Quality Circle squares up

25th September 1998 at 01:00
Tugged this way and that by 5-14 "Understanding energy and forces"? Bemused by information technology as part of environmental studies? Schools are being invited to join the 5-14 Quality Circle, a network which will send regular updates on resources for the primary curriculum.

The initiative, launched last week, comes from the Education Network based at Northern College in Aberdeen. The Quality Circle, membership of which will cost schools Pounds 50 for the session, is intended to help teachers' staff development by providing materials, especially on areas that are causing concern in many schools, such as environmental studies.

There will be three packs a year. Reading forms the third theme along with environmental studies.

There will also be a specific staff development pack each year. The first deals with writing at all 5-14 levels. Teachers will get guidance on the process pupils should go through from initial ideas to drafting, revising and editing.

Membership of the Quality Circle gives schools access to the Scottish Primary Education Electronic Community (SPEEC), an on-line facility. Teachers will be able to share in live discussion of problems and projects. Jim Grant, director of the Education Network, says that "the aim is to eliminate duplication of effort, saving staff valuable time and energy. There is no need for everyone continually to reinvent the wheel."

The Quality Circle follows the example of Mr Grant's first network initiative, in business education, his own specialism. From a launch in 1989, 80 per cent of schools in Scotland now subscribe to resources in business education. Another venture provides materials for 5-14 mathematics.

Mr Grant says that a survey of 190 primaries led to the choice of the first Quality Circle resources, developed by teachers across the country. They are paid for work done in their own time, but as part of staff development are invited to study for modules that would accumulate towards a Northern College MEd qualification.

"If we do what we hope, we should provide teachers with materials of high quality, and we hope we can earn income which will allow us to sell good materials in other areas of the world," Mr Grant said. "There is a lot of excellence in Scottish education which should be tapped into and used."

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