Next Ross High School Parent Council Meeting – Tuesday 29th November 2011

The next Ross High School Parent Council Meeting will take place on Tuesday 29th November at 7.00pm in the meeting room at the school.   Meetings are usually held on the last Tuesday of every month but there is no meeting in December.

Any parent/carer of a pupil is very welcome to attend.

If you are unable to attend but wish to raise a query,  please leave a comment on this website or e-mail us at the link below.

Curriculum for Excellence Factfiles

On 3 Nov, a printer friendly version of all the factfiles went live at the following address.

Also, a CfE Q+A was published on 2 Nov and can be found here

This is not exclusively for parents and has a lot of useful information and is a helpful document.

Languages Working Group – Message from Carol Snow (EL Rep of NPFS)

Languages Working Group

As some of you may know, I am sitting on the Languages Working Group, which is providing strategic advice and direction to the Scottish Government to support its manifesto commitment on languages in Scottish schools. The commitment from the SG is a new language model – 2 + 1  languages in Scotland. What this means is your mother tongue plus two more languages.

We had our first meeting in September and the next meeting is coming up on 16 November.  At the first meeting we had general discussion about the Government plans aimed at starting to identify some of the issues, remit and membership of the Group etc.  One of the actions is that group members were invited to offer papers/information/research data to help shape Group discussions at future meetings.  They want to know how the languages commitment can be taken forward from the different perspectives.

I need to send in any contributions next week so it would be fantastic if you ccould share your views with me by Monday 7 November.  I would really appreciate having your views or directing me towards any research data etc that you are aware of.

Foreign Language Assistants (FLAs) Campaign

The British Council manages the programme of Assistants on behalf of the Scottish Government.  They are seeking to raise awareness of the scheme.  They will soon be writing to
local authorities to start to gauge the demand across Scotland for the next school year.  They are planning to launch the campaign on 11 November and have written to the NPFS for their support.

I would like your opinions on the following:

1.    Do you think we should support the campaign?  If yes, why do you think FLAs are an important resource?
2.    Why do you regard language learning as important?
3.    How do you think language assistants can help Scotland to improve language skills in schools?

Some of the information and facts the Council have told us are as follows:

  • The number of FLAs in Scottish schools has fallen from 284 in 2005-6 to just 59 this year; an 80% decline over the past seven years. If trends continue, it is not an exaggeration to say that language assistants in schools could soon be a thing of the past.

This is an alarming drop for those of us who value the importance of language learning for the cultural and economic benefits it brings to pupils as individuals and to Scotland as a country.   And it is of major concern to British Council Scotland, in running programmes to promote cultural relations between Scotland and the rest of the world, where language provides a common platform for shared understanding and the exchange of knowledge, ideas and information.

The British Council believe there are many important reasons why Scotland should be encouraging more FLAs to come here:

  • Pupils’ chances of achieving ffluency in their chosen language increase under the guidance of a native speaker;
  • Speaking foreign languages shows our willingness to engage with the wider world, but it also has potentially huge economic benefits too;·
    Pupils benefit from engaging directly with someone from another culture;
  • Languauge teachers benefit from being able to refresh their language skills by conversing with a native speaker;
  • Employing a language assistant can greatly assist in helping to deliver the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence and the Scottish Government’s desire to see all pupils
    able to speak two languages plus their mother tongue;
  • Assistants can make a very valuable contribution beyond language departments in cross-curricular and interdisciplinary activities e.g Language Baccalaureate projects.
  • FLAs can help local authorities to consolidate existing international links or twinning arrangements, and support individual schools with international projects and
    school partnerships.
  • University languages departments tell us that the English Language Assistant (ELA) programme is crucial to their own ability to provide an international residency
    element to many courses, an element which counts towards the formal professional registration of our future language teachers.
  • There is a danger that other countries may decide not to take Scottish university students as language assistants in the future, if Scotland does not provide opportunities
    for foreign students to come here.
  • Typically, FLAs are employed by local authorities on a nine-month contract from September to May each year. Anecdotal evidence tells us that the decline in the number of FLAs
    has accelerated in recent years as national and local government budgets have been reduced. This is despite a recent reduction in the cost of hosting a language assistant, from £9,000 per school year to less than £8,000. Assistants can work in up to three schools and sharing an assistant with neighbouring schools means the cost per school works out at just over £2,600. A typical assistant works with around 200 pupils over the school year, a cost of only around £40 per learner per year, or around £1 per week.

Again, if I could have your views by Monday, 7 November, that would be great.

Thanks for taking the time to consider these issues and sharing your views with me.

Best wishes

Carol Snow
East Lothian Representative
National Parent Forum of Scotland

Commission on Rural Education

The Commission on Rural Education would like to invite you to respond to its Call for Evidence.

The Commission is tasked with examining how the delivery of rural education can maximise the attainment and life chances of young people in rural areas, and the link between rural education and rural communities.

The Commission will also review the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application and make recommendations on the delivery of all aspects of education in rural areas.


Scottish local authorities are responsible for managing and delivering education services in their communities in line with national strategy set out by the Scottish Government.  This has to be achieved in line with councils’ duties on the delivery of Best Value and in conjunction with delivery of other council functions, including the management of the councils’ school

The Schools (Consultation) Act 2010 came into force in spring 2010.  It introduced extensive changes to the procedures that local authorities follow when consulting on whether to close a school.  Included in the legislation are specific considerations for the treatment of proposals for rural school closures.

Since the end of 2010, concern has arisen regarding the operation of the Act.  Subsequently in June, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning wrote to all Scottish local authorities seeking an agreement to suspend rural school closure proposals, to allow an opportunity for consideration of whether changes are required to the legislation itself and its


The purpose of the Commission on Rural Education is to get to the heart of competing priorities that face national and local government in the delivery of education in rural Scotland.

The Commission on Rural Education is established jointly by the Scottish Government and COSLA. Their remit is to

    • To review the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application;
    • To examine how the delivery of rural education can maximize attainment and outcomes to give pupils the best life chances, and to examine, where appropriate, how this can be applied more widely;
    • To make recommendations on how to reflect best practice on the delivery of all aspects of education in rural areas (pre-school through to higher & further education);
    • To examine the links between rural education and the preservation, support and development of rural communities and to make recommendations on how these links might be strengthened if necessary; and
    • To examine and make recommendations on funding issues surrounding rural education.

Further information on their work can be found at:

The Call for Evidence

This Call for Evidence is intended to gather information to allow the Commission an opportunity to balance the interests of children, parents and communities and the overarching responsibilities of local government and Ministers.

The Commission would like to hear from individuals and organisations across Scotland who have views on the delivery of rural education.  The responses to this Call for Evidence will form an important part of the Commission’s considerations and inform its final recommendations.

Steps to completing the Call for Evidence questionnaire

  1. Please consider the attached questions.

These are not intended to be an exhaustive list of the issues and you are encouraged to provide comments on any other issue you feel may be relevant at the final question.

Call for Evidence questions_2
2.   It would help greatly if you could respond using the online  form.  This is available at  This should be a quick and easy way to provide responses and comments on their questions, and will allow your responses to be analysed easily and efficiently.

3.      However, please note that the online form must be completed in one session; does not offer a ‘Back’ button, and there is a maximum answer length for each question of 4000 characters – about one A4 page of text.  You can cut and paste text on to it.

4.   If the online form is unsuitable for you, or you cannot access it, an alternative Word version of the form is available on request from: or by telephoning 0131 244 0877.

5.      Or you may wish to write, in which case we would be  grateful if you could indicate clearly which section or question you are referring to.

Please ensure that The Commission receive your response by 12 January 2012, when the Call for Evidence will  close.

Yours faithfully,


David Sutherland
Chair, Commission on Rural Education

Commission on Rural
Education Secretariat
Area 2A
Victoria Quay

Further information

In considering the Call for Evidence you may find it helpful to have  further information on the following topics:

Update from National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)

This is an update from the National Parent Forum of Scotland

Autumn 2011

Please find below information which we hope you will find useful.  Our website includes details of the National Parent Forum are representatives and lists the national bodies on which we sit.  We are always delighted to hear from parents, so feel free to raise any issues or suggest ideas to us via

This update covers new information for parents on changing qualifications, next steps for Curriculum for Excellence in schools, as well as an important opportunity for parents of children with additional support for learning needs.

Our Successful Second National Parent Forum of Scotland Conference – 1 October 2011

Our second annual conference, ‘Curriculum for Excellence – One Year On’ in Bishopbriggs Academy  was attended by over 200 parent representatives.
The event provided parents with an opportunity to ask questions, share iideas and discuss their views on a range of issues. Angela Constance, MSP and Minister for Children and Young People, opened the event and took part in a question and answer session with parents. We offered workshops on teacher professional standards, Curriculum for Excellence in primary schools, sharing learning with parents, the new School Inspection framework, the Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence, the new National Qualifications and many more.
Feedback from parent attendees was brilliant: “It’s been great hearing about the good practice that is going on.  It also helps us to get used to the language of Curriculum for Excellence.  We’ve also picked up lots of really useful ideas for eencouraging parental involvement” (Marie McIntosh, Doune Primary School).  Jill Kent of Charleston Academy said: “The sessions have been fantastic.  The more I learn about Curriculum for Excellence, the better I feel about it”.

Prior to the start of the conference there was an online discussion.  This has now closed you might be interested to read some of the comments which are available as an archive.
Next Steps in Schools for Curriculum for Excellence (CfE)

Joanna Murphy, Our National Parent Forum rep on the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Management Board, wrote recently to all parent council chairs via their schools.  Joanna described the expectations of the CfE Management Board over the coming school year.  New Primary 7 profiles will be introduced from 2012.  These profiles, devised by schools and local authorities, will present a holistic record of a child’s achievements, in and outside school.  They will differ from a school report which focuses on learning and they will be useful in supporting transition to high school.

Parent councils of secondary schools can also expect to hear an update about your school’s plans for the Senior Phase (S4-S6) of Curriculum for Excellence.  For example, your head teacher will be considering  the shape of your school timetable,  curricular planning, pupil choice and personalisation etc.

New Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Information for Parents

‘The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has issued a new information leaflet for parents, ‘Qualifications are Changing’.  It can be found on, along with a range of materials to help parents get to grips with the new qualifications.  Secondary schools should now have paper copies of the draft specifications for National 4 and National 5 qualifications.
Technology for Additional Support Needs Parent Information Day 12 November 10am-2pm, Moray House, University of Edinburgh, Paterson’s Land,

CALL (Communications, Access, Literacy, Learning), based at the University of Edinburgh, supports young people with additional support needs in Scotland to engage with Curriculum for Excellence using appropriate assistive technologies and tools.

Parents/carers are invited to an Information Day on 12 November 10am-2pm to see different technologies in action.  This is a great opportunity to update
parents/carers on current technological support for children with learning difficulties , e.g. support for removing barriers to reading in exams are being rolled out in schools (Heather Voice and Stuart Voice). Please book online at  A charge of £10 is being made to cover the cost of materials and refreshments.   CALL also runs a Technology Family Fun Day in late March/early April for children and parents.
Skills Development Scotland launches new web service for young people

Skills Development Scotland provides career information, advice and guidance in a number of ways including in schools, online, face-to-face in more than 50 advice centres and by phone. A new web service which is designed to help people plan, build and direct their career throughout their lives was launched in August. ‘My World of Work’ features a careers A-Z, CV builder, course search, jobs search and hundreds of video clips of people talking about their jobs.
Useful Publications for Parents/Carers

In response to parental requests, the National Parent Forum asked for a new Curriculum for Excellence Factfile – Overview of Key Terms and Features.  This digest of CfE
terms is now available on

Updated material to support parent councils in their roles and organisation will shortly be available at

Other dates
The next meeting of the NPFS is 26 November 2011.
With best wishes

Carol Snow
East Lothian rep, National
Parent Forum of Scotland