PPS on The Glebe.

Three Pencaet Schools….

PPS – A Brief History

Excerpt from “Village Schools”, Ralph Barker
From Headmaster John Archer 1962 – 1979
“To deal adequately with the great changes in educational philsophy and practices in the 1960s would require a book.
In the course of these changes, Pencaitland Primary School was regarded by the Scottish Education Department Inspectorate and by the various Teacher Training Colleges to be at the forefront of the advance. 
Briefly, in 1962 teaching was on a whole class basis, the teacher imparting information for the pupils to assimilate and try to remember. This method took no account of the vast differences in intelligence, intellect and interests to be found within the range of pupils in a normal class. To change to a system whereby account was to be taken of individual abilities required a resolution in classroom practices. Henceforth the main function of the teacher was not to teach, but to create situations and opportunities to teach a child to learn for himself. In Pencaitland this took several years to evolve. Although there were still occasions when class teaching was possible, the emphasis was to swing more and more to group and individual work. 
Prior to the 1960s parental involvement in the running of the school was non-existent. In 1963 the Mothers’ Club was formed in the school. Parents also helped teachers prepare all the materials which were necessary for the new methods. With so much parental involvement, discipline slowly improved and the use of the belt was no longer necessary. 
Another innovation made in the 1960s was the formation of Children’s Clubs, covering a wide varieties, again greatly helped by the talents of parents. 
Being in the forefront of progressive education during this period, it was inevitable that the school became the focus of much attention in the educational world. Many visitors came to school from all over the world – U.S.A., Canada, Africa, Europe, Ceylon, Malaysia, Singapore. Details of these visits can be gleaned from the Log book. 
For several years in succession I was invited to lecture during the summer courses at Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh and Dundee College of Education, so that the educational philosophy and practices which were developed in Pencaitland School were dispersed widely and accepted throughout Scotland. 
This was recognised by the award of an M.B.E. in 1969, and a further M.R.E. to the Infant Teacher, Mrs. Helen Raine, some years later. It would be surprising if any other school in Scotland (Primary of Secondary) could boast of such a double honour.
More Historical Information can be found here: 

Continue reading “PPS on The Glebe.”

Keeping Safe – Guy Fawkes night.


Great time of year – but also one to keep ‘you and yours’ safe. Great advice is easy to find, but here is a little from Tyne and Wear and locally, and information from Humbie Fireworks organisers, in case you are heading out with your kids over this weekend. Remember to protect the ears of your babies and infants if you head to a display.

Fireworks Advice for families

Humbie Fireworks Night info and advice.

RSPCA Fireworks Night info for pet owners.

Governance Review – Scot Gov.

Scottish Schools Governance Review. 

– a chance to have your say on how Education is shaped in Scotland.



All parents and carers are invited to share their views regarding Scottish schools. Consultation is open until 6th JanuaryScottish Schools Governance Review

30th November 2016: There is an opportunity to attend an open event in Edinburgh also, tickets are free but most be booked (by 6th Nov).

Scottish Schools Governance Review – Engagement Session


For more information and other dates / venues for Ministerial Engagement Sessions, see below.  Continue reading “Governance Review – Scot Gov.”

Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence Words Heart

The curriculum in Scotland is taught through the Curriculum for Excellence. Information regarding this can be found through this link. Curriculum for Excellence

There are four key capacities:

Successful Learners • Confident Individuals • Responsible Citizens • Effective Contributors

Within these capacities (reflecting experiences and outcomes) fit eight outcome areas:

Health and Wellbeing • Languages • Mathematics • Science • Social Studies • Expressive Arts • Technologies • Religious and Moral Education

Quote: Men [and presumably women!] are relatively predictable, limited and uncreative. It is the business of education to make us freer and more creative. (Stenhouse, 1975, p. 82)

[This is an educational goal which seems appropriate for CfE – with engagement of teachers and pupils at it’s heart. It is noted, however, that early progress of the acclaimed Curriculum for Excellence has become somewhat bogged down with paperwork, assessment and its ilk, leaving parents / carers and teachers wondering what has happened and how to set CfE back on course to reach its optimum capability as a very significant Educational Reform].

Documents, such as Building the Curriculum 2 support the vision and development of CfE. This one specifically centres on pre-school, the Early Years of Primary and Special Schools.


For more info, see post on the National Framework for Improvement.


Growth Mindset. (Health and Well-being).

With Growth Mindset being a key issue for PPS, particularly looking at Resilience and better life skills to help both in and out of school…..here are some more resources. Big Deal Little Deal has already been shared after being introduced in school…have a look and see the little video and post explaining it for the kids and ourselves.




Growth Mindset pocket book for Staff and others. (This can also be purchased from Amazon if you fancy using it more yourself as some parents are now doing).


And another wonderful video which explains a lot of Growth Mindset, ‘in action’.



What is Loose Parts Play?

Loose Parts Play – loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.

loose-parts-play-jgpTwo play specialists here in Scotland with particular interests in Schools / Outdoor Learning and Inclusion have collaborated to create an excellent guide for http://www.inspiringscotland.org.uk/. Absolutely fantastic resource for every playground and places where children can come together, collaborate, create, construct, care and thrive.


A terrific example of Parent Led Playgroup Improvement here in East Lothian can be seen and followed through Law Primary’s journey to open their grounds to a very ripe learning environment. Parents created this group following their early start to make a significant difference – and the project was born. https://www.facebook.com/PlanetPlayNB/

You may like to check out Cramond Primary in Edinburgh too….

Our PLACE – Learn Outdoors



Snap Survey – consultation with children and young people.


Work on devising new Play Strategy for East Lothian is progressing quickly. Your views are invited again for the next part. Please follow the link and take a few moments to answer this short survey and pass on to others who can respond (children and young adults). Please help your children record their answers.


SNAP Survey! Free time in East Lothian survey

What do you think about opportunities for free time in East Lothian? Where do you like to hang out, what do you like to do, and what gets in the way of you doing it? This survey is and will help us write a Play Policy for East Lothian that covers children and young people’s play and free time opportunities.

If you need help to complete the survey, it’s fine to ask someone to help – just make sure the answers are your own!

The survey has five questions and takes up to about 5 minutes to complete.


Growth Mindset – for Parents and Families





With the focus on Growth Mindset and Emotional Resilience this academic year, it may be helpful to consider how we can promote and support this at home too, as parents and carers.the-growth-mindset-i-can-get-smarter-large

It is particularly reassuring to know that the more we build this empathetically and consistently, in our young children, the better equipped they are to deal with the considerable challenges of life as adolescents, and into adulthood.


The strongest resilience comes through strong attachment with caregivers (this can include staff in Nursery and School etc) from birth through key years as children develop. It also affects teen years (which seem to start earlier and earlier given influences around), so this article may be interesting too.


Raising Children with Confidence.



This is a seven session course which aims to give all parents and carers the chance to explore emotional health and wellbeing and consider how they can best promote it in themselves and their children. Drawing on the latest research it helps explain why parents’ actions make a difference to their children’s emotional wellbeing and future positive mental health. This programme is suitable for parents and carers of children aged 0-11yrs. Courses are held each term throughout the city in primary schools and community venues. Raising Children with Confidence is part of the Growing Confidence project.

http://growingconfidence.org/ Also has information around a suite of training courses designed and first implemented in Edinburgh.

Raising Children with Confidence (RCWC) – for parents and carers of children aged 0 – 10 years.

Confident Staff, Confident Children (CSCC) – for multi-agency practitioners (i.e. professionals working with children in early years, educational and community settings).

Raising Teens with Confidence (RTWC) – for parents and carers of young people aged 11 – 16 years.

Teenage Brains and Behaviour Series (TBBS)– for multi-agency practitioners (i.e. professionals working with young people in educational and community settings).

Cool, Calm and Connected (CCC) – for young people aged 11 – 16 years (used as part of PSE curriculum)