5th September 2008 at 01:00
Teachers of business education have embraced the principles behind A Curriculum for Excellence and are successfully linking the skills they teach to wider personal, social and vocational settings, according to HMIE.


The world of work

Teachers of business education have embraced the principles behind A Curriculum for Excellence and are successfully linking the skills they teach to wider personal, social and vocational settings, according to HMIE.

The inspectorate's latest portrait of current practice in business education explores various ways in which business education teachers can help develop the four capacities of ACfE - successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

It includes case studies of effective practice, first highlighted at an HMIE conference in November 2006, and re-emphasises the need to make pupils more independent learners and creative thinkers if Scotland is to be competitive in a global context.

"The knowledge and skills developed within business education departments can equip pupils for entry into the world of work and provide the hard- edge skills which are a necessary complement to innovation and creativity in growing and developing businesses," say inspectors.

However, departments need to continue to address the issues of pace and challenge which are especially apparent from S3-4 programmes to Higher and Advanced Higher and beyond.

Business Education: A portrait of current practice -


Plan your special events

In September, there's Clean Up the World Weekend; in October, there's Feed the Birds Day; and in November, there's Global Entrepreneurship Week.

These events and many more are flagged in the second edition of the Day by Day Enterprise Matters Planner, copies of which should have arrived in schools at the end of last month.

The planner, which has been distributed by Learning and Teaching Scotland in partnership with Determined to Succeed, is designed to stimulate and support enterprising learning and teaching approaches.

It identifies a range of special focus times, events or activities happening across the world in 2008-09, which can be used by teachers to promote opportunities for learning in a real-life context, relating to pupils' present and future lives outside school.

Web links to educational support materials for events can be found within the planner.

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Name your stars

Scottish primary schools can create a new constellation as part of a project funded by the Royal Astronomical Society.

John Brown, the Astronomer Royal for Scotland and a renowned magician, and artist Gill Russell will visit schools and run workshops for P5-7. These will involve choosing a school star, a mobile planetarium show, a cosmic art workshop, and magic demonstrations of cosmic phenomena.


T: 07811 458066


Viva el futbol

A Midlothian pupil has won a prestigious competition for students of Spanish - only three weeks after taking up the subject.

Shereen Dalton, of Lasswade High in Bonnyrigg, won a week's training with Valencia Football Club, one of the country's most famous teams. The S5 pupil had entered a contest, run by Valencia's tourist board, in which she had to produce a PowerPoint presentation on the city.

Modern languages teacher Ian Stewart saw the competition as "something fun to do" with his new Intermediate 2 class at the end of last term, and was surprised when he found out one of his pupils had won.

Shereen was unable to take up her prize, but did receive a signed shirt and ball.

Modern languages

Writing it is harder

Primary pupils are better at listening to, speaking and reading a foreign language than writing it, according to HMIE.

An inspectors' report into modern language teaching in primary found that most pupils reached an appropriate level of competence by P7, but teachers need to give them sufficient opportunities to speak the language during lessons and learn grammar systematically.

Too many pupils still learned too much by rote and lacked the ability to use the modern language they had learnt in different contexts. The pace was too slow in some lessons and not enough of the new language had been learnt, said inspectors.

Primaries should build closer links with their associated secondary school, which were crucial in providing pupils with sustained, high- quality learning experiences.

Developing the four capacities through social subjects: focusing on successful learners in primary schools -


An Antarctic adventure

Youngsters will have the opportunity to find out just how far a physics degree could take them next week, when scientist Alison McLure discusses her work in one of the remotest locations on earth - the Antarctic.

At a special evening event at Aberdeen's "TechFest In September" - a festival of science, technology, engineering and mathematics - the physicist and meteorologist will talk about the kind of science carried out in the Antarctic and what her life was like in the immense white continent.

"A lot of people think science is all about sitting in a lab and working away with a white coat on," she said. "This talk will hopefully show pupils the really adventurous things you can do with science."

The event, suitable for youngsters aged 10 and over, will take place on September 11 at 7.30pm, in the Fraser Noble Lecture Building, University of Aberdeen.

T: 01224 274198

Social subjects

Focus on active learning

Primary teachers should use a greater variety of teaching methods and place more of a focus on active learning when teaching social subjects, according to school inspectors.

A report by HMIE on developing the four capacities through social subjects in primary, said too many teachers presented topics as whole-class lessons which did not provide sufficient support and challenge for all pupils' needs.

"In recording and assessing pupils' knowledge and skills, teachers relied too much on low-level activities, such as the completion of worksheets which were unchallenging or inappropriately time-consuming. Only a few schools made very good use of assessment to judge pupils' present knowledge and understanding before beginning a new social subjects topic," said the report.

Primary schools made effective use of visitors and the local and wider environment to develop awareness of "people in the past" and "people and place", and had a clear understanding of the Scottish dimension within these areas.

However, pupils' mapping skills should be developed more systematically across the stages, and there should be more effective links between the work related to environmental issues, sustainable development and Eco Schools Scotland and social subjects.

Developing the four capacities through social subjects: focusing on successful learners in primary schools -


Make your own news

A BBC competition will allow schools to make their own news.

The corporation's School Report project gets pupils aged 11-14 working to real deadlines and broadcasting to real audiences.

Last year's entries included bulletins from 20 schools, whose participants became news reporters on a single day in March. Topics included asylum seekers, raising cash for a school in Africa, and issues specific to schools' own communities.

The pupils' work featured on a range of news programmes across TV, radio and local websites, and was available on the BBC red-button service.

Next year's "news day" is on March 29.


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