The Scottish Learning Festival is upon us once more, with 4,500 delegates expected in Glasgow today and tomorrow. A huge range of seminars will cover every conceivable aspect of education, while headline speakers include John Swinney, Professor Jo Boaler and Louise Macdonald.
We’ll be live blogging throughout the two days, so keep checking in for news, views and the best of social media – remember to use the hashtag #SLF18.
Until the next time
That's us signing off, after a hectic but often inspiring couple of days. We'll let Johnny sing us farewell and leave you with the parting thought below, which pithily captures a message that came through time and again.
See you next time, everyone.
National tests 'not about big data for government'
You'd like one last news story from #SLF18? Oh, go on then, you've twisted our arm - here you are.
Imagine you're the one of the key people charged with delivering controversial national assessments. Less than a day previously, amid ill-tempered scenes, MSPs vote in favour of doing away with the assessments.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to talk up the assessments that have been given a round kicking by politicians and campaigners in recent months, reaching a climax yesterday in Edinburgh.
Why do more children want to be celebrities than scientists?
“Science” languishes with “hair and beauty” and “trade” at the bottom of the pile of jobs that pupils aspire to. Being a celebrity and chasing their champagne lifestyle is rated far more highly than a science career – it comes fifth in the list of 13 potential careers Professor Louise Archer and her team asked pupils aged 10 to 18 about. Science comes 11th – although, interestingly, teaching comes third.
For over a decade Professor Archer, director of the ASPIRES 2 project at University College London, who was addressing the SLF this afternoon, has been studying young people's career aspirations. She has found that students with "low science capital" – those who do not have science-related qualifications, understanding, knowledge, interest and social contacts – are unlikely to see science as being for them.
The bad news is only 5 per cent of 11-15 year olds have high science capital. The good news is it can be acquired.
ASPIRES 2 has created teaching materials which have been trialled in 25 secondaries and in those schools science capital significantly increased, as did aspirations to study science.
Unfortunately, though, there was no change in the proportion of students who thought they might ultimately want a career in science. This was bad news for Archer – but maybe not for producers of reality TV.
Nearly over for another year
Lots of people heading home now, with swag bags over their shoulders like Dick Whittington setting off on a gap year. Safe journey home, everyone.
'Science is scary' - says scientist
No one is ever confident talking about science – even Jamie Gallagher who is a scientist, has a degree in chemistry and physics and a PhD in chemistry and electrical engineering.
That was Dr Gallagher’s message – or his confession – to the teachers gathered for the final keynote address at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow: he still finds talking about science scary because no one knows it all.
“No scientist knows it all no matter how many years they have been practising or learning for. They know something and they are maybe able to grapple with difficult concepts more easily but I don’t think anyone is supremely confident,” he said.
There was he said no time when a teacher could expect to emerge ready – a qualified science expert in every field. They just had to “explore together” with their pupils and “ask questions”, tap into experts and discover their confidence.
It's science, Jim, but not as we know it
How to ensure audience participation
You're not allowed to lurk quietly in the audience at conferences these days, it seems.
Science and salsa
Live right now with the final keynote is Jamie Gallagher, a scientist, science communicator and... salsa teacher? If that intrigues you like it does us, you can watch here right now (or catch up later).
We're now joined by @JamieBGall scientist, science communicator AND salsa teacher. Jamie is exploring how STEM subjects can be memorable, exciting and accessible for all #SLF18. Watch live at https://t.co/a770TDozJN pic.twitter.com/vW41TGH9sl— Education Scotland (@EducationScot) September 20, 2018
Scientists of the future?
Great to see such enthusiasm for our #stem task at #SLF18 Our pupils have displayed excellent presentation skills and superb scientific knowledge. #STEMLive18 @SSERCprimary @stemeastltd @STEM_Edin @Stemettes #girlsinstem @ASPIRES2science pic.twitter.com/mwuH5AG0j6— St. Joseph’s RC PS (@stjosephsedin) September 20, 2018
Closing the gap in Gaelic education
Did you head along to today's session on "early gains in reducing the attainment gap in Gaelic-medium education. If so, you may well be interested in this piece we've dug out from last month.
How healthy is school food?
Pupils taking centre stage
Lots of praise for the many pupils presenting on myriad subjects at the Scottish Learning Festival (and those just having a good root around the place).
Powerful workshop - conversations and experiences from confident young people across @NAllianceScot on importance of #inclusion #lgbti+ #UNCRC #education So important to have pupil led workshops! #VoicesFromTheNorth #SLF18 pic.twitter.com/GdMHFWichP— Gerry McMurtrie (@gerrymcmurtrie) September 20, 2018
Education dominates at Holyrood
Not to be outdone by the learning festival in Glasgow, Edinburgh (in the form of the Scottish Parliament) has decided over the last couple of days that education should be front and centre. At lunchtime today, first minister Nicola Sturgeon was grilled over reduced secondary subject choices and – a hot topic at the learning festival yesterday – P1 standardised national assessments.
New professional learning model for Scotland
Education Scotland today launched a new model of professional learning at the Scottish Learning Festival. Chief executive Gayle Gorman said it would "support Scotland's teachers by building upon previous guidance and identifying the key principles and features of effective learning that will build capacity and promote collaborative practices".
Why do so many more children want to be a celebrity than a scientist?
Whatever happened to Oor Wullie?
Barbie as you've never seen her before
Coming, colours in the air - Oh, everywhere
It's nothing if not colourful at the Scottish Learning Festival. (By the way, can you name the tune from the lyrics in the headline?)
New 'Stem mentors' programme for Scotland
Pupils will have the opportunity to become "Stem mentors" as part of a new programme to help inspire their younger peers to study the subjects, Richard Lochhead announced at the learning festival this morning.
The science, FE and HE minister said the Young Stem Leaders Programme would be run by the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre, along with with science centres, science festivals and youth organisations.
The hummingbird is no more
A question on hummingbirds garnered plenty of attention earlier this year when it emerged that five-year-olds were being asked to provide a synonym for beak (from a list of multiple options) in the Scottish National Standardised Assessments.
David Leng, the former education director whose role is to represent users' views on the SNSAs, said this morning – with a wry smile – at the Scottish Learning Festival that teachers would be pleased to hear that the hummingbird question does not exist in year two of the national assessments.
Is it just me, or are learning festival speakers getting younger?
There have been some great presentations from pupils this morning, which you can see at Education Scotland's YouTube channel.
'Foundation apprenticeships key to Stem'
Richard Lochhead, minister for further education, higher education and science, has just been speaking about Stem – he says that to address the gender imbalance in science, it's not just schools that should be taking a lead, but colleges and universities, too. He also says that foundation apprenticeships is key for Stem education in Scotland – and that all schools should consider them.
And there was quite an entertaining slip of the tongue...
A wee slip from Richard Lochhead, who just referred to using “Bunsen burgers” at school! 🍔 #SLF18— Henry Hepburn (@Henry_Hepburn) September 20, 2018
Catch up on keynote speakers
Did Storm Ali scupper your #SLF18 plans? ?Do you want to catch up on that presentation you heard about? Or do you just want to have a gander at some of the big speeches from this year's festival? Good news – there's a YouTube channel streaming sessions live and archiving them, too.
'Teachers should decide when pupils sit national assessments'
After yesterday's vote at the Scottish Parliament in favour of halting P1 Scottish National Standardised Assessments, here's more from education secretary John Swinney's session at the Scottish Learning Festival yesterday – he warned councils that they should not be dictating to teachers when pupils take the national assessments.
Good morning from Day 2 of the Scottish Learning Festival
Good morning from Glasgow, where it's safe to say that the weather has perked up a bit since Storm Ali's visit yesterday. We'll be live blogging all day from the second and final day of #SLF18, with the last seminar finishing at 3.15 and the festival officially closing for for the year at 4. Get in touch with your highlights, views, pics, tweets (@TesScotland @Henry_Hepburn @Emma_Seith) or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
'Teachers are powerful people'
After all the ill-tempered debate in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon over testing in P1, now might be a good time for something more uplifting. Step forward Pak Tee Ng a member of the Scottish government’s International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA), who is usually based at the National Institute of Education in Singapore but today was at #SLF18 in Glasgow talking about Scottish education .
Ng remained silent until the end of the session when he was invited to speak and, well, stole the show.
Asked if he would share a nugget of professional insight with delegates, he said that the armed forces guard the land, the police protect security – and teachers guard the future, because they are the people committed to the next generation.
"[Teachers] are powerful people, not because we make policy, but because we affect children. Children do not experience policies, they experience teachers," he said.
And everyone left the room smiling.
See you tomorrow.
More news from along the M8
Not entirely unexpectedly, MSPs have in the past few minutes voted in favour of scrapping P1 Scottish National Standardised Assessments. It's been a big day for Scottish education, all round.
How was the first day of the Scottish Learning Festival for you?
It's been a packed day, meaning the thousands of delegates here were largely oblivious to the barrage of weather outside (although a good few never made it here in the first place). There were plenty of predictions, though, that Storm Ali would make the journey home a tad complicated. Happily, it appears that the direst travel predictions might have been off the mark!
Meanwhile, in Edinburgh...
Over at the Scottish Parliament, MSPs are embroiled in debate this afternoon about whether the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs) for P1s should be scrapped. Here in Glasgow, at the Scottish Learning Festival, one of the Scottish government's International Council of Education Advisors said the expert group told the government that it should not introduce SNSAs in P1.
Allison Skerrett, an associate professor in language and literacy at the University of Texas at Austin, said they had questioned if pupils of that age would be ready for them. But now they were in place – whilst “one or two” colleagues remained opposed – she felt that because of the way the tests were being implemented the world could learn from the Scottish example.
Professor Skerrett said of the upcoming vote in Parliament today on halting the tests that it was too early to decide if the SNSAs were not working.
‘If a teacher is kind, everyone is in a good mood’
The results of a survey on what children want in a teacher are being released at the Scottish Learning Festival.
One pupil said: “If a teacher is kind, it travels across the class and puts everyone in a good mood.”
Another said: “They want to learn from us. They ask questions like, see if it is not working, how might I do this better? They are not too proud to say they got it wrong.”
A report by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and charity Children in Scotland is based on research involving 591 children and young people.
Elaine Kerridge, Children in Scotland policy manager for participation and engagement, said: “The overarching message is that teachers need to meet the needs of all pupils as individuals in an approach that is both relationship-based and children’s rights-based. The values must be interpreted and implemented in a way that works for all pupils as individuals.”
The report, Review of the Professional Standards: The Experiences of Children and Young People, is part of the GTCS’s ongoing review of professional standards.
Pupils may have a voice - but is anyone listening?
Here's a pretty critical question about pupil voice, posed at the learning festival this afternoon. Certainly, one former children's commissioner thought a lot of work remained to ensure that attempts to magnify pupil voice were not mere tokenism, as we discovered when we spoke to him last year.
How often is 'pupil voice' utilised to include and listen to pupils, in order to make education more beneficial for everyone, and how often are pupils treated as 'messengers' who regurgitate the views of SLT/teachers? #SLF18— Leanne (@lcatherineteach) September 19, 2018
Let’s banish these toxic perceptions of teenagers’
Louise Macdonald is speaking now. Here's our interview with her from August, when the chief executive of the Young Scot charity was asking why so many adults have amnesia about what it's like to be a teenager.
To test or not to test?
That was a fairly lively Q&A with John Swinney - certainly more questions from the floor than there have often been for education secretaries in past learning festivals, and they were more pointed, too. But which of these teachers reflects the majority view on SNSAs in the primary sector?
Split opinion on standardised national assessments
Two teachers have just spoken to education secretary about Scottish Standardised National Assessments for P1 - with very different views. More shortly.
Pi Day or Pie Day - which is best?
John Swinney speaks
Education secretary John Swinney is about to address the Scottish Learning Festival. We'll be live tweeting from @TesScotland. In the meantime, here's a short clip of the outstanding musicians we've just heard from St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh.
'Reading comprehension underpins all learning'
One of this morning's seminar presenters is North Ayrshire educational psychologist Taryn Moir. Back in July, we wrote about her research that led to an intervention which significantly improved pupils' ability to understand what they read, but was also inexpensive and easy to implement. It's called the Strathclyde Higher Order Reading Skills programme.
The Northern Lights
With 50 per cent of today's Tess blogging team being Aberdonian, we're delighted to see Granite City dwellers braving the conditions to make it to Glasgow. Welcome to Dyce Primary - it's just a pity you've now induced a flashback to the last time Henry was on as long school bus trip. It was 1988, a 24-hour slog from Aberdeen to Paris, and the girls took control of the VCR (you'll have to Google that, young 'uns). He was hopeful that Blackadder would get on at some stage, but it was Dirty Dancing and Kylie Minogue ("I Should Be So Lucky" era) all the way to the Eiffel Tower...
'More droont rat than smart teacher'
You're not the only one, Mairead... Let's just say it shouldn't be too hard to persuade people to spend the entire day indoors.
Unfortunately I’m looking a lot more droont rat than smart teacher for the #SLF18 today. Very excited to get in and have a look at all the stalls (and free pens!)— Miss Hill (@misshill_2018) September 19, 2018
Busy day for John Swinney
John Swinney will speak at the festival at 10.30 this morning, and has written about looking forward to experiencing the "infectious" excitement and enthusiasm of #SLF18. It's a busy day for the education secretary, who will be hotfooting it back to Edinburgh for a vote on P1 standardised assessments this afternoon.
Primary teachers 'get too much stick' over maths
One of today's keynote speakers is Professor Jo Boaler. In an interview with our own Emma Seith, she said that primary teachers get "too much stick" over maths and dismissed the idea that they should have a Higher in the subject – an argument that seemed to go down well with primary teachers when we posted the story yesterday. What do you think?
Professor Boaler is up at 12.30pm today.
Good morning from the Scottish Learning Festival 2018
Good morning, everyone! We're on our way to Glasgow for the Scottish Learning Festival (aka #SLF18 in social media land) as Storm Ali hurtles towards us from the opposite direction (insert your weather/education metaphors here).
We'll be live blogging today and tomorrow, so let us get in touch your views, tips, pictures and highlights over the next couple of days. You can tweet us (@TesScotland @Henry_Hepburn @Emma_Seith) or email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com