'Only the best will do,' says McKenna

23rd September 2011 at 01:00
Glasgow City Council announces its plans to improve teaching

Glasgow City Council has announced a raft of measures to move the city's teaching "from good to great".

Director of education services Maureen McKenna told a 450-strong audience of school and authority staff that the past few years had seen marked improvements in HMIE inspection results across the council.

But learning and teaching in Glasgow now had to move up another gear, she said. "Only the best will do, because Glasgow's children and young people deserve the very best we can give.

"It is about enhancing professionalism and sharing best practice. It doesn't matter about class numbers and all those other things, it is about what happens in the classroom," she said.

She announced plans to improve heads' leadership capacity and challenge weaknesses in learning and teaching.

New "leaders of learning" - experienced teaching staff on a one-year secondment to lead classroom practice and raise attainment and achievement - have recently taken up post.

The 15 teachers, based at schools in Castlemilk, visit wherever heads bid for their time. They are expected to model good practice in literacy, numeracy, ICT and health and well-being to other teachers and also support schools in quality assurance, moderation and the sharing of standards.

Every school has now joined a learning network to exchange good practice, and the use of open-door sessions and peer coaching is growing.

Glasgow will also invest this year in having teachers trained under the Harvard Teaching for Understanding programme - a teaching strategy that focuses on deep understanding of an issue by the learner.

Graham Donaldson, author of the report on improving teacher education, Teaching Scotland's Future, said teachers had to develop an intolerance towards those who were letting children down.

He said that they had to become "enthusiastic sceptics in pursuit of excellence".

Placing a focus on professionalism would give teachers the "confidence to be flexible".



Notre Dame Primary showcased its "Plan your own curriculum day" project in which P7 pupils were put in charge of planning their own activities for half-a-day each term.

Within the boundaries of health and safety, the children were free to choose any topic or learning method. P7 teacher Frances Boyle then reviewed each child's plan.

Pupils completed a log during their activities and filled in an evaluation sheet.

Head Margaret Gordon said the scheme, which the school plans to extend to P5 and P6, allows children to take more responsibility for their own learning. It also gives teachers a chance to observe pupils and supports transition.

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