Named, but not shamed

14th September 2007 at 01:00
USING INTERACTIVE digital technology for the first time, HMIE will next week launch new guidance on how schools can achieve excellence.

The inspectorate has traditionally been wary of exemplifying schools by name in its generic reports. But Part 5 of its How Good Is Our School? series, entitled "Journeys to Excellence", will use examples of teachers, heads, pupils, parents and education gurus describing ideas of excellence, what they do, and how they do it.

One boy, asked to describe what he thinks is an excellent school, says to the camera: "One with lots of colour pictures on the wall."

Chief inspector Frank Crawford is more profound: "It's about the highest aspirations and doing what you can for every person."

The title was meant to get across the idea of an "improving journey" so that no matter where schools were, they could use the resource as part of their progress, he said.

HMIE's aspirational agenda mirrored that of many other OECD countries, all aiming to move their education sys- tems from "good" to "great".

HGIOS 5 includes a promotional DVD, but the meat of the resource is available online where the 10 dimensions of excellence identified by HMIE are linked to the central theme of learning and teaching to support the four capacities of A Curriculum for Excellence.

The resource is arranged in themes, described as "learning trails". One could be "assessment for learning"; another "against the odds" examples of schools which have achieved excellence in exceptional circumstances.

The 19 hours' worth of video-clips or "movies", as HMIE prefers to describe them, are divided into three categories informative, illustrative (case studies filmed round the country), and perspective (educationists explaining why things work). There are also definitions of "excellence" from people outwith education, such as percussionist Evelyn Glennie and scientist Hugh Pennington.

More than two years in the planning, the 300-plus online video clips of good classroom practice and the latest educational thinking will be refreshed over the three years of the project.

The inspectorate is also launching Part 4 of its HGIOS series a smaller resource called "Planning for Excellence" on Tuesday, in partnership with Learning and Teaching Scotland. LTS, in turn, is launching a sister resource, entitled "Learning about Learning".

Frank Crawford will give a presentation on Journeys to Excellence at the Scottish Learning Festival on September 19, 1.30pm; and on September 20, 2pm.

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