Google Docs for isolated learners

Recently at a CPD session at Knox Academy several teachers practiced using Google Apps together.

One application which is useful in supporting a pupil who cannot be in class, perhaps due to illness, is to paste and send them a Past Paper or other document which they can work on at home. The teacher can type on comments as the pupil is working rather than sending it back and forth as you would with email.

A way for a pupil to keep in touch with peers, is to work from home on a document while classmates type from school. A group can participate together on a Powerpoint or other document from various computers in various locations simultaneously.

One Guidance teacher was eager to put her learning into practice in support of a young man in his final year of school who is undergoing lengthy medical treatments. He can now communicate with classmates and teachers from hospital or home from a lap top and can progress in subjects with a better chance of achieving his potential.

The scope for creating learning opportunities is exciting.

To learn more look at Youtube Googledocs in plain english

Under-5s with mental health issues slipping through the net

Disturbing evidence that under-5s are not being monitored for mental well-being by statutory services has been highlighted by the Health and Sport Committee in its report published today. The committee’s inquiry into child and adolescent mental health and well-being evaluated mental-health services for these groups in Scotland. The committee was very concerned about the extent of problems provoked by recent changes to the health-visiting profession. For more information see the news release

Relationships and Participation with Pupils and Parents

I listened to Charles Leadbeater at the Scottish Learning Festival and was excited by his notions of :”Learning with rather than teaching to pupils ;the learner as participant not an empty vessel; and community being crucial to the learning process”

I reflected on my work with a P.1 pupil who had cognitive difficulties. Her barriers to learning were compounded by social and emotional deprivation and her family had difficulty in providing an environment to offset some of the disadvantages she was born with.

Unfortunately working and learning with parents is time consuming and costly. Leadbeater says that we may have exhausted other avenues for further development in education except in “Personalisation and collaboration.” A redistribution of resourcing and flexibility of provision might reach pupils currently missed.

TESS (3/10/08), reporting on several speakers at the Learning Festival says the emphasis needs to be on “Relationships”.

Martin Rouse called on schools to focus on “relationships,respect and recognition”  while Professor Teese said that Scotland should be strengthening relationships within its schools.


Access to exams for all

For pupils absent due to illness in the weeks during exam preparation,
appeals and additional support procedures can be put in place in collaboration with Support for Learning Departments.

In 2007, for the first time, according to Chief Nurse, Janice McKenzie, at the Sick KIds in Edinburgh, in-patients were able to sit Standard Grades in English and Maths.

A pupil from Fife had her papers locked in the ward safe under great secrecy and security; while Chris Rainger, Support for Learning at Knox arranged to have the East Lothian pupil’s papers sent directly to my home address.

The designated exam area was in a room beside the phlebotomists’ tearoom, at the back of the haematology labs off Rillbank Terrace.

The ward play specialist wheeled the pupils through the Victorian building out of the back door and along the street. I invigilated, provided IT support and tried to keep the girls comfortable with cups of tea and hot water bottles as the temperature dropped.

Anxious to follow the SQA guidelines accurately, I packed up and posted off the papers at the end of each day.

Both pupils finished the papers exhausted but happy to have experienced this high point in their education.

Hannah’s mum said that, like any 15 year old, Hannah wanted to be able to share the experience with her peers.
She was able to discuss papers with friends on her return home and Hannah
went on to complete 6 more exams on day trips from hospital to school where special arrangements had been made . Her results were excellent.

With a ‘can do’ attitude and collaboration, inclusion can limit the disadvantages for pupils with medical conditions.

Additional Support For Learning Health website

NHS ASL site screenI was at a Support For Learning teachers meeting yesterday for teachers in the Haddington and Tranent clusters (5/12) where Lesley Sargent, Speech Therapist gave a demonstration of the Health ASL website. Everyone there was very impressed with the amount of high quality, useful information it has on it. Many thanks to the team who put it together and to Lesley for an excellent demo.
The site has information about specific conditions, contact details for the various services and lots of tips for teachers. Well worth looking at if you haven’t already done so. You will find it at .
Also, something to look out for, on this site in the very near future, Jill Gorzkowska, the NHS ASL Therapy link person will be providing updates on joint working projects in East Lothian.

Liz Herd, Inclusion and Equality Officer