Interim reports

Education Learning Log

RM Drop In

Attended the RM drop in for the secondary ICT co-ordinators in SLC. Really interesting afternoon, Trying to learn quickly just now for the new ICT aspects of my remit, so the drop in was really useful. Hope to attend more in future and will think more about how this kind of update/info could be extended in some way for others. The offices where I work were part of a cc4 upgrade during the week by RM as we are attached to a primary school.Brian K from RM was a star in the face of our demands from the area and extended team offices – the school upgrade was easy in comparison to us! Anyway lots of nice new features in the upgrade which can be seen here . Its currently being rolled out across SLC primaries by the summer – at the moment 50 primaries have already been upgraded – at its height 8 schools a week will be being upgraded – quite a feat for RM and the authority’s IT team who are also heavily involved in the primary schools modernisation programme too with a lot of movement over the summer in particular.

Trinity High will have their official opening in the Camglen area this Monday coming. The Glow team and ICT folks here are working away with them for some interesting things at the opening on Monday! This week I attended the official opening of Burgh Primary and just loved the performances by the children – wee p1s with their teddy bears stole the show! Fantastic stuff. The plaque was unveiled by Councillor Pam Cleary who had attended the Burgh when she was at school – she put into perspective really nicely just what great opportunities the children in our schools are offered by the learning environments which are being built for them, but also reminded us that its not just about the building its about the staff and community within it – thats what makes the biggest difference. It was also the school Jeremy Paxman visited when he did his “Who Do you Think You Are?” family tree. His great grandfather John McKay was janitor there at one point. Unfortunately couldn’t attend Loch’s official opening this week, but it too sounded great – loved the mementoes they gave out made by the children with pictures of the school – keyrings etc. At that point  I was in a meeting learning about my primary staffing remit – I think I may need to buy a huge calculator for this bit!! Said goodbye to several colleagues on Friday who are leaving the council and who have been committed to education for many years between them, its sad to see them go but it was fantastic to hear about just a few of the  pieces of work they had undertaken which have made a difference to the lives of many children and families – whether as heads, when they were education officers, managers, advisors etc.

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March 27, 2010 Posted by | education, ICT | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

JTE in action

There are some days it just hits me between the eyes that I’ve got the best job in the world. Today was a hard one getting up, Wednesday, feeling kind of sleepy mid week and then I get to work and I see why I come to work every day. I was doing a PDR today in a nursery and didn’t expect either of the sniffly, happy, weepy moments that hit me. Cathkin Community Nursery showed me their ongoing planning whiteboard where they are reviewing their vision, values and aims. Using the word ENABLE to write their vision they are then colour coding the related CfE links and the aims (written as outcomes) which they are developing ready to work out actions to put in their improvement plan. They also told me about the 200 places parents in the area have applied for with their awards for all grant for parental courses at SLC college. On the playroom walls they are colour coding photograph backgrounds with a specific colour for CfE principles. They had rewritten the AIFL triangle for their own establishment so all staff felt ownership of what they were doing. Then in pops Rachel with her individualised learning story media show – with all the photos and evidence for one child showing their learning progression. WOW! I could write much more but go see it! Then off for a surprise treat at Trinity High, where they are currently in the midst of a cross curricular week with all departments involved. The theme is The Scottish Nation. Starting with an assembly on the Monday, pupils made choice to study within curricular areas, went off with a fabulous quiz to complete over the week, where they were getting input in departments but also having to do study research in their own time. They also have to complete ongoing research material as the topic is worked through. The planning and thought going into this was wonderful. What was coming out straight away was the additional element of engagement and enjoyment which was being tackled in looking at the curriculum in this way. They too are delving deep into their vision and values. One impressive piece of work is how they are evaluating the school using the charter for catholic schools. The evaluation looks at the distinctive features in Trinity High and signposts areas for further development. For anyone in any school whether denominational or non-denominational this piece of work is a great example of excellent practice in self evaluation. And what comes across in both establishments is the commitment of the staff, the joy of improving things for the young people and the understanding of how much of a difference they can make in the life of these youngsters – sparking that golden nugget in them of lifelong learning. The other thing which is clear in both is the desire to build capacity in all those involved within their school – the good school in the good society. And the best thing about my job? I get to see stuff like this every day!

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, education, teaching | , , , | 2 Comments