Everything you need to know about Scottish education - and more

29th August 2008 at 01:00
A curriculum for Excellence, innovation, creativity, rich tasks - if these are buzz words for Scottish education, they are also central to this year's Scottish Learning Festival.

The two-day event (September 24-25, SECC, Glasgow) was always funded by the Scottish Executive, but the SNP Government has taken hold of the reins. Rather than just appearing as a keynote speaker to open the conference, the Education Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, is presented as host in the brochure.

Primary teachers always excelled when it came to imaginative cross- curricular topics. But for those wanting new ideas, there is no richer source. Whether it's Franca Reid of Longforgan Primary, near Dundee, sharing its Eureka moment when staff saw the potential of integrating early years to meet the learning needs of all, or Vicky Mackenzie of Lairdsland Primary, West Dunbartonshire, on how Nintendo Wii sparked rich learning tasks that enthused her pupils, there is something to engage and challenge all.

Active learning is repeatedly cited by teachers as their best continuing professional development of the year. Jackie Henry of Strathclyde University will demonstrate how East Dunbartonshire staff adopted the methods in 29 schools and how parents and pupils responded.

Joyning the Learning courses from Learning Unlimited have transformed classrooms from Shetland to the Borders with their novel approach that pulls the primary curriculum together around one interactive theme and transforms a classroom for a term (TESS, February 1). Teachers can hear from Margaret Byrne "how the fun has returned to learning and teaching".

Peer learning in Fife also hit the headlines (TESS, May 16). Staff and pupils were not impressed when they heard children were to be tutored by other pupils, but the project, extended to over 125 schools, is reporting benefits in reading, maths and children's confidence. Keith Topping, Dundee University, will discuss the results.

Over 50 sessions are recommended for primary teachers, not counting new topic surgeries hosted by educationists, presentations by teachers and pupils at the Education Village, and the Education Showcase with launches, performances and the Consolarium Challenge.


T 0870 421 1938.


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