possible ways of planning etc. Just as the teachers need their comfort zone with programmes and planners and like to still ask permission for risky things, I too have a need to check I have permission to do big scary stuff. But most of us do now and then. And that’s despite giving out “permission to take risks with learning” cards to all the staff in school….

There’s a queasy feeling comes over me on occasion when I worry about making the right changes! Our children only get one chance at this so it has to be the best we can give – being head is an overwhelming responsibility at times, but I came away feeling we’re on the right tracks with how we might move planning forward. I was reassured greatly by today’s input and that maybe I’m starting to “get it”. This time for reflection is always really useful with other heads. So I’m going to grit my teeth and go for it.

My niggling worry is still the recording of evidence and assessment (even though I know how well we do this differently in the nursery),  however I then went to our first pilot Glow meeting. We’re one of the first set of schools in the authority involved in the roll out. If we can get our planning right and  use glow we’ll be able to pull together everything into one whole (I think!). Little steps still but I think I can see where we are going now on what’s going to be a really exciting journey.

October 30, 2007 Posted by | ICT, planning | , | Leave a comment


I had a really interesting day today. In amongst the usual, first day back after school holiday, excitement and heidie type things, I spent the day with the head of another primary in our learning community. She visited so we could begin doing some work on ACfE.

Our plan was to look at how we could do something with our current maths scheme, to reduce the reliance on workbooks, have more active learning, and give back the responsiblility for organising learning and teaching to the teachers (rather than following a scheme)….So as with these discussions and planning days what we came up with was radically different to what we thought we would. And that’s how it should be I suspect.

 First we decided that matching new numeracy outcomes in to our current scheme, deciding pages to miss out and then listing active learning ideas down was going to make the same mistake we had made previously with programmes of study. Basically we would be swapping one prescriptive scheme and way of teaching for another.

Then we agreed what we wanted was

  • to reduce the amount of planning we have overall – highlighting sheets, ticky boxes, assessment records which we mostly don’t need etc.
  • Give back trust to our teaching staff by believing that they are capable of organising learning and teaching in different ways
  • Monitor and observe learning and teaching in a more coherent and effective way

Here’s what we plan to discuss with staff

  • Remove planning blocks and the handing in of Forward Plans for “marking” by HT and DHT
  • Refocus on daily responsive planning with built in ways for peer assessment and plenaries which change what might happen the next day
  • Remove timetables! PE etc will remain timed but staff will have leeway to complete work in various curricular areas.
  • Leave programmes of study as “background planning” which staff will use as a resource rather than driving force. Outcomes then become the driver.
  • Refocus how we as HTs and DHTs monitor learning and teaching – take out the Forward Plan feedback discussions and feedback sheets from us, take out classroom formal visits.
  • Timetable weekly “drop in” discussion times after school which staff can opt into with HT or DHT
  • Timetable a day a week for DHT and HT to work in class with one teacher. This will work on a rotation. Coaching session to follow these days.
  • Timetable a monthly meeting at CCC time with each teacher and HT and DHT to have learning and teaching conversations. Target setting for national assessments will be part of this for individual children.

We were both quite excited at where this conversation with staff might take us…. I’ll keep you posted!

October 22, 2007 Posted by | planning | , | Leave a comment