Benchmarks – the value of collaboration⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

A blog by Lorna Harvey, Acting Senior Education Officer
for Numeracy and Mathematics

Last year ( August 2016), we published draft Benchmarks for literacy and English and for numeracy and mathematics with the aim of providing clarity on the national standards expected at each level of the Broad General Education. We wanted to make clear what learners need to know and what they need to be able to do to progress through the levels, and to provide guidance that would support consistency in teachers’ and other practitioners’ professional judgements.

By publishing the Benchmarks in draft, we wanted to ensure we had time to consult with the very people who would be using the Benchmarks. We were committed to developing guidance that would hit the mark and achieve our aim of providing clarity.

From the outset we were keen to hear from as many practitioners as possible and we wanted to make sure anyone wishing to provide feedback felt confident that they could be as open and honest as they wished. To achieve that we set up an anonymous online consultation, but we also planned a number of face-to-face sessions allowing for more depth to our discussions and the opportunity for people to ask questions.

A number of National Network events provided opportunities for practitioners from across Scotland to contribute to this consultation process. This included the National Literacy Network, the National Numeracy Network and the Principal Teacher/Faculty Head Forum for Mathematics. Colleagues from SQA were involved in many of these discussions.

Some people decided to get together with colleagues and offer suggestions, while others wanted to provide their individual response. Whichever way people chose to provide feedback, it was extremely valuable. It was great to receive insight based on practitioners’ engagement with the Benchmarks in their education setting.

Together with my colleagues across Education Scotland , I worked on collating the results and analysing the feedback before making relevant changes to the Benchmarks. A number of stakeholders had offered to be involved in further consultation so we shared the updated Benchmarks and gathered more feedback as part of the process.

And then we had them. The final Benchmarks, shaped by practitioners and providing the clarity that we had been aiming for. A real collaborative effort.

We have now published the Benchmarks on our National Improvement Hub and would encourage practitioners to familiarise themselves with the documents before they begin using them in their setting. It’s also worth having a look at the ‘change’ documents we developed which clearly show where changes have been made from the drafts. There is also a frequently asked questions document.

We have uploaded a broadcast on the National Numeracy and Mathematics Hub which provides background information, advice and guidance on using the Benchmarks. The majority of this broadcast is relevant for all practitioners and there is a specific numeracy and mathematics input also. This broadcast could be used at an In-Service day in August to raise awareness of the Benchmarks and support professional discussion and planning.

We will be providing seminars at the Scottish Learning Festival in September as well as a Yamjam – where practitioners are invited to engage in an online discussion about the Benchmarks.

We would like to say  a huge thank you to all the practitioners who supported the consultation process, working with us and engaging with the drafts to provide valuable feedback to help shape the final documents

using Excel’s LINEST function⤴

from @ fizzics

The period (T) of a simple pendulum can be calculated using where l is the pendulum length and g is the gravitational field strength. Using a single value of length and period, we can determine the acceleration due to gravity.  However, it would be better experimental practise to vary the length of the pendulum and ... Read more

Edinburgh International Book Festival⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Baillie Gifford Schools Programme – 21-29 August 2017

What’s the Big Idea?
The 2017 Edinburgh International Book Festival Baillie Gifford Schools Programme challenges young minds to question, imagine and wonder. The programme brings together well-established writers, illustrators and performers from every corner of the globe, along with some shining new talent.
The programme is full of activities that will entertain, educate, enthral and inspire everyone from P1 pupils to teens and teachers, including events with bestselling illustrator Kristina Stephenson, Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy, picture book events for the youngest primary school pupils, and a Relaxed Event for pupils with Additional Support Needs.
You can find more information, download the full programme and book tickets on the Book Festival’s new Learning Site: learning.edbookfest.co.uk

Water Safety⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

As we approach the summer holidays, Scottish Water would like to make all parents and their children aware of the water safety code.
Water safety is a priority but especially during the summer months when children spend more time outdoors.

Scottish water would encourage teachers to take the time to access the Go Safe Scotland resource and deliver a water safety lesson before the summer break.

For more information go to Go Safe Scotland – Water Safety.

Ask the Explorer!⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Glow TV is delighted to support inspirational explorers Luke and Hazel Robertson in their adventure to Alaska. In this session we look forward to following their progress as they trek across Alaska.

Join us live on Monday 19th June at 2pm from Fairbanks where they are preparing for the next leg of their journey.

If you unable to join us for the live event you can always catch up with the recording at another time – Glow TV’s Watch Again.

E-Sgoil: A digital solution for Gaelic Medium Education Scottish Learning Festival: Wednesday 20 September⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

E-Sgoil offers schools a digital learning solution to increase the breadth of programmes and pathways on offer to young people as part of Curriculum for Excellence.  You are invited to a seminar at the Scottish Learning Festival at which Angus MacLennan, Headteacher of e-Sgoil will share an evaluation of some primary and secondary pilots that e-Sgoil ran in their first year.   Advice will also be available on how e-Sgoil can increase learning through the medium of Gaelic at the secondary stages. Information on how to register for this seminar, and the festival programme, are available here.

Show a Little Respect: Perhaps We Do Have More in Common⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

I have always resisted the urge to comment on the Michaela School in London. Aside from being a particularly heated, often nasty, occasionally cruel debate, I never see it as my place to comment on a school I’ve never been to, never worked at. It seems that we in Scotland have more with which to concern ourselves. However, their successful Ofsted report this week spurred me on to write something; their undoubted success might be symbolic of a greater divide in educational discourse.

I have read many blogs from their teachers, from their visitors, from their critics. And, while there may be things which seem anathema to me as a teacher, from what I’ve read and heard the kids love it at Michaela; teachers love working there; outsiders love visiting. That should be enough, shouldn’t it? Of course it should. Kids who wear their uniform with pride, set high standards for themselves and are polite and erudite is a noble aim. How Michaela get to that point is really nothing to do with anyone else.

And that’s not a damning indictment of anyone else’s school. There are great schools everywhere: not all of them have the same approaches as Michaela yet they work. I work at a Secondary School in a firmly working class area and we are a great school, improving all the time. But are the kids polite all the time? No. Do they always do their homework? No. They often come from backgrounds were school and education is not valued and that’s a genuine concern. There are a whole host of cultural reasons why schools become what they are. Michaela started from scratch, taking the opportunity to embed cultural and educational habits from the beginning and I commend them for that.

So, for those who feel antagonism towards Michaela and what they do, I wonder if it’s because we feel that their success is  slap in the face for what our own schools are doing, in some way their being right makes us wrong. It doesn’t. It’s just a school doing what they do very well indeed. I see teachers trumpeting their Ofsted/HMIe success all the time on social media. I often see criticism when poor reports are issued. We should all be delighted when any school does well. Their students deserve no less.

Our recent election cycle saw opposition parties in Scotland criticise our schools as disaster areas; oh, how the SNP have ruined our education system. And while there are undoubted problems, much of the criticism was dishonest nonsense. My greater concern though was for the kids sitting exams at the same time, hearing how terrible they were, how bad a deal they’d been served. Think about how the kids at Michaela feel when they read criticism of a school of which they are very proud. We should be celebrating the success of any school, embracing the good things happening. That doesn’t mean we have to be just like them, although there may well be lessons to learn on both sides. We might find that we have more in common than we think.


Quick notes: Naomi Korn on copyright and educational resources⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

I gate-crashed a lecture on copyright that Naomi Korn gave at Edinburgh University. I’ve had an interest in copyright for as long as I have been working with open access and open educational resources, about ten years. I think I understand the basic concepts pretty well, but even so Naomi managed to catch a couple of misconceptions I held and also crystallised some ideas with well chosen examples.

hand drawn copyright symbol and word 'copyright' in cursive script.
from naomikorn.com

First, quick intro to Naomi. Naomi is a copyright consultant (but not a lawyer). I first met her through her work for UKOER, which I really liked because she gave us pragmatic advice that helped us release resources openly not just list of all the things we couldn’t do. Through that and other work Naomi & colleagues have created a set of really useful resources on copyright for OER (which are themselves openly licensed).

Naomi has also done some work with the Imperial War Museum from which she drew the story of Ethel Bilborough’s First World War diary. It’s there on her website so I won’t repeat here. The key lessons (to me) revolved around copyright existing from the moment of creation until 70 years after the author’s death; copyright is a property which can be inherited; ownership of the physical artifact does not necessarily mean ownership of the copyright; and composite works (the diary contained press cuttings and photos) creating more complex problems with several rights holders. All of these (and the last one especially) are relevant to modern teaching and learning resources.

In general copyright supports the copying and use of resources through permission from the  rights owner (a licence) and various copyright exceptions. However, sometimes it is necessary to fall back on a pragmatic approach of taking a reasonable risk, for example when the rights owner is not traceable.  Naomi described some interesting issues around the use of  copyright resources in teaching and learning. For example, there are exceptions to copyright for criticism, review or quotation and for teaching purposes. However these are limited in that such use must be fair dealing (I learnt this: that fair dealing/fair use is an additional limitation on an exception, not a type of exception). Fair dealing is undefined, and may not include putting materials online. Naomi described how easy it is for use of a resource under an exception to become an infringement in the context of modern teaching as the private space of teaching becomes more public. For example a resource used in lecture which is videoed, the video made public. All the more reason to be careful in the first place; all the more reason to use liberal licences such as creative commons, which are not limited to a specific scenario.

copyright pragmatics

All the way through her talk Naomi encouraged us to think about copyright in terms of being respectful of other people: giving the credit due to resource creators. She left left us with some key points of advice

  • make sure that you know the basics
  • make sure you know who can help you
  • ask when you’re not sure

fun fact

For copyright purposes, software is classed as a literary work.

 

 

The post Quick notes: Naomi Korn on copyright and educational resources appeared first on Sharing and learning.

Scottish education governance announcement⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

John Swinney has today made his long expected announcement regarding the governance structure he wishes to introduce into Scottish education. This announcement followed a consultation on his proposals and his determination that Scottish education needs to improve, and part of the way of achieving this is by giving headteachers, teachers and parents more say in what goes on in their schools, As you can imagine, there has been a lot of resistance to his proposals, especially from local authorities, who have an almost 100% responsibility for public schools at the moment.

When he stood up in the Scottish parliament, Mr Swinney announced that his new governance structure would be underpinned by three 'key pillars. These are to be enhanced career and development opportunities for teachers combined with a Headteacher Charter, Regional Improvement Collaboratives and Local Government.

The 'statutory Headteacher Charter' would sit at the heart of these reforms he said and this would make headteachers the leaders of learning, with responsibility for raising attainment and closing of attainment gaps. They would have more freedom to decide on curriculum content, under a wide national framework, and would have more direct control over  more of their devolved school funding. In addition headteachers would be free to select and manage the teachers and staff in their schools, and determine the management structure for those schools. parent Councils are to be modernised and strengthened to support and promote parental involvement in schools and the ability to support their children with their learning.

The Regional Improvement Collaboratives are aimed at 'building capacity for educational improvement within the system' and are to offer another layer of support for schools and headteachers. These will be led by new Regional Directors who will report directly to the Chief Inspector of education. The collaboratives will  be made up of council education employees, Education Scotland staff, 'and others'.

The third pillar, local government would still have an important role to play and they would retain a vital role in the system, providing a wide range of support services to schools and headteachers. They would still remain as employers of staff in schools, and would have to ensure the quality of headteachers appointed into their schools. They would retain responsibility for the number of schools and catchment areas, and would still provide for denominational and Gaelic provision. They would also have responsibility for the placing and admissions for children requiring additional support.

He added that Education Scotland would be subject to 'significant change', though he said in response to later questions that he still wanted Education Scotland to retain both its Inspection, and its support function, for schools. His argument being that headteachers would then only have to look in one direction in terms of understanding what was expected of them. He also announced that Karen Reid, the current chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, will lead Education Scotland, supported by Graham Logan as acting Chief Inspector and chief Education Advisor until a new appointment is made later in the year.

As with all such announcements, the devil is in the detail. We await to see if the rhetoric and political statement matches what is actually delivered. There is little detail as yet to how some of these aspects may look. I don't think you can argue with Mr Swinney's vision for Scottish education, but we need to reconcile this with some of his actions. I can already see tensions will begin to emerge between the 'three pillars' as they discuss/argue over who has responsibility for what. A lot of the new powers that headteachers will have already exist in my opinion. As for establishing management structures and employment of staff, I am not sure where the leeway lies here for headteachers to tackle these when employment, and presumably budgets, still resides within the local authority hands. If headteachers have the room to shape the curriculum, how much space is going to be given by the other 'pillars' to allow this to happen? There are still too many headteachers, and teachers, who like being told exactly what to do, and they will have to move right out of their comfort zones. I welcome any attempt to help parents to be more involved in schools, in order to support learning, and think any more steps in this direction are to be welcomed. but, again, there are some in the system who will feel threatened by this.

In truth, there is not much in the statement that was not unexpected. I would just say to Mr Swinney that if we really want to improve Scottish education then his focus, and ours, should be very much on ITE and professional development for all. Improvement cannot be mandated. It is through the hearts and minds of teachers, school leaders, other staff and partners, that we will bering about positive change. structures and [policy can support us in these endeavours, or they can throw more obstacles in the way of the people trying to deliver every day for all our learners. To them, this is not a political game, but a professional and personal commitment, that puts learners at the heart of everything they do. They also understand that there are no 'silver bullets' to improvement, just a relentless desire to get better, informed by research and data, and having the necessary time, support and trust to deliver. I will watch the development of these approaches with interest, but I wonder how much time people will have to really make and shape them so that they work for everyone, but especially our learners?

Scottish education governance announcement⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

John Swinney has today made his long expected announcement regarding the governance structure he wishes to introduce into Scottish education. This announcement followed a consultation on his proposals and his determination that Scottish education needs to improve, and part of the way of achieving this is by giving headteachers, teachers and parents more say in what goes on in their schools, As you can imagine, there has been a lot of resistance to his proposals, especially from local authorities, who have an almost 100% responsibility for public schools at the moment.

When he stood up in the Scottish parliament, Mr Swinney announced that his new governance structure would be underpinned by three 'key pillars. These are to be enhanced career and development opportunities for teachers combined with a Headteacher Charter, Regional Improvement Collaboratives and Local Government.

The 'statutory Headteacher Charter' would sit at the heart of these reforms he said and this would make headteachers the leaders of learning, with responsibility for raising attainment and closing of attainment gaps. They would have more freedom to decide on curriculum content, under a wide national framework, and would have more direct control over  more of their devolved school funding. In addition headteachers would be free to select and manage the teachers and staff in their schools, and determine the management structure for those schools. parent Councils are to be modernised and strengthened to support and promote parental involvement in schools and the ability to support their children with their learning.

The Regional Improvement Collaboratives are aimed at 'building capacity for educational improvement within the system' and are to offer another layer of support for schools and headteachers. These will be led by new Regional Directors who will report directly to the Chief Inspector of education. The collaboratives will  be made up of council education employees, Education Scotland staff, 'and others'.

The third pillar, local government would still have an important role to play and they would retain a vital role in the system, providing a wide range of support services to schools and headteachers. They would still remain as employers of staff in schools, and would have to ensure the quality of headteachers appointed into their schools. They would retain responsibility for the number of schools and catchment areas, and would still provide for denominational and Gaelic provision. They would also have responsibility for the placing and admissions for children requiring additional support.

He added that Education Scotland would be subject to 'significant change', though he said in response to later questions that he still wanted Education Scotland to retain both its Inspection, and its support function, for schools. His argument being that headteachers would then only have to look in one direction in terms of understanding what was expected of them. He also announced that Karen Reid, the current chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, will lead Education Scotland, supported by Graham Logan as acting Chief Inspector and chief Education Advisor until a new appointment is made later in the year.

As with all such announcements, the devil is in the detail. We await to see if the rhetoric and political statement matches what is actually delivered. There is little detail as yet to how some of these aspects may look. I don't think you can argue with Mr Swinney's vision for Scottish education, but we need to reconcile this with some of his actions. I can already see tensions will begin to emerge between the 'three pillars' as they discuss/argue over who has responsibility for what. A lot of the new powers that headteachers will have already exist in my opinion. As for establishing management structures and employment of staff, I am not sure where the leeway lies here for headteachers to tackle these when employment, and presumably budgets, still resides within the local authority hands. If headteachers have the room to shape the curriculum, how much space is going to be given by the other 'pillars' to allow this to happen? There are still too many headteachers, and teachers, who like being told exactly what to do, and they will have to move right out of their comfort zones. I welcome any attempt to help parents to be more involved in schools, in order to support learning, and think any more steps in this direction are to be welcomed. but, again, there are some in the system who will feel threatened by this.

In truth, there is not much in the statement that was not unexpected. I would just say to Mr Swinney that if we really want to improve Scottish education then his focus, and ours, should be very much on ITE and professional development for all. Improvement cannot be mandated. It is through the hearts and minds of teachers, school leaders, other staff and partners, that we will bering about positive change. structures and [policy can support us in these endeavours, or they can throw more obstacles in the way of the people trying to deliver every day for all our learners. To them, this is not a political game, but a professional and personal commitment, that puts learners at the heart of everything they do. They also understand that there are no 'silver bullets' to improvement, just a relentless desire to get better, informed by research and data, and having the necessary time, support and trust to deliver. I will watch the development of these approaches with interest, but I wonder how much time people will have to really make and shape them so that they work for everyone, but especially our learners?