Barrington Stoke

To celebrate the publisher’s 10th birthday, Barrington Stoke’s Primary Titles pack of 12 books is now half price at £25 and the downloads to accompany it are now £20 + VAT. The gr8reads download is now £30 + VAT.

Many schools in East Lothian use these books, written by established authors on dyslexia friendly paper and in accessible formats,  for their more reluctant readers successfully.

 Novels and non-fiction books with a reading age of 6 and 6.5 will be published soon under the ‘Solo’ banner. Many BS titles are consistent with the Accelerated Reader resource.

Should we shed any tears as Standard Grades are abolished?

The Herald Society reports on the National Qualifications review announced last week by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop, and gets views from EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith, Brian Boyd, Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde, Howard McKenzie, Acting Chief Executive of the Association of Scotland’s Colleges, Michael McGrath of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, Bill McGregor, general secretary of the Headteachers’ Association of Scotland, Jim Docherty, deputy general secretary, Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and Judith Gillespie of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council.

Why US is in awe of our get up and Glow

Eleanor Carnell and Hilery Williams are Glow Mentors in East Lothian and would be delighted to talk to people about this exciting development that will alter the way we teach and learn across Scotland.

Milton Chen, Fulbright Scholar and executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation visits Scotland recently

His role in the foundation set up by Star Wars film-maker Lucas is to look at innovation in US schools and colleges, but also to look further afield. What brings him to Scotland is admiration for the landmark scheme currently being established throughout the country as schools link up to a digital network now known as Glow.

In terms of rapid educational reform, the foundation hasn’t seen much like it – and the not-for-profit organisation recognised the achievement by naming Laurie O’Donnell, director of learning and technology at Learning and Teaching Scotland, as one of its elite “global six” educational pioneers last month.

Chen can barely contain his envy at the ambition shown in Scotland. “You have a different way of looking at education policy – and, in particular, a willingness to invest. In the US we often look as investments as too expensive.” A national schools intranet makes perfect sense, he says. In fact, anything else is crazy. “If you were operating an organisation of 100 different offices around the country, you wouldn’t allow each to make its own decision about what hardware and software they use.”

Survey finds 1 in 4 teenagers depressed

The Guardian reports that a mental health crisis in Britain’s secondary schools was revealed in a survey showing a quarter of young teenagers are frequently depressed.

The Children’s Society charity, which carried out the poll, said young people were being ground down by multiple pressures at home and school.

Its inquiry into what it feels like to be a child at the start of the 21st century found most young people want to be free from worry. But many said they were subjected to academic stress at school, peer group pressure from classmates and high expectations within the family. Bullying and an inferiority complex about the way they look were also cited as problems among children contacted by the inquiry. The charity questioned a representative sample of 8,000 children aged 14-16, and found 27% agreed with the statement: “I often feel depressed.”

en ICT, libraries

Focus on literacy and numeracy

The Scottish Government has announced that pupils will have the opportunity to take literacy and numeracy exams under the next generation of qualifications following a review of the national qualifications system.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the review aimed at bringing exams into line with the Scotland’s new approach to learning and teaching, Curriculum for Excellence.

She said that current arrangements continue to work well for many young people but the system needs to be updated to meet the needs of the 21st Century.

New arrangements will:

·       Place a strong focus on literacy and numeracy skills

·       Reduce the current complexity of the system with Standard Grades and Intermediates being replaced by a new general qualification

·       Retain Highers which remain the ‘gold standard’ in Scotland’s education system and retain Access and Advanced Higher qualifications.

National Qualifications Online

NQ Online has a collection of resources and web links to help teachers, students and parents prepare for exams.  These include:

·       Sunday Herald Exam Guide (Spring 2008)

·       Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) 2008 Exam timetable

·       SQA past paper service

·       collection of interactive materials to help students to become effective learners and manage their own learning. This resource focuses on important exam issues such as essay writing and memory skills.

“Top marks for primary pupils who speak nothing but French”

This article describes the recent report on the successful five year project at Walker Street Primary School in Aberdeen. 

As a former teacher of German and French now supporting EAL pupils I am convinced that learning through complete or partial immersion might halt the decline in the uptake of modern languages in our schools. 

It is interesting also the effect on pupils’ self esteem and competence in English which also resulted from acquiring a new language in the natural way.

Janet Storey

Travellers on different roads
TESS reports that roving workshops are showing schoolchildren there are more similarities than differences between them and Gypsy Travellers.

‘Gathered in a circle around an open box, one by one the children pull out an object: a horse, a caravan, a power tool. Then the class discussion begins. What relevance could these objects have?

The object box is one of the tools used by a group of Gypsy Traveller children who, with the help of Save the Children, are running workshops in Scottish schools in order to raise awareness of their culture and, ultimately, reduce discrimination and bullying.

The idea came about following a peer research project conducted by Save the Children. Of the young Gypsy Travellers who took part, 91 per cent reported they had experienced discrimination. It was clear that they wanted to try and change this, to educate other children and to challenge these prejudices.’

Chartered Teacher success!!!

Another member of the Outreach team, Janet Storey, has gained Chartered Teacher status recently.

Preparing the submission for recognition is an enormous amount of work. There is a 10,000 word reflection paper, accompanied by a portfolio demonstrating the action the teacher has taken to achieve the standard.

There are 4 key components to achieving the standard:

Professional values and personal commitment;

Professional knowledge and understanding;

Professional and personal attributes;

Professional action.

The basic assumption is that the Chartered Teacher is characterised by 4 professional values and personal commitments:

1. effectiveness in promoting learning in the classroom.

2. critical self-evaluation and development.

3. collaboration and influence.

4. educational and social values.

 Many congratulations to Janet.

Childhood – growing up or just made up?

Here is a fascinating paper exploring current debates about what ‘childhood’ means, demonstrating how it is imagined differently in a range of texts and media. The paper aims to help teachers identify the ways in which children come to perceive themselves, and the ways in which society perceives and treats children.

Ben Willamson, the author, introduces theories of childhood and emerging ideas about children’s rights. He then examines the role of the media in the production of ideas about childhood which influence children themselves as well as the wider community.

Finally, he focuses on the ideas about childhood seen in emerging (English) educational policy documents.

A very interesting (and short) read! I recommend it.