Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Best Nursery in Scotland!

The most recent HMIe reports for primaries in the  Cambuslang and Rutherglen Area of South Lanarkshire are those for:  St Anthony’s Primary, St Bride’s and also Calderwood Primary with the follow through on Loch also recently published, all showing the fantastic quality of schools in the area. Fabulous work going on and we are all ever so proud of the children, parents and staff in the area. All of these establishments are well on their journey to excellence.

The latest nursery publication in the area, is the HMIe report on Cathkin Community Nursery which came out today. The nursery has been evaluated as excellent in all the QIs in the report. I’m not ashamed to admit that I bubbled all the way through the feedback dialogue session the other week. It was just fantastic to hear the hard work of the team being praised to the hilt. Every word was deserved.  Last year the nursery was graded across the board at 6 by the care commission. As far as I am aware this is the first Scottish nursery to have achieved all 6’s from care commission then have all excellents the next year from a joint HMIe/Care Commission Inspection. Pretty special! The start the children are given in their educational journey at the nursery is outstanding. Well done to everyone involved with the nursery. I mustn’t forget to mention Liz and Karen – two very special leaders who are providing something immeasurable for the children in their care. Something which is making a difference not only to the children there now but as Patrick Duignan talks about – to future children in ways we will never know.

Southlanarkshire is now on twitter you can follow the LA @SouthLanCouncil

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May 26, 2010 Posted by | education, leadership, learning, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 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

Visiting

Out and about getting time to look at some of the interesting practice going on in the area today. Visited Calderwood Primary to meet the HT about a curriculum for excellence development work update in the school, by luck the Primary 3 class were doing something pretty neat! They have recently been completing an interdisciplinary topic related to puppets. Stonelaw pre school 3 year olds had come up from the nearby church to watch their puppet show. The children performed using the puppets they had designed to their audience and managed to hold their attention. Afterwards they showed the pre school children their displays, their puppets etc. I’ve put a few photos underneath of this and some other interesting aspects in this P3 class.

Things of particular note – the way they plan and consult together as a class before, during and after learning opportunities – you can see this for the puppet context and also their next interdisciplinary piece of work which will be in Egypt.. Lots of evidence of discussion of useful learning strategies around the room. Evidence of children setting their own individual targets. Child friendly CfE language so they can understand and articulate what CfE is about. (The next step in this would be to drill right down to the children around the language of eg what creativity means and looks like at their age, what are some of the key words in eg the literacy outcomes etc – the Head teacher is currently having a good look at this kind of work). Evidence of leadership roles across the class – with every child having a leadership role and using the language of this to explain why they are doing certain things – what is it that they are learning if they are the leader for organising the jotters, pencils etc in their group/team? Nice sensory spelling ideas displayed – but remember any such approach works well when the interaction of the teacher is such that these activities are challenging and not merely repetitious stations which are repeated daily.

Lots of interesting things and you can see the focus on learning and teaching and the reflection of  staff evident. Doing a puppet show was a great way to assess some of the skills and abilities the children had learned – could they adapt these when playing to a real audience? How did they react when explaing their work to younger children etc etc. All ties in nicely to Building the Curriculum 5. Good stuff all round!

PUPPETS, AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, PLAY SCRIPTS

CfE language, Spelling, Targets

Planning Interdisciplinary Topics – Consulting with children

January 21, 2010 Posted by | education, learning | , , , , , , | 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

Outdoor Learning

Calderwood Primary have been working on their outdoor learning area for the past few months. A grant from the RBS Superground helped set it up. Parents did a huge amount of work digging and organising. An after school gardening club run by one of the staff beaver away in all weather! Every time I look out my office window I see children out working away. Over the past few weeks, community artist Nicola has been working with all classes in the school to make art for the garden – pottery, paintings, bird feeders, recycled tyre pots etc. Today they were having a little opening event for all the children to go out and see the art works. Their next steps will be to develop a seated literacy circle area where classes can go out and work. By the way the very last photo below shows the normally glam heidie cosied up in her hoody – good to see head teachers out getting their sleeves rolled up in today’s freezing Scottish weather!

December 18, 2009 Posted by | education, learning | , , | 2 Comments

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

Calderwood

I was at a “secret” show the other day at Calderwood Primary. The staff, pupils and friends had managed to keep quiet a little show they had developed to pay tribute to their HT Ann Kerr who retires today after being Head at Calderwood for 28 years. They sneaked into the hall with a big audience whilst Ann was waylaid elsewhere. This is your life tributes provided by her sister were fab. The children sang their hearts out and the staff got themselves together as a Queen tribute choir for the event with a treat being the Janny “Eddie” Mercury. Fantastic. A few tears were shed and it was clear just how many lives Ann has touched over the years. She’ll be sorely missed but I know she is really looking forward to the next phase in her life.

Cathkin Community Nursery were involved in some filming yesterday for the EY DVD being produced by LTS to assist with CfE. They do some wonderful work there, so I’m sure they would have provided useful material to LTS.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | education, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment