Professional Learning

Welcome to our June newsletter. This is our last newsletter for this academic year and what a year this has been! In the past few months we all had to adapt to a new way of living and working and we deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back for managing as best we could in those difficult times.

We will continue to work on our educational programmes over the summer to offer you new events and courses in the next academic year. Have a look below at what we are currently offering.

We look forward to seeing you again, online to start with and face-to-face when it is safe to do so.

Have a great summer!

Professional Learning Webinars

In May and June we have run a series of very successful webinars which were all sold out. If you didn’t get the opportunity to attend, you can visit our website and watch the recorded versions of each webinar.

The themes were:

  • Leadership in a Time of Change
  • Self-Evaluation for Self-Improvement: More Important than Ever?
  • The Primary Curriculum: Getting the Right Experiences for a Changing World
  • Getting the Most from Blended Learning: Continuity and coherence in challenging times

We will run another webinar before the start of term on Thursday 6 August: Blended learning: hitting the ground running! Tickets have already sold out but you will also be able to view the recording after the event.

Look out for our new series of webinars for 2020-21. Dates and topics will be confirmed in July.

Watch recorded sessions

Bespoke programmes

If your school or local authority is interested in organising some bespoke online training on any of the themes mentioned above or any other topic relevant to your work, please contact the Professional Learning Team. We would be delighted to discuss training options with you.

Contact us

Froebel and Childhood Practice

This course is of interest to professionals working in early years and wanting to learn about the Froebelian approach. Participants are given an opportunity to advance their skills in supporting young children’s development.

We are offering online sessions in line with the government guidance on social distancing and will resume to face-to-face sessions once it is safe to do so.

You can now register for our next term starting in October 2020.


Returning to Teaching

This course is aimed at fully qualified teachers who have been away from teaching for some time or qualified abroad and would like to get back into teaching. Participants will get up to date with Scottish education’s policies and national priorities as well as develop their knowledge of the Curriculum for Excellence, social justice and equality and inclusion.

Booking is now open for the next term starting on 11th September 2020.


CALL Scotland (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning) Webinars

CALL Scotland helps children and young people across Scotland to overcome disability and barriers to learning created by their environment, and to fulfil their potential.

They offer a number of services and resources including a wide number of live and recorded webinars to support teachers.

Their upcoming webinar is:

  • Wed 24 June 4.00 – 4.30pm – iPad apps to support learning and communication for those with autism


Making Connections through Learning for Sustainability online course

Aligned with Scotland’s education priorities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this fully online professional learning will support you to think about, plan for, and implement, Learning for Sustainability in your own practice and in your teaching context. You will make connections at individual, institutional and global levels, inspiring you and your students to develop the confidence, skills, knowledge, values and attitudes we all need to thrive and create positive change in our increasingly interconnected world.

The course will start on 11 September 2020.


Free Resources for Teachers and Parents

To find creative ways to keep busy and entertained during the summer, you could visit our online resources for parents and teachers. You will find some educational material from Edinburgh University on various topics such as Interdisciplinary Learning, EAL support, Learning for Sustainability or the Scientist Next Door project.

You can also get some tips and advice for both adults and children on keeping physically and mentally healthy.

Visit our website

Children in Scotland ASN Webinars

Children in Scotland are offering five free webinars aimed at parents and carers of children with additional support needs.

  • Tue 7 July – 10.30am-12.00pm – Discussing coronavirus and lockdown with children/teens with ASN
  • Mon 20 July – 3.00-4.30pm – Supporting children/teens with ASN to manage health anxieties
  • Thu 23 July – 10.30am-12.00pm – Understanding children’s rights and additional support requirements
  • Tue 28 July – 10.30am-12.00pm – Creating positive home routines for children/teens with ASN
  • Fri 31 July – 3.00-4.30pm – Supporting children/teens with ASN with their transition back to schooling


Lunch time online sessions

Some of Moray House staff and PhD students have arranged a series of lunch time talks to give students a break from study and replace some of the cultural experiences they may feel they are missing out on during this period of social distancing. These talks will take place over the next 3 weeks, on Tuesdays to Fridays 1.00 – 2.00pm and will have a different theme each week.

Why not join us and hear talks about multilingualism, study tips or the Chinese culture?


Social Enterprise Home Learning Resources 7 & 8

We are delighted to share with you our final 2 social enterprise home learning resources, which focus on planning and pitching a social enterprise idea. Details are attached and can also be accessed from the following link:

Activity 7– Make a Plan –

Home Learning 7 – Make the Plan

Activity 8 Pitch the Plan-

Home Learning 8 – Pitch the Plan

These resources can be used as stand-alone resources or they can be used alongside our Virtual Dragons’ Den Competition which is open to all schools- please see the following link for more details:

A Recovery Curriculum

Evidence for Learning have put together a “Think Piece” on Loss and Life for our Children post Pandemic.

For many children the loss of structure will be devastating. This is why parents have been encouraged to establish clear routines in home schooling their children. Children need to know what they are doing now and what will come next. If they don’t, the child will become anxious and concentration levels drop; they become frustrated with themselves, and their parents as makeshift educator.

For some, the loss of freedom is constraining. What teenager wants to be with their parents 24 hours a day? Frankly they are not cool! Their whole self-image, self-esteem, and self-concept, is located in the interaction and dynamics of a peer group. They cannot test their emerging self, against the rules and routines of family life and to be taught by a parent who clearly knows nothing, (what teen acknowledges parental skills?) is to them an insult!

The common thread that runs through the current lived experiences of our children, is loss. Publicly it has been the loss of national examinations which has been most obvious. As one student said, “I was preparing to run a marathon, but now they tell me there is no race!” Many would think that the removal of examinations would be a matter of joy for most young people facing a gruelling timetable of examinations. But these are rites of passage; they are integral to how that young person shapes their ambitions for their life. What impact will it have on students to give their all to examinations next time around?

From loss emanates three significant dynamics that will impact majorly on the mental health of our children. Anxiety, trauma and bereavement are powerful forces. For them all to appear at once in an untimely and unplanned fashion is significant for the developing child. Our children are vulnerable at this time, and their mental-health fragile. And on top of that, they are witnessing a sea of adult anxiety, which they unwittingly are absorbing. There will be many students who are young carers, and this loss of freedom will be combined with a weight of responsibility that will have made academic learning feel inconsequential.

The loss of friendship and social interaction could trigger a bereavement response in some of our children. They will grieve for that group of peers, who not only give them angst, but also affirm them as the person they want to be. The rules of the peer group have vanished without warning, and our young people in particular, were ill prepared for this. They will mourn for how their life was compared to how it is now. They have undergone a period where friends and family members have been avoided because they are a threat; how long will it take for children to feel not threatened by nearness of others?

The loss of routine and structure, will be traumatic for some. Already we are receiving reports of the increased incidents of self-harm, (Young Minds, 2020). Children can find it alarming that the infrastructure of their week has been abandoned however logical the reason. The suddenness of it all may induce panic attacks, a loss of self-control, as the child feels their own intellect no longer informs their personal judgements accurately.

Anxiety is a cruel companion. It eats away at the positive mental health of the child, and can cause a deterioration in their overall well-being. The anxious child is not a learning child. Mood swings may prevail; they can become irrational and illogical. There can be a loss of sleep; the cumulative tiredness can diminish the child’s coping mechanisms.

Daily, children are listening to reports of the spread of the pandemic and to the reported death toll in their country and internationally. It is probable that most children may return to school knowing of someone who has died. Indeed, they may have first-hand experience of the death of a loved one. In this respect, we have much to learn from the experiences of those children affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. Schools there, kept a register of the deaths within a family, or other significant traumatic events, to guide and inform staff as children returned. Subsequent evidence from research studies from NZ, (Liberty, 2018) have shown that there has been considerable impact on the learning and development of those children who were under 5 years old at the time of the earthquakes, (eg speech delays, emotional immaturity, etc). We ignore such related evidence at our peril.

Those 5 losses, of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom, can trigger the emergence emotionally of anxiety, trauma and bereavement in any child. The overall impact cannot be underestimated. It will cause a rapid erosion of the mental health state in our children.

How are schools to prepare? What curriculum adjustments are crucial? What pedagogical frameworks will facilitate teaching with compassion? How will staff manage their own recovery? We inevitably have a finite resource and we must consider the gradual implementation of any form of curriculum to recover from loss. All of our learners will need a holistic recovery, some may need a focused recovery intervention programme, personalised to their needs; others may need a deeper and longer lasting recovery period, enabling a fuller exploration of the severity of their trauma and emergent attachment issues .

Teaching is a relationship-based profession. That has been clearly demonstrated in the response of the teaching profession, supporting children through online teaching during the crisis, and also caring for the children of key workers by keeping schools open and offering an activities programme. This was not without its inherent risk.

In response to the weight of loss our young people will have experienced, what are our levers of recovery? Many of us will focus on the recovery of lost knowledge, but this does not recognise the scale of impact. If we consider the definition of a relevant curriculum as the ‘daily lived experience’ we must plan for experiences that provide the space for recovery. Already Headteachers are saying “The children will be so far behind academically when they return.” Such statements are incompatible with the process of recovery from loss, trauma, anxiety and grief. It is more about the results culture so many Headteachers are steeped in. Now is the time to return to more humane approaches concerned with the fundamental wellbeing, and secure positive development of the child. Without this there will be no results that have true meaning and deep personal value to the child in terms of their preparation for adulthood.

Lever 1: Relationships – we can’t expect our students to return joyfully, and many of the relationships that were thriving, may need to be invested in and restored. We need to plan for this to happen, not assume that it will. Reach out to greet them, use the relationships we build to cushion the discomfort of returning.

Lever 2: Community – we must recognise that curriculum will have been based in the community for a long period of time. We need to listen to what has happened in this time, understand the needs of our community and engage them in the transitioning of learning back into school.

Lever 3: Transparent Curriculum – all of our students will feel like they have lost time in learning and we must show them how we are addressing these gaps, consulting and co-constructing with our students to heal this sense of loss.

Lever 4: Metacognition – in different environments, students will have been learning in different ways. It is vital that we make the skills for learning in a school environment explicit to our students to reskill and rebuild their confidence as learners.

Lever 5: Space – to be, to rediscover self, and to find their voice on learning in this issue. It is only natural that we all work at an incredible pace to make sure this group of learners are not disadvantaged against their peers, providing opportunity and exploration alongside the intensity of our expectations.

We suggest the Recovery Curriculum is built on the 5 Levers, as a systematic, relationships-based approach to reigniting the flame of learning in each child. Many children will return to school disengaged. School may seem irrelevant after a long period of isolation, living with a background of silent fear, always wondering if the day will come when the silence speaks and your life is changed forever. Our quest, our mission as educators, should be to journey with that child through a process of re-engagement, which leads them back to their rightful status as a fully engaged, authentic learner.

What must be going though children’s minds at this strange time? Is school to be always transitory, when for you as a child, it has always been a constant, love it or hate it? Can I trust you again, as my teacher, to not abandon me? We were walking a path together, and then this ‘thing’, this virus, sent us on different journeys. Can our lives reconnect? Can our relationship be re-established? School is no longer the safe, constant place we thought it was. We must be ready to understand, to reframe their perceptions, and show that we are trustworthy.

The Recovery Curriculum is an essential construct for our thinking and our planning. Each school must fill it with the content they believe is best for the children of their school community, informed by your inherent understanding of your children in your community. What were the aims and values of your school before this pandemic? Use them now to guide your judgements, to build a personalised response to the child who has experienced loss. No Government can give you the guidelines for that. It is down to you, as that skilled, intuitive teacher, who can lift the mask of fear and disenfranchisement from the child. You can engage that child as a learner once more, for engagement is the liberation of intrinsic motivation, (Carpenter et al, 2015).

The Loss the children experienced during this pandemic will have caused issues around attachment – in their relationships in school that they have forged over years; these will be some of the strongest relationships the young people have, but bereft of the investment of those daily interactions, will have become fragile. Our unwritten relationships curriculum must restore the damage of neglect; it must be a Curriculum of Recovery. Now is the time to address the damage of loss and trauma, so that it does not rob our children of their lifelong opportunities. Now is the time to ensure that we restore mental wealth in our children, so that their aspirations for their future , can be a vision that becomes, one day, a reality.

Carpenter, B. et al (2015) ‘Engaging Learners with Complex Needs’, London, Routledge.

Liberty, K., (2018) ‘How research is helping our children after the earthquakes.’ (accessed 14th April, 2020.)

Young Minds (2020) Coronavirus; the impact on young people with mental health needs.

Social Enterprise Home Learning Resources 4 & 5

We are delighted to share with you this week’s home learning resources which focus on enterprise. These are attached and can also be accessed from the following links.

Activity 4– The Enterprise Side Part 1 –

Activity 5– The Enterprise Side Part 2 –

Home Learning 4 – The Enterprise Part 1

Home Learning 5 – The Enterprise Part 2

ONLINE CPDs June 2020

Social Enterprise Academy- New Home Learning Resources and Teacher CPD

We are delighted to launch a series of Home Learning Activities aimed at supporting young people to be community champions from the comfort of their own homes, and online CPD opportunities for staff to support them now as well as helping them with planning for the future. See the following link for more information:

Home Learning 1 – What is Social Enterprise (002)ONLINE CPD 22

May 2020CfE Overview and Curriculum Links (003)

CfE Overview and Curriculum Links (003)

Your Guide to Career Long Professional Learning for Education in East Lothian