GTCS Award for Dunbar Primary School

Excellence in Professional Learning Award for Schools and Learning Communities

Tonight, 20th September, the SLT and members of staff accompanied by Fiona Robertson, Head of Education will be attending The GTC SCOTLAND Excellence in Professional Learning Awards 2018 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Glasgow ,to receive the Excellence in Professional Learning Award for Schools and Learning Communities Award.

The SLT are proud of all staff who have made this award possible for the school and community and would  like to dedicate the award to everyone who works in Dunbar Primary School. They are the difference that makes Dunbar Primary School such a wonderful place to learn in, for both our pupils and staff.

Below are the Key Strengths identified by the panel 

Key Strengths

The panel enjoyed the structure of the day and would like to commend Dunbar Primary School on the following observed key strengths:

Prior to the event the documentation and the visual materials provided the panel members with a brief insight to Dunbar Primary School and gave a flavour of the excellent professional learning opportunities available for staff and pupils.

The panel were very appreciative of the open, honest and reflective nature of the school community. All staff, pupils, parents and partners spoke of their pride in the school as a learning community and a place to learn.

Through the various conversations it was very evident that the whole school community appreciate the inspirational leadership of the Headteacher and consider her an excellent professional learning role model.

Leadership of and for learning

There is a strong strategic and holistic vision of professional learning. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Principal Teachers (PTs) were considered to be strong enquiry role models who support staff to build capacity both within and outwith the learning community.

There was also strong evidence that professional learning is collaborative, staff are encouraged to take an enquiry approach. Staff are actively encouraged to take risks and are supported to bring forward new ideas. New members of staff feel very welcomed and a strong induction process helps to ensure consistency in approaches to learning and teaching across the school.

Professional Standards & Policy

Gatekeeping by the SLT supports the development of teacher agency and builds capacity to ensure a strong focus on learning and teaching through appropriate professional learning. There was evidence of an embedded culture of coaching and staff were supported to reflect on their own professional learning using coaching wheels. Tracking meetings of pupil progress are used to inform the professional learning of staff and also supported the professional review and development process.

Learning that deepens knowledge and understanding

There is a culture of creating space and time for staff to engage fully in professional learning including more in-depth learning e.g. practitioner enquiry. This time and space is greatly appreciated and valued by staff who feel that they are positively encouraged to undertake practitioner enquiry and to take ownership for and lead of their own and others’ learning. Through this professional trust staff have a ‘can do‘ attitude to professional learning. Connectedness of learning and pedagogies across pupil and teacher learning was evident and some students saw teachers as learners.

Learning by enquiry

There are multiple enquiry role models at all levels of the staff team and teachers are engaging in practitioner enquiry which is relevant to their own learning and have the autonomy to work collaboratively or individually. Teachers are encouraged to ask questions, critically engage with policy and take risks in their own learning. This fosters collaboration and professional dialogue. The impact of practitioner enquiry is beginning to be recognised and its association with student learning.


The culture of sharing staff learning between and beyond school is a strength in this learning community. Regardless of the challenging circumstances, there are multiple opportunities for professional dialogue, informal and formal, within and outwith the school community, and there is some evidence this is extending to pupils particularly in upper stages of primary.

Engaging with and involving the community and partners in pupils’ learning and acknowledging learning beyond the school gates is to be commended.

Teacher and Student Learning

There is a strong sense of teacher-as-learner and an interconnected relationship between their learning and the learning of their pupils is beginning to emerge.



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