Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Its life long…

 One day last week I was in a nursery one minute talking about consulting with children and how they use mind maps and talking thinking floor books to do this, then in a secondary looking at self evaluation, then in a primary hearing about how they were using a grafitti wall to gather ideas from parents at parents nights using the ten dimensions, and then at Motherwell College’s awards system in the evening. And the one theme going through the whole day – its all about learning to learn, partnership, talking to each other and humaness. We know what we want to do, its just sometimes keeping that focus in amongst the minutiae of everday life thats the tricky bit… If 80% of what we do every day doesn’t really have an impact on real improvement how do we keep that focus? How do we keep our eye on what we really want to achieve? Maybe its all about that filtering thing….. So what have I learned this week? Maybe the most important bit about my job is attempting to help people filter out what’s important and what’s not. Now if I could find out the answer to that….

I was delighted this week  to read that initial teacher education in Scotland is to be reviewed. Its one of the best bits of news I’ve read in some time. I hope that they look to Finland when unpicking this agenda. Teachers are highly valued there, highly educated, with a high bar for intial entrance to teacher training. This review sounds like the inevitable next step in moving forward education in Scotland’s whole journey to excellence. And re JTE – the website has been updated and is looking much improved. But my plea is that there needs to be a sustained re-advertising of this to all teaching staff. Its still sitting too much at the edge of many establishments’ work…

November 21, 2009 Posted by | education | , , | Leave a comment


Really enjoyed the artsnet performance the other night in Hamilton Townhouse. 200 chldren from across South Lanarkshire schools were involved in Safe and Sound. It gave important messages about child protection in a creative way. This is only part of what the cultural coordinators are involved in. The emphasis they have placed on the arts has been a wonderful experience for so many children over the years.

Had an HT drop in this evening. Lots of quick five minute slots on what schools are up to e.g. numeracy planning, active maths P4-7, HMIe visits, CfE in the secondary, learning stories for pre 5s using multi media, standards and quality reporting, CfE approaches related to Homecoming, termly CfE planning, preparing for HMIe, self evaluation using SIRIUS tool etc. Very worthwhile sharing exercise, but I’m not so sure they were keen on my prizes, they seemed to like the cream eggs and special person stickers, but spare copies of building the curriculum 3 and JtE part 1 and 2 weren’t quite so popular as special prizes……and here I’d taken a wee while to track down some extras!

March 5, 2009 Posted by | education | , , , | 1 Comment

Trinity High

So I went back for another visit to Trinity High today. P Bollen the HT had offered a tour/visit round some of the 2nd year classes to get a flavour of their cross curricular topic work. Spanish, Home Economics,Science, Library skills etc. It was really impressive. The young people are a credit to the work going on within the school. It’s a funny thing as you visit schools and those who do this as their job would probably say the same thing, but you can feel the ethos almost from the moment you go in the door. And it oozes out of Trinity – the SMT know their kids and even more important like them and do the best they can for them. Lots of laughter and also lots of respect amongst the youngsters for each other and the adults.

He’s one of those heads with nae shoe leather (due to walking fast round the corridors) and I had little left after running round after him at high speed for a couple of hours. Loads of things to see and take in – talks in one class being given after a few days work on famous Scottish Scientists, powerpoints on the go in the library where they were writing about inspiring Scots from Mary Slessor to Jinky Johnstone and even King David “Cos that’s my name too!”, boys jumping up to demonstrate the Salsa they’d learned the day before in their Spanish class and fantastic personal topics they’d completed looking at life here and in Spain, and some haggis, neeps and tatties in the HE department being cooked, work going on about obesity in Scotland and how to combat it etc etc. Anyway after talking to a lot of the children the consensus was that the week hadn’t seemed like work but actually they’d done more than normal and loads of extra homework! They’d particularly enjoyed the way they’d been able to work much more in groups and felt they’d collaborated really well with each other, they’d learned more than normal because it was more fun and best of all maths had been really good because they’d been doing stuff about Napier rods and planning trips to Scottish places looking at how long to get their, using timetables, costing etc – and a few said it had been good because they knew they could use what they’d done in maths because they could use it in real life later. Did they want more like this – YES!

The biggest compliment I could give would be I’d have loved my own boys to go to this school, I’d have been happy and confident that they’d be doing the best they could there. And do you know what I quite fancied working there myself.

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , , , | Leave a comment