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CPD Team

All posts in the ‘Learning rounds’ Category

Learning Rounds report

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The Learning Rounds report provides a comprehensive overview of the range of engagement which the CPD Team, Education Scotland has enjoyed with establishments, schools and local authorities. The team is very appreciative of the opportunities to colloborate with colleagues as the model has evolved across a range of settings.

We are also very aware that Learning Rounds is featuring in self evaluation and professional development activities across the country and would be delighted if other experiences could be shared on the Learning Rounds Community on Glow. If you want to join this community, contact Ruth Johnston on

Inter-agency Learning Rounds in action

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Following on from the seminar on the potential of the Learning Rounds in an inter-agency context the team has been engaging with Kersland School in Renfrewshire and Barshare Primary school in East Ayrshire to explore the potential of the model. Kersland is an all through  special school which caters for children  and young people with complex  additional support needs and Barshare Primary has three integrated additional support needs classes. In each situation there is involvement from a range of agencies . In Kersland the Learning Round focus is on the delivery of the school policy on communication and in Barshare on practice in support of inclusion. In both schools the LR observation teams include teachers, support staff, educational psychologists and speech and language therapists.

Initial feedback from colleagues is very positive in terms both of individual CPD and the potential for enhancing collegiate understanding and response to shared “next steps”. The initiatives in both schools will continue for the remainder of the session and the National CPD team will publish a final report on the Learning Rounds on line community on GLOW.

Learning Rounds in Aberdeenshire

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On April 26th I travelled north with Janice MacInnes, Quality Improvement Officer in Edinburgh, and Lynn Paterson, headteacher of Kirkliston Primary School. Our mission was to describe the ways in which teachers in Edinburgh were learning together through Learning Rounds. I did a brief presentation on “What is Learning Rounds?” and “Why is it worth considering?” and Janice described the ways in which Edinburgh were taking this forward  through the establishment of a LR strategy group. Lynn told delegates of the impact that engagement with LRs was having on her school, the staff and the pupils.

My presentation is below for those who are interested:

How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better

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You may – like me – have good and positive memories of the 2007 McKinsey report into the best performing school systems, which offered a very simple solution to school improvement, “It’s the teacher stupid.” The authors reached the conclusion that “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers”, and this acknowledgement of the central importance of professional learning and teacher development for school improvement has since been further explored in “Teaching Scotland’s Future”.

McKinsey et al have now produced a second report which looks at how systems continue and sustain improvement, regardless of their starting point. It considers the need to contextualise the practice of other countries to take account of local circumstances, and the need to select interventions based on where the system currently is located. It describes some of the “sources of ignition” that are present in every sustained improvement. There is an interesting section which explores the implications of Michael Fullan’s findings around “Collective Capacity” which “enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things” by developing a better understanding of effective practice, but even more powerfully by working together to generate commitment. “Moral purpose, when it stares you in the face through students and your peers working together to make lives and society better, is palpable, indeed virtually irresistible. The collective motivational well seems bottomless. The speed of effective change increases exponentially“. These findings are particularly interesting to the CPD Team in regard to the continuing and developing interest in Learning Rounds across Scotland.

Check out the full report here

Learning Rounds : The story grows . . . .

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The interest in Learning Rounds as a tool to bring educators from many different contexts together to talk about learning and teaching continues to grow. In recent months we have seen the beginnings of Learning Rounds being used to support inter-agency collaborative working, and a number of university staff in initial teacher education schools have expressed interest not only in how it might support student teachers, but also in how it might offer a strategy to build “strong and meaningful” partnerships between universities and schools as we begin to consider the implications of “Teaching Scotland’s Future”.

There is also increased interest in the model from school leaders who see it, not only as a significant opportunity for individual professional learning, but also as a powerful way to build collegiality and shared practice within and across school communities.

We have been asked to put up once more the complete and revised Toolkit, and you will find this below. There is also a lot more information about Learning Rounds earlier in this blog – just click on the link in the panel on the left.

If you are using the model, or have found the resources useful, the team (National CPD Team and SCSSA) would really like to hear from you. If you need any further help or information, please also get in touch.

Learning Rounds in an inter-agency context

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In partnership with MCMC, the National CPD Team led a national workshop on 19 January to explore the potential of the Learning Rounds approach in the context of multi-agency, collaborative professional development.

The workshop was attended by over 30 colleagues from education , psychological services , social work services , Scotland’s colleges and the independent and voluntary sector. The team is compiling a report which will be circulated to all interested parties . Initial feedback indicates that there is an appetite for the approach as it provides a structure which is inclusive and has immediate relevance to the professional learning  of colleagues who have shared statutory and policy responsibilities for ASL, GIRFEC and MCMC .

The team is working with two local authorities to explore the delivery and impact of the approach and we will keep you informed of progress!

CPDNews – Jan 2011

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Welcome to the January 2011 CPDNews from the National CPD Team

   Teaching Scotland’s Future  

The Donaldson Review of Teacher Education

We are delighted to welcome this excellent, comprehensive report which offers fifty recommendations intended to develop the capacity of all teachers to deliver better learning outcomes for children and young people. Many of these recommendations, which address all aspects of CPD and leadership development, and which we have summarised here, are very relevant to the work of the team and the Network. Graham Donaldson offers the following key points on the review’s home page:

  • The highest priority must be given, at all levels, to strengthening both teacher quality and leadership in Scotland’s schools.
  • Selection for initial teacher education should be thorough, broad and rigorous and carried out in assessment centres.
  • A minimum level for literacy and numeracy should be agreed and tested at entry to teacher education courses; and student teachers should be expected subsequently to develop their skills to a high level.
  • All teachers should be skilled in supporting the development of literacy and numeracy skills in their pupils and in overcoming barriers to learning such as dyslexia.
  • The BEd degree should be replaced by degrees that combine academic study beyond education with professional studies.
  • Teacher education should be seen as a career-long process, with much closer working amongst schools, universities, local authorities and national organisations.
  • The professional development of experienced teachers should be guided by a new set of standards developed by GTCS.
  • Further high-quality, part-time routes to teaching should be developed.
  • A greater range of teachers’ professional development should be accredited with Master’s-level credits built into ITE qualifications and a Master’s account opened for each teacher.
  • More rigorous procedures should be established to assure the quality at all stages of teacher education.
  • Leadership skills should be developed right from the start of a teacher’s career and better pathways created towards headship.


The recommendations offer a clear agenda for future action for all of us who have a professional interest in teacher development, and we look forward to beginning the discussion on this together at the next Network meeting.

To support the work of the Teaching Scotland’s Future review team, HMIE were asked to produce an analysis of all aspects of CPD. They scrutinised documentation, and interviewed Continuous Professional Development (CPD) coordinators, probationer teachers and teachers in their second year of teaching. You can read their report here.




As you know, this new organisation will initially bring together HMIE, LTS  and some parts of the Scottish Government.  It will aim to improve the efficiency of all the national bodies supporting education, and so it seems evident that it will offer a logical place to drive forward the work of the CPD Team and to ensure a coherent response to the challenges in the Donaldson Review.

We have had some early discussions as to how this might work, and there are lots of exciting opportunities emerging from these discussions. We will be sure to keep colleagues informed as the way ahead becomes clearer.

  PRD News 


Professional Review and Development
The online ‘Survey Monkey’ questionnaire on colleagues’ experiences of PRD has now been completed by well over 1300 schools staff representing 10 authorities. The surveys from 8 of these have been anaylsed in detail and an overview of the results is included in the Phase 1 Report of the PRD initiative can be found in the i-share area of the  PRDShare online community 
You will notice that the reported levels of satisfaction with the PRD process in our survey are much higher than as reported in Teaching Scotland’s Future. We are fairly sure that this is because those who have shown their interest and commitment to PRD by responding to our questionnaire, though giving valuable insights into their experience of PRD, are not a typical cross section. The finding in the review of teacher education that fewer than 50% of teachers regard the arrangements for PRD as ‘effective’ (42%) or ‘Very effective’ (10%) in identifying priorities for CPD, is almost certainly a more reliable statistic. Hence the importance of working together to make this process more meaningful for all.

The team has now begun a series of meetings with the authorities involved to discuss next steps. By asking authorities to focus their efforts on a particular, manageable, aspect of PRD, we hope to be able to collate and share insights and gain a deeper understanding of what we need to do to make PRD a valuable experience for all school staff.

We are building up a PRD Bank of Wisdom; illustrative examples of interesting goings on in PRD. Please get in touch if you have anything to share – we’d love to hear from you!


The Network Leadership Advisory Group is scheduled to meet again to consider a Framework for Educational Leaders which is referred to in the Commentary from ‘CPD Educational Leadership Survey’ (2010). This framework is a redraft of ‘CPD for Educational Leaders’ (2003) and focuses on a continuum of professional development from early leadership onwards. Included as important features of the framework are the professional actions of leaders and the essential elements of vision, values & aims, knowledge and interpersonal skills. Over the next few weeks we will be seeking the views of a number of focus groups and will be in position to report on progress at the CPD Managers Network meeting in March.


The team is continuing its engagement with two local authorities to explore the nature of distributed leadership in specialist settings. The approach will be offered as a CPD opportunity in CPD Find.



 We are currently planning the next cohort for FRH with coach role training at end of March and full engagement at end May with participants as aspiring headteachers. 13 local authorities are engaged with the current cohort 2010-12. Recently we have collated evidence to show the success of the programme which includes FRH graduates now in post as headteacher and we will be sharing this information with authorities across Scotland. Of interest is evidence of the building of coaching capacity within authorities engaged in FRH. Also of interest is the reference in the Donaldson Report to further development of flexible routes to headship.


The CPD Team is already addressing another theme referred to in Donaldson, that of providing CPD opportunities for headteachers from the middle years of headship onwards. We expect to run with a pilot programme beginning Feb/March. The principles of this model of CPD are based on those of FRH and include critical self evaluation against the Standard for Headship, professional learning planning, coaching and impact on learing at both personal and school level. For further details contact�


The team  is now considering with one local authority evidence of impact in relation to pupil gain following Learning Rounds Activity. Any consideration of this theme by other authorities whose schools are engaging in Learning Rounds would be very welcome. Please contact margareto

We are also exploring the potential of the model as a collaborative CPD activity with partner agencies – particularly in light of shared responsibilities in relation to ASL and GIRFEC. A seminar on 19 January attended by colleagues from education, social work services,  Scotland’s Colleges , specialist services , psychological services, EIS, Scottish Government and the independent sector considered the opportunities and challenges which a multi – agency Learning Round presents.

The day was very positively received and a seminar report will be disseminated to all interested parties. Again if you would like a copy of the report please contact The team will be piloting the approach with a local authority over the next few months. Again the outcomes will be shared with network colleagues.

   The New Look CPDCentral is here!  

Only one week into the new-look CPDCentral and we’re getting busy already. Find out more on the blog post “What is CPDCentral?”

To find out if you are already a member of CPDCentral, have a look at the list of colleagues here. If your face doesn’t appear, then follow this link

   Recently in CPDCentral  
 • the new-look went live and we got lots of new members
 • Louise Jones led CPDMeet18 on E-safety. You can still enrol for the archived version
 • the Donaldson Review is published and among 50 recommendations is this;

“Recommendation 40Online CPD should be part of the blended, tailored approach to CPD for all teachers”

   Coming up on CPDCentral   


 • look for more colleagues joining as the real publicity starts this weekend

 • CPDMeet20 on Thursday 27th January at 4pm. Graeme Logan from the Donaldson Review team is going to lead a discussion on the findings. Sign up here.

 • Cabinet Secretary, Mike Russell, is hosting a discussion online on the CPD needs of colleagues not fully employed, Wed 26th at 5.30pm. More on CPDFind and /or sign-up here

 • work begins on the affiliation programme for CPDCentral. This will let you host your own CPD communities / opportunities but take advantage of the CPDCentral collegiate features

   Changes to CPDFind   


The national database of CPD, CPDFind is also changing. Graham Wilson and his gang of gurus at LTScotland are busy working on a version of CPDFind which will better reflect the way educators in Scotland access CPD. The deadline for these changes is end of March 2011. Here are a summary of the changes:

 • local authority CPD managers will be able to publish opportunities only to their own colleagues

 • local authority CPD managers will be able to identify and approve their own local CPD sources / providers

 • establishment CPD coordinators will be able to do the same at establishment level

 • simplified publishing of CPD opportunities

 • the endorsement system currently operating will become an impact evaluation system with the option to endorse. Yes, you read that correctly!

More about the changes in the blog post CPDFind is changing

Thank you 

Margaret Alcorn
National CPD coordinator

Learning Rounds: part 2

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Learning Rounds Part 2 consists of the powerpoint presentation you will need when briefing, sharing or training colleagues in the Learning Rounds programme.

International Thought Leaders 2005 – 2008

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In 2005 – 2008 the Scottish Executive funded a programme designed to give Scottish Teachers access to the best educational thinkers from across the world. Many current areas of work for the CPD team can be traced back to these visits. The focus on coaching as a powerful tool to support leadership development, the Learning Rounds programme, the 4-stage model, the Summer Schools on School Leadership, etc all came from the stimulus offered by the visitors and by the international study trips to Harvard Summer Schools organised for a range of system leaders.

The following report was written by the CPD Team in 2008.

Learning Rounds Report : October 2010

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It feels like a very long time since about a hundred of us gathered in Hampden in March 2007 to hear Professor Richard Elmore describe the work he was doing in the Boston area with a school development programme he called “Medical Rounds“. He spoke about the success of this work in making transformational and sustained improvement in the learning of children and young people. At its heart was “the instructional core” and a strong focus on three key questions:

  • What do children need to know and be able to do?
  • What do teachers need to know and be able to to do?
  • How do children access their learning?

Those of you who were at this famous meeting, may remember a strong buzz in the room, as much of what Elmore said seemed to be applicable to our own Scottish system. And so Learning Rounds was born and the rest is history!

The attached report tells the story of this initiative and describes the methodology and actions taken by the Learning Rounds team since 2007. We’d love to hear from you if you have a Learning Rounds story to tell, an observation to make, an insight to share. Better still, why not join the Learning Rounds Glow Group and share your experiences on-line?

Learning Rounds Report