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.
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!
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.
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?
The National CPD Team in partnership with colleagues from Peel Primary and Irvine Royal Academy led a “full house” session at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival on the real life world of Learning Rounds. Margaret Orr gave an overview of the principles and purpose of Learning Rounds but the key inputs came from Lorraine and Kenny at Peel Primary and Stirling from Irvine Royal Academy with their schools’ stories.
Their inputs which can be viewed on link were very positively received and prompted a question and answer session . It was clear that attendees valued the insight from colleagues who had “walked the talk”.
The video footage will also be featured on the Learning Rounds Community of Practice site which will be launched in the near future. If you are engaged in Learning Rounds or considering it for the future your involvement in the CoP would be very welcome.
On September 3rd this year, educators from schools, centres, local authorities, national organisations and colleges came together for this year’s SELMAS Leadership Conference. The theme was: “Curriculum for Excellence: thinking differently to achieve success”, and as ever the delegates came to be challenged, stimulated and entertained by a range of speakers and lots of discussion and shared activities.
We were delighted that the Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning started off our conference. The keynote address was given by Richard Jennings, newly appointed Head of education in East Lothian who lead a lively, interactive session on Community Vehicles, offering one strategy to get people thinking about core values and the moral purpose of their work.
Keen as ever to hear practitioner voices, we then heard from four colleagues who are leading innovation within their own workplace. Jim Scott the headteacher of Perth High School, Irene Whitford, a teacher from Kirkliston Primary School. Here is Irene giving us a great insight into the Learning Rounds Experience
Elaine McGuire the head of the Pre-5 Centre in Shortlees Primary School and Lena Gray, the head of Policy and New Products at SQA, each described an aspect of their current practice, and delegates were invited to offer questions and comments. You can link to and download the brochure which Lena mentioned here. You can see the impact of these brief presentations in the feedback given by delegates.
The afternoon began with a session led by Alison Drever of Learning and Teaching Scotland. The “Skunkworks” process, in essence, is about innovative answers to important questions. At the conference delegates were asked to step outside the realms of education to consider CfE from a different perspective. This culminated in a CfE think differently challenge which asked them to become the Google search engine and consider what the top hits might be if we typed ‘CfE, think differently’ into the search box.
The conference ended with a moving, challenging and thought-provoking presentation by Linda Borland, a Detective Inspector in the Violence Reduction unit, who told us David’s story. The conference were left with a clear understanding of the need to work differently, individually and collaboratively to offer better life chances to young people like David, and his son.
Feedback from delegates, who were asked to identify one insight, one idea, one intention or one piece of interesting practice relevant to the issues discussed at the conference can be viewed below.
The GTCS magazine has a great article about learning rounds in its latest edition. It includes a range of quotes from headteachers, local authority people and many others. For example, Gary Johnstone of North Ayrshire Council says that “Learning Rounds, importantly, exemplifies the power of learning together; within, across and beyond schools and with staff at all levels working alongside each other.” and Tom Hamilton of the GTCS adds “the SFR requires that registered teachers take responsibility for their professional learning and development through working collegially with fellow teachers on continuing professional development and it is really positive to have this aspect of professionalism so well exemplified through the Learning Rounds model.”
Graham Thomson and I were delighted to do a presentation and lead a discussion on this theme at the recent Practitioner Research event at St Georges in Edinburgh. Linda Blencowe who is the Research and Development Fellow at the school arranges these early evening events on a regular basis, and it was good to see so many colleagues coming along after school to talk about learning and teaching. You can contact Linda at email@example.com to find out more about this excellent example of teachers teaching teachers.
The photo shows Graham and I with the headmistress Helen Mackie.
Colleagues from 6 local authorities attended what turned out to be a very successful and engaging day on the 4 June . The theme was Leadership for Learning with a particular emphasis on the Learning Rounds process which is premised on a collaborative observation approach with non-evaluative feedback aimed at influencing systemic change within a school or authority. Sheila Smith and Margaret Orr shared their experiences in Angus and North Ayrshire where there has been significant engagement in the process with colleagues in the secondary sector across a number of schools. Feedback from everyone involved has been very positive. Margaret Alcorn outlined the work in progress with a number of director colleagues and the anticipated involvement of participants in the Flexi Routes for Headship initiative.
The mental and physical agility of colleagues was also tested by exercises posed by Graham Thomson of SCSSA , a long standing friend of the CPD Team and a key player in the Learning Rounds journey. Everyone rose to the challenge – for those who were there on the 4th , this was a real experience as they followed colleagues’ instructions or advice on how to get off the floor !
SCSSA and the CPD team are finalising materials which will support the Learning Rounds process and these will be accessible on line – further details to follow. Any member of the team would be happy also to respond to any enquiries.