Celebrate our national and global success

2nd November 2012 at 00:00

It's been some week for TESS, as our small team celebrated winning the top Scottish Magazine of the Year award at the industry's annual ceremony in Glasgow last Thursday. We'd like to thank all those followers who tweeted their congratulations on the night. Without the support of our contributors, readers, tweeters, subscribers and advertisers, we couldn't have done it - so please keep the stories, comments, letters, pupils' artwork, and subscriptions and adverts coming.

Scottish education has been the focus of international attention this week, with the biannual European School Heads Association (ESHA) conference taking place in Edinburgh. The capital was inundated with education leaders from overseas, coming not just to exchange views with their European colleagues, but to learn what Scotland is doing on the curriculum, inspection and inclusion. So delegates were bussed around to nursery, primary and secondary schools and an FE college to see for themselves.

Meanwhile, education secretary Michael Russell has flown to Malawi, where he has been handing out iPads and university scholarships to youngsters in a country that has the world's lowest proportion of the population entering higher education. From politicians to school leaders to primary children in Falkirk blogging to readers as far afield as Australia, it really is a global network.

The Finns were the largest group at ESHA from other parts of the EU. For years, Scotland has looked to Finland to learn from the successes of another small country that has long punched above its weight in international league tables. Finnish teachers certainly come under the scrutiny of parents, as we see in a report on a new type of class consciousness creeping into their democratic school system. Parents appear to have stronger rights there, whether it's checking out if their child's teacher has completed a master's degree or being permitted to walk into a classroom unannounced to judge the level of teaching for themselves.

We're not quite at that stage yet in Scotland, but the pressure is on entrants to the profession to regard it as a master's-level career. More of that next week, when Mr Russell is expected to respond to the National Partnership Group's recommendations for implementing the Donaldson report on teacher education.

In the meantime, we look at another aspect of Graham Donaldson's report and the McCormac review of teachers' working conditions - experts coming into the classroom; in this instance from other careers into teaching. Second-career teachers are not yet on the rise here, as they are in England, perhaps because of the highly publicised shortage of teaching jobs north of the border. But we look at what they can bring to schools.

Gillian Macdonald, Editor gillian.macdonald@tess.co.uk.

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