Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Holocaust Memorial 2010

Councillor Mary Smith and Councillor Jackie Burns in South Lanarkshire have been driving forces behind making the Holocaust Memorial Events in South Lanarkshire such high profile, important events every year. Young people across South Lanarkshire join together annually to make their voices heard in the hope that they can make a difference to society. 25000 young people in South Lanarkshire have been involved in memorial events this year. Quite remarkable. The key message is course that we remember victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides across the globe such as  in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, whilst at the same time using all our voices to speak out against discrimination and exclusion in our society.

In Rutherglen and Cambuslang, schools take part in various events, learning opportunities throughout the year and during Holocaust Memorial Day. Schools also take place in an annual Holocaust Meorial Event in the area. This year’s was held last night. Trinity HighSchool were this year’s hosts. An audience of around 400 invited guests attended. They browsed the art work on display from a range of our schools reflecting the theme, legacy of hope. These included anti-sectarianism projects, a reflection of the five senses viewed through the perspective of the Holocaust and photographic work from visits to Auschwitz by pupils. Those attending put very touching thoughts onto our tree of hope where they pledged their support in making a positive difference to our society.

Many of our local schools were involved in this year’s event – with young people from  Burnside, St Columbkille’s, St Mark’s, St Cadocs, Cairns, Westcoats, Calderwood, Loch and St Anthony’s Primaries and Cathkin, Stonleaw and Trinity High all performing. Each year due to the scale of the event different schools take part in presenting. The quality of the monologues, songs, presentations and dramas was superb. I found the reflections on their recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau by senior Trinity pupils particularly touching along with work performed around survivor monologues. The theme was legacy of hope and everyone commented on the joy of watching some of our younger children from local primaries oozing confidence and hope for the future whether reciting “Is there for honest poverty?” or singing “All you need is love”. Always a special evening, last night gave us all much to think about.

The picture below gives you an idea of the scale of response the local community gives in supporting this event.

The stage from the back of the street area

Some of the schools’ work beginning to be displayed prior to the event

Photos taken at Auschwitz during pupil visits were exhibited

January 28, 2010 Posted by | 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

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

Cathkin High Official Opening

Enjoyed today’s official opening of the new Cathkin High. The highlights? Some absolutely fantastic art work on display at the entrance to the street area, listening to the young people singing, dancing, creating music. Great to see the effort put in by the SLC glow team to assist school in streaming the event to all classes. The provost Russell Cleary unveiled the opening plaque with the assistance of the Head Boy and Girl. The organisation of these official openings is now down to a fine art, central staff support the schools during the process in lots of ways. One man who is rarely mentioned in dispatches is the wonderful Des Dickson and his team who help the school pull the whole event together.  This was the tenth official opening of a new secondary school in South Lanarkshire. The school modernisation programme  in SLC has been a mammoth undertaking, the secondary phase is now almost complete, the primary programme is still ongoing. All 19 secondaries and 124 primary schools will have been rebuilt or modernised by the end of the programme.

December 2, 2009 Posted by | education | , | Leave a comment

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

Cathkin Third year Biology

Cathkin High have a group of keen bloggers on Thursday lunch time. Last night their teacher Jaye Richards discovered my blog! I’ve been in my office here only a few days and as I’ve been involved in induction activities etc I hadn’t introduced myself properly to the school as I’m in the community wing. Now that I know my schools (one of which will be Cathkin High) I had planned to arrange a proper introductory visit. However after Jaye made contact I was able to go along to her class today and see her using glow with her third year biology class. If ever there was a reason for pushing blogging – there it is! Part of my role is to find examples of good practice and share it – its unlikely I would have got round to finding Jaye and her class for some time without a bit of blogging.

So into the computer base where the third years go every Thursday to use ICT within Biology. Some Australian visitors were also evident to look at what was happening and some of the ICT people from the EA. Jaye had already spent time over a few sessions as an early adopter, training the pupils in the use of their glow group etc.

So today taking the context of Australia the children were investigating population and how various organisms can affect it. They could read their news – which explained the learning intentions, then go to their glow group for biology where they could read documents explaining the tasks and activities. Pupils then used a variety of weblinks which had active tasks such as a food web activity, reading where some functional writing was produced, work on discussion points with the discussion group, developing graphs using excel. There was a lot going on.

Grant admitted he prefers the teacher telling him what to do first rather than it being on screen to read, but he said the activities were much better on glow as they were more active rather than a worksheet. Another pupil said that using glow freed up the teacher’s time to really help anyone who was struggling with an aspect of their learning.

What struck me was the enthusiasm of Jaye Richards and her commitment to use an available tool to improve her teaching. The using of that tool in itself was allowing her to really reflect on the outcomes of the lesson and how to meet the needs of the pupils. I was also really pleased to see how collaborative the work the pupils was doing became very quickly – they were helping each other, asking questions of each other, supporting etc.

This was not about J being a digital native or otherwise (maybe we can just stop using this nonsense term)- this was about good teaching – someone who was using the tools available to their best advantage.

February 21, 2008 Posted by | glow, learning | , , , | 7 Comments