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Update from the National Parent Forum of Scotland

Please see below an update from Carol Snow who is the East Lothian Rep. of the National Parent Forum of Scotland;-

Dear parent councils, parents/carers

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.

·         Building the National Parent Forum of Scotland Database

We are compiling a national database of parent contacts and parent council chairs, solely for the use of the National Parent Forum of Scotland on matters relating to parental involvement in education.  If you would like to be included in this, please email

            Opportunity to speak to Angela Constance, the Minister for Children and Young People

The Minister for Children and Young People, Angela Constance, who gave the keynote speech at our conference (see below) is keen to speak to a different parent council chair each week on the telephone.  If a parent council chair would like to take up this opportunity, please email me at giving your name, your parent council, and your phone number.  Your number will not be used for any other purpose.  Please contact me by Tuesday, 25 October.

·         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 ideas 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 encouraging 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, Edinburgh

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

New National Qualifications – Support and information for Parents

New National Qualifications – Support and information for Parents

Update from the Scottish Qualifications Authority

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has a number of resources for parents to help you understand the changes to Scotland’s qualifications.

The parent and carer section of our websiteexplains how and why Scottish qualifications are changing and what the changes mean for young people and their families.

Our new video introduction explains the changes and outlines the information available on our website.

Our Mythbustervideos answer common questions about the new qualifications to help parents understand what’s happening – these new clips are now available.  We also have videos explaining our development process and the groups working with us to develop the new qualifications.

We have a leafletespecially for parents and carers which can also be downloaded from our website or is available from schools.

We’re publishing draft documents on our website between now and April 2012 which show each stage of our thinking and plans.  We are looking for feedbackat each stage of the development.

On 31 August 2011 we published Unit Specifications for National 4 and National 5, Course Rationales and Summaries for Access 2, Course Rationales and Summaries for Access 3, and Course Specifications for Higher.

The documents are quite technical and are aimed at teachers and education specialists but are also available for parents to comment on.

Comments on these documents can be made by 31 October 2011 using our website’s Have Your Say facility.  A summary of feedback we have received so far is also on our website.

Keep visiting all you need to know about the new qualifications.  Sign up for MyAlertsto receive e-mail updates.

School Handbook Consultation

 The Scottish Government are now looking at how they can best reflect the findings in legislation and improve the information that parents receive from schools. More information to Parent Councils, Local Authorities and schools will follow as this work progresses.

and the full report on the analysis of the written consultation at:





 For Parent Information




As part of the reform of the planning system in Scotland, planning authorities are being urged to engage with all groups at the earliest opportunity in the preparation of the development plans for their areas. This communication is to raise your awareness of our intentions to start shortly on the preparation of the East Lothian Local Development Plan,


ELLDPone. This will be a new land-use plan that will eventually replace the existing East Lothian Local Plan 2008. Further details of the plan, how and when it will be prepared and how you will be able to get involved are included in the attached paper.


The main focus of our consultation will be later this year. At this stage we are simply letting you know of our intentions. However, we are quite happy for you to draw to our attention now any planning issues that you think need to be addressed in the new plan, including what aspirations you might have for the way the area might develop over the next ten years or so.


The attached paper gives details of contact addresses where you can submit comments or find out about progress on the East Lothian Local Development Plan.




awareness leaflet v0.4 1.7.11

The Playground Equipment has arrived!

West Barns Parent Council are delighted that the playground equipment was installed over the summer holidays.  From the first day of term the children will benefit from the tremendous trim trail and the superb storytelling area.  Both will be a huge asset to the school and the pupils of West Barns.  The Parent Council will continue to fundraise to further improve the playground area, but in the meantime a huge thank you for all your support.


A special note of thanks to the Big Lottery FundScotplay, Fiona  and Helen  for making it happen!





Dunbar Primary School Parent Council Sci-Fest Invite

Dunbar Primary School  Parent Council invite you and your school’s parents to a social evening at the Rocks Hotel.

Wednesday 18th May  7.30pm

A celebration of the 2011 SciFest and welcoming your involvement for 2012

Following the wonderful success of Dunbar Parent Council Science Festival, we would like to invite all interested parties from our cluster schools’ to join us for an evening of drinks and hospitality at the Rocks Hotel.  Ideally this would include your Parent Council chair person as well as others from your Parent Forum who have something to offer.  We know there are many parents in our community with a wide range of experience they could bring to make next year’s event just as successful but bigger!

We were so delighted with the response of the whole community that we have already started making plans for the 2012 event.  There are lots of exciting opportunities and we want to welcome parents from the cluster to join us with the development of the 2012 event.

Science Club

We would also like to start a monthly science club in Dunbar and will be looking for helpers to set this up.  Obviously we will need people with skills other than a science base; e.g. administrative, manpower for the running of the club, etc.  If you know of anyone who may like to be involved in any way do contact us.

if you haven’t yet looked at our web-site, find out more about Scifest activities and plans at

Annie Beatty (Dunbar Primary PC Chair)                                      April 2011