Festival to cast light on new curriculum

14th May 2010 at 01:00

At the beginning of next session, all teachers are expected to be working on Curriculum for Excellence, threats of industrial action notwithstanding. For months, classroom practitioners have been calling urgently for more resources, information and continuing professional development. So this autumn's Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) - the biggest CPD event of the year - will be more important than ever.

On September 22-23, up to 7,500 teachers can come face-to-face - or head- to-head - with Education Secretary Michael Russell at the SECC in Glasgow. They can also put their concerns direct to officials from the Government, HMIE, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS).

The annual conference and exhibition, run by LTS and emap, and funded by the Scottish Government with The TESS as media sponsor, provides over 160 seminars and 200 exhibition stands for teachers from early years through to further education to share good practice and see what resources are available.

The difficulty for many schools this year will be affording cover for teachers to attend, but there will be twilight sessions on Wednesday evening. Keynote speeches will be streamed live on the SLF site and available to view afterwards via the LTS site or Glow, the schools intranet.

The theme for 2010 is Curriculum for Excellence: Enhancing Experiences, Raising Standards, and keynote speakers from outside Scotland will be there to inspire and provide an international perspective.

American Eric Booth, an award-winning actor and arts education specialist, believes the arts could make CfE the envy of the world, with creativity across the curriculum unlocking potential in all areas.

Joining him will be Richard Gerver, author of Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today and a former primary head in England, who wrote in last month's TESS about asking his staff how they could turn their school into Disneyland (April 30). He wanted to create a school where pupils, even if they woke up with a sore throat, would still want to attend in the same way nothing would stop them going to "Walt's world".

Sugata Mitra, professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, has run experiments to in- vestigate the processes by which children "self-instruct each other in skill areas". By constructing outdoor internet kiosks in rural and semi-urban areas where economically disadvantaged children live, they exposed the youngsters to new technology with no instruction. They reached levels of ability close to their city peers with no difficulty, and acquired management and social skills.

Familiar faces will abound, with Graham Donaldson on his teacher education review, Bill Maxwell, new chief inspector of HMIE, on the future shape of inspection, and a host of experts to answer all the questions uppermost in teacher's minds.

gillian.macdonald@tes.co.uk

www.scottishlearningfestival.com.

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