CPD - Homecoming not just birthday cheers

5th June 2009 at 01:00

"2009 is a big year for Scotland," the advert tells us. "It's the 250th birthday of Robert Burns and we're celebrating. The whole world is invited."

But Homecoming 2009 isn't just about getting everyone excited about being Scottish. It also has an ambitious educational element.

The Scottish Government and Learning and Teaching Scotland have embraced the opportunity to develop teachers and resources so that the celebration of Scotland, its culture and its place in the world is embedded within A Curriculum for Excellence. All schools are welcome.

Professional learning communities are being set up, national and regional conferences have been organised and a network of international education specialists, led by Audrey Kellacher, a primary teacher from Inverness, is going into schools to lead continuing professional development sessions.

Any teacher developing projects and activities is being urged to upload them onto the LTS website to share with other teachers.

"It is a fantastic opportunity to develop something that will last beyond the year of Homecoming," says Mrs Kellacher, who was appointed as Homecoming co-ordinator within LTS's Developing Global Citizens team earlier this year. "We are determined to develop teams of experts who will encourage a professional dialogue between different groups and build capacity through sharing practice and ideas."

The professional development angle began around the time Mrs Kellacher arrived, with a national conference drawing together education with other services. This was followed by four regional seminars for Homecoming co- ordinators, which drew in LTS international education masterclass participants, global teachers and others from the Link schools programme. Schools can also request LTS specialists to run insets, twilights and sessions.

Glow Meets are being organised to encourage professional learning communities, and new resources are coming on line, such as Scotdec's A' Adam's Bairns (about slavery) and LTS resources on the Scottish Enlightenment and on Scots in Australia.

The Learning and Teaching Scotland website is also extending its coverage of Homecoming activities, so that more details of individual school projects will be accessible. And this is just a taste of what is going on. All in all, it's a big year for Scottish education.

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