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Changes and Developments of Scotland’s Educational System

Assessment A: Becoming an Inclusive Practitioner

Contents

Page

Introduction          6

Early Years           7 – 9

Making Scotland the Best        9 & 10

Closing the Gap         11 – 13

School Support          13 & 14

Theory in the Classroom        15 – 18

In the Classroom         18 & 19

Conclusion          20

Appendix 1: Scottish Political timeline      21

Appendix 2: Highland Overviews (Table 1)     22                                                                                  

Appendix 3: Highland Overviews with Scottish Index Multiple Deprivation

data (Table 2)                                                                           23

Lesson Plan A                    24 – 27

References          28 – 31

Introduction

 

Over the last two decades Education in Scotland has been transformed with power being transferred to MSP’s at Holyrood from their Westminster counterparts. With the era of new Labour arose devolution in Scotland and radical change in political power.  (See Appendix A) Rising from this I have seen my country introduce a new curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), new legislation and policy drivers with a current view to make Scotland the best place in the world for all children to grow up and with an aim to secure our future economy, Developing the Young Workforce. (Scottish Government website, A Blueprint for 2020: Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland Consultation, Page 1, 2016).

In this assessment, I will analyse and discuss how we as a nation offer equal opportunities for children from all backgrounds, how education is delivered in the classroom and out with. The change in policy, the CfE, National Improvement Framework, legislation, the practice I observed during School Experience and I how I integrated this into my lessons and the impact of this experience on my future teaching years.

Early Years

The focus of many recent government initiatives has put the Early Years in the spotlight including the extension and flexibility of Early Learning & Child Care (ELCC) hours. Minister for Children and Early Years, Mark McDonald states that he believes in ‘Helping to break down the barriers of poverty, substance misuse, domestic abuse and deeply entrenched intergenerational difficulties, so that families can build brighter, better lives. We know that as children grow up, the most effective way to support them and their families is to find difficulties early and stop them from growing into a crisis.’ (Scottish Government, Early Years Collaborative, article p1). This statement supports the delivery of Getting Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) which encourages information sharing and partnership working following a child at the centre approach working on wellbeing indicators.

Introduced into Early Years Centres were Developmental Overviews (Scottish Government Website, Early Years Collaborative) which highlight children’s milestones using a simple tracking system at an appropriate age, allowing us as a nation to gather data on how our children are performing.  A four-year-old one is shared with a Primary 1 teacher during transition to allow them a basic outline of the child’s stage of learning. In Highland, this information has been collated and whilst not yet meeting the Government’s 2017 target of 90% of children reaching their ‘milestones’ in their preschool year, it does show that since its implementation that there has been a steady increase in children reaching these targets. (Highland Council’s, Education, Children and Adult Services Committee, 2016).

(See Appendix 2)

This collation of data clearly outlines that there in Highland region is still a difference in children coming from deprived backgrounds, using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), by the time that they are ready to start their primary education with them performing at lower levels than their peers.

(See Appendix 3)

This has led the government to focus more on children from disadvantaged background and introduce 2-year-old places, flexible hours, extended nursery hours, training for practitioners to allow them to understand changes in policy and the government drivers behind the changes to Early Learning &Child Care.

Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ reflects on the Government’s focus on the Early Years as if the child is not able to have its basic needs such as regular food then they will not be able to function and achieve their full capabilities thus the gap in attainment will never be reduced, considering the struggle some families from deprived backgrounds have in this current financial climate. This model highlights how important the Early Years is for young children as Maslow states they will never progress the hierarchal system if their basic needs are not met and this would entail that their introduction to education would not be a positive learning experience and could impact on their future learning.  I previously observed one child, Child A, where it became apparent very quickly that Child A was placing themselves in an area of the nursery as they were very hungry and this was there way of communicating to us, as the child had no language. Once I fed Child A, when they had entered the nursery, they would then interact with other children and play allowing them opportunities to socialise with their peers and learning through play with speech developing over time. GIRFEC played a vital role in this case as partnership working and being able to share information allowed for a quick and successful outcome offering a child centred approach for Child A and their family allowing for a positive transition to the start of the child’s school years.

An ongoing research project, Growing Up in Scotland (GUS, Key Findings, page 1) has highlighted that steps that we are taking in the early years are helping to close the attainment gap. The Scottish Government’s 2015 report, Tackling Inequalities in the Early Years found that a good, nurturing preschool centre will help a child from a non-privilege background enter the primary stage at the same levels as their peers.  The report’s findings (pages 4-10) state that 54% of children from poorer households had below average vocabulary compared with 20% from higher income families, with 53% to 29 % having below average ability in problem solving at the age of 5.

Therefore, it is essential that we as teachers provide support and guidance at this critical stage in their development as our curriculum is taught using language so for children to be able to progress they must be able to communicate and understand language.  Evidence shows that children living in poverty are less likely to be able to read as their class mates, if early intervention is not taken to tackle this then it can lead to adults who are less favourable to employers and thus limits their employability and finances. (Save the Children, Read On, Get on Scotland, Page 2, 2014.)

As a nation, we now recognise the importance of the Early Years, the government plans to extend support by 2020 to double the nursery hours and have a childcare qualified worker or teacher at centres in underprivileged areas.

This change and focus on the early years may be due the modern world and the presence of a female First Minister and politicians in Holyrood, currently 45 MSP’s and a record number of female MP’s recently elected to Westminster, 208, who can relate to the difficulties of women, working and family life. This has also been reflected in Scandinavian countries who have highlighted the importance of ‘state funded free child care’ as this allows women the opportunity to return to the workplace. (Green & Janmatt, 2011).

 

Making Scotland the Best

Ongoing ‘gaps’ in our Education system has paved the way for massive policy change in Scotland ensuring that ‘Every child has the right to an Education. Primary Education must be free.  Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.’ (UN Rights of a Child Article 28 & 29.)

Comparisons are made today with European counterparts, (Grek S & Ozga J. Governing Education through Data: Scotland, England and the European Education Policy Space, page 2009), stating that Europe has the most influence over Scottish policy making. This leads me to wonder that as a new teacher will I see another shift in our policies post Brexit perhaps leaning towards a more English based curriculum to which Grek and Ozga describe as American influenced or if the balance of power will remain in Scotland.

Looking at our Scandinavian counterparts we can draw many comparisons including a child centred curriculum with outdoor learning featuring in both. In Scotland, I see many children starting school at age 4 entering Primary one. In comparison to Scandinavia where children are 6 or 7 years of age.  The reason for such an early age in Scotland is there is a workforce interest aimed at getting parents back to contributing to our economy. (The Curriculum for Excellence, A comparison between our own curriculum and Scandinavia. GLOW Blog, page 3, 2015).

This report also tells of how teachers are highly respected members of society and they have no inspectors or high levels of paper work like our country. Pre-school is focussed on play and social skills with many of children entering school unable to read and write. Despite this, these countries lead the way with pupil topping the tables of education.

Education tops the bill of many political manifesto’s and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently spoke of how ‘Education not Independence’ was her top priority during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood (BBC Website, Scottish First Minister Questions, 2017.)

Despite this pledge in the recent General Election campaign, Education topped the agenda with opposing parties claiming that ‘Scotland’s has lost its place as one of the leading world’s educators and that results from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showing its performance in Maths, Numeracy & Literacy are lower than ever.’ (Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdal, First Minister Questions, 2017.)

Research has highlighted that disadvantaged children as young as age 5 can already be 10-13 months behind their classmates when entering education. (Sosu & Ellis, Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education, page 1, 2014.)  Sosu & Ellis also highlight the strong links to children from deprived households achieving less than their counterparts in areas of Numeracy & Literacy throughout their primary school years with this increasing through high school years.

At the age of 5 there is a 10 months gap in problem solving ability and 13 months in Literacy, with a further gap showing in Literacy at primary 4 which continue to extend to primary 7.  This has a continuing affect through the children’s educational years and Sosu & Ellis found children from deprived backgrounds were ‘less likely to go into further/higher education, employment, training, or voluntary work.’ This report found this carried on through life and people with low attainment were more likely to be unemployed, work part time or receive a low income.

Sosu and Elis looked at other models around the world and the report recommendations to further close the attainment gap include ‘gathering more evidence, collaborative learning, nurture groups, parental involvement programmes, peer tutoring, metacognitive training and extracurricular activities with an academic focus.

 

 

Closing the Gap

Although clear policy, changes to ELCC, raising staff awareness and putting key curriculum areas in the spotlight has been successful in narrowing the gap, the government seeks to completely close this gap completely.

The introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) saw a radical change in the way we educated our young people offering more flexibility and mirroring a Scandinavian approach offering a variety of experiences which aim to prepare Scotland’s youngsters for life, learning and work alongside many other policy drivers. (Education Scotland, CfE, Page 1.) CfE has come under attack over the last few years as it saw statistics show a decline in reading, maths and science scores for 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed that Scotland ranked third of the four home nations in each category. In 2012, when the last PISA tests took place, Scotland was top in reading and maths. (Seith, E. TES, page 1-3, 2016).  The recent publication of the Scottish Literacy & Numeracy Survey found that some gaps in education are at similar levels since its last publication in 2014. The findings also found that a there is a decline in the acquired level in hand writing from Primary 7 pupils down to 65% from a previous 75% in 2012, Primary 4 pupils showed relatively no change only dropping by 2 % from 2012, with S2 pupils showing the largest decrease dropping down 15% to 49 %.  (BBC Website, Figures Show Drop in Scottish Pupil’s Literacy Rates, 2017.)

Scottish Education has witnessed momentous changes in the last decade with the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action (UNESCO, 1994) developing inclusive education across the world. (Developing Inclusive Practice in Scotland: The National Framework for Inclusion. Barett et al. Page 2, 2016.) The Framework stated that ‘schools should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions.’ Following this this was the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 which saw changed the term ‘special educational needs’ to ‘additional support needs.’ (Barett page 3.)

‘There is a strong association between the identification of additional support needs and social deprivation,’ (Riddell et al 2010). This paper also called for funding to be available for additional support needs based on social deprivation to further address the gaps in Scottish Education.

The Government’s response to further close this gap was by developing the National Improvement Framework, described by the Scottish Government as the ‘next phase of Curriculum for Excellence delivering equity and excellence.’ (Scottish Government Website, National Improvement Framework. Paragraph 1.)

CfE’s two key priorities are closing the attainment gap and offering pupil’s high levels progression in Literacy, Numeracy & Health and Wellbeing, introduced into schools were Benchmarks which guide teachers in planning learning, teaching and assessment alongside the CfE’s Experiences & Outcomes. These clearly outline what pupils need to know and undertake to pass a curriculum level with CfE having two key priorities closing the attainment gap and offering pupil’s high levels progression in these three curricular areas.

In February this year, to aid schools target these new Government benchmarks, Headteachers received a share of the Scottish Government’s £120 million Pupil Equity Funding. This money is focussed on schools that work with children from the poorest households from the Scottish Multiple Index of Deprivation (SIMD) and Head Teachers have been given a green light as to having the say on how their school can best use the money to close the attainment gap. In my current placement, the school is looking to focus on building more parental engagement running programmes to help build parents/carers knowledge as to how best to develop and support their child’s learning at home.

Another area of the framework is the introduction of standardised testing in all primary schools this year, to gather more data about how our pupils are performing has gathered criticism from many including, Professor Mark Priestley, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Stirling University. He said on his blog (2016), ‘I remain unconvinced that this document (National Improvement Framework) has a coherent strategy for translating the collection of system data into action to address these issues. The Framework appears to take the somewhat naïve assumption that the collection of data is some sort of magic bullet that will solve the attainment and equity problems in Scotland at a stroke.’

The most recent Government reform, Education Governance: Next Steps Empowering Our Teachers, Parents and Communities to Deliver Excellence and Equity for Our Children. Scottish Government, (June 2017) offers more powers being given to head teachers and teachers being given more freedom. Head Teachers will have responsibility for raising attainment and closing the gap that currently exists, control of school funding, selecting their staff and with schools having access to a linked worker to support families.

As a trainee teacher, I wonder if even more radical change lies ahead in Scotland as the government steers the nation forward to close this gap in education or if our new government legislation and policies will see our curriculum produce results which make our Education system the best in the world, producing results which mirror it.

School support

During my school placements, I observed a series of groups running over the course of the school week supported by Teachers and Pupils Support Assistants. These focus on children of all abilities and backgrounds ranging from nurture groups for Primary 1-3 children from socially deprived backgrounds. Pupils were encouraged to spend time with their peers and sessions also offering a snack to social groups for primary 4-7 pupils where they undertake a variety of tasks from social enterprise schemes to learning basic life skills with a strong focus on wellbeing. Some of the children in this group already have a Child’s Plan and their participation in these groups is a part of a targeted outcome from the Child Plan’s meetings, where steps to best support a child have been discussed. The boundaries for the school catchment area covers an area of high social deprivation and evidence from the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation states that this includes 20% of its pupil roll. (Data from Head Teacher, 2017).

These nurture groups also build strong links to community groups and offer children the chance to work with them on a variety of different projects including gardening groups and local countryside rangers. Other support is offered in the areas of Literacy and Numeracy from Speedy Readers to Raising Attainment for Learning groups. After school homework clubs target specific children and their families with senior management offering extended support to families and pupils who may struggle to independently complete homework tasks outside of school.  The parent council organise holiday provision, where subsided places are available for low income families and twice weekly youth clubs, this offers support to families who both parents financially must work but are unable to meet childcare costs.

Parents at the school have recently been supported by an Early Year’s Teacher as part of Highland Council’s Improving Literacy with Parental Involvement programme. During the first year the school found the uptake was low from parents, who must engage in a series of workshops. Over the last few years the school has reached double figures with parents from all backgrounds participating and the teachers observing a massive increase in children’s ability in Literacy over pupil’s early school years.

This social learning for parents across the Highland region a chance to be able to understand their children’s learning, share experiences and offer each other moral support in an area that many can have had a negative experience of or are not confident in.  An evaluation by the council of 150 parents who took part in one of the stages of the programme saw positive comments such as: ‘I now feel more confident that there are things I can do to help my child,’ and ‘My child’s concentration and attention seem to have increased.’

This school outstandingly matches recommendation made from the National Improvement Framework and Sosu & Ellis, Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education. It’s whole school approach to tacking Social Justice to ensure Inclusion for every child is inspiring to me as a student teacher and has given me great insight as how to facilitate this into my own practice.

Ainscow & Booth (2012) in the Index for Inclusion discuss that to be inclusive: ‘We have to be concerned with the whole person. This can be neglected when inclusion is focused only on one aspect of a student such as an impairment or the need to learn English as an Additional Language.’ This was very apparent during placement as the approach taken looked at each ‘whole’ pupils and not just an aspect of them.

The school has been awarded £50,400 from the Pupil Equity Fund with Highland Council receiving £2,956,800 for Primary Schools. The Senior Management Team are looking to use the money to try to better support families and in return raise family engagement with the school, through events and out of school provision offering breakfast clubs and after school facilities including holiday provision and employing a family support worker who will be based in the school.

With new research showing that Scottish pupils from poorer household being 5 weeks behind their counterparts following the summer holidays. (TES, Holiday hunger leads to five-week learning lag, 2017.) This evidence and other programmes I witnessed such as nurture groups, social groups, homework clubs, after school provision and a whole school approach to raising attainment should effectively work to help close the gap and give ongoing support for families.

 

 

Theory in the classroom

Early cognitive theorists focused their theories directly on the children that they worked with, these constructivists such as Piaget, Bruner and Vygotsky believing in a child centre approach, which we see reflected in our Scottish Education system today with Curriculum for Excellence and GIRFEC. Whilst Piaget focused on children achieving through fixed stages, Vygotsky focussed on the importance of social interaction and culture driving children’s learning.

Over the course of my four weeks during my first placement, something became clear very quickly during my first week. This was a school that encouraged social learning, everyone supported one another collaboratively in classroom tasks and out with and learning was a very sociable experience, this was evident throughout the whole school.

The learning focus is largely on inclusive practice, which is one of the key outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence and pupils learning through collaboration, discussion and feedback. (CfE Collaborative Learning, page 5, 2009). Inclusive pedagogy is concerned with redressing the limitations on learning that are often inadvertently placed on children when they are judged ‘less able’ (Inclusive Pedagogy: A transformative approach to individual differences but can it help reduce educational inequalities? Florian, L. Page 9, 2014).

When teaching whole maths lessons, one of the main steps I introduced in my learning plan (Learning Plan A, Appendix 4) was mixed ability pairing with a focus on Vygotsky’s peer to peer interaction where children learn from a More Knowledge Other (MKO) to ensure an Inclusive teaching style. According to Vygotsky, (1978), ‘Children first develop lower mental functions such as simple perceptions, associative learning, and involuntary attention; however, through social interactions with more knowledgeable others, such as more advanced peers and adults, children eventually develop higher mental functions such as language, counting, problem solving skills, voluntary attention, and memory schemas.’ (Doolittle, P.E. Understanding Cooperative Learning Through Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, page 5, 1995). I witnessed this paired or small group way of learning to be incredibly simple but so effective, the children were receptive and more confident in my class to ask their peers for help than they would have been if they were working independently and would have to put up their hand and ask for help. This way of learning promotes social learning and life skills to pupils and as a Student Teacher I found this was easy to deliver, was engaging for the pupils and there as less low level disruptive behaviour.

Evidence also suggests that pupils working together and taking an active lead in their own learning will lead to and pupils access Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) encouraging skills to support for when they join the workforce. (Cornell University, Collaborative Learning, Page 1.) As a teacher, I need to understand that this method of learning is key to pupil’s developing the capacity for thinking as individual leaners in the classroom.

In the paper, Collaborative Learning in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence: the challenges of assessment and potential of multi-touch technology, Sandra McKechan and Jennifer Ellis (2014) looks at how Social Constructivist theories have increased our knowledge in Scotland of the importance of pupils working together to learn. Teacher feedback in this report was beneficial with all teachers saying it had a positive effect on their pupils learning. ‘ It is effective because it increases pupils’ motivation and engagement, provides opportunities for teamwork, presents learning in a realistic context, requires pupils to apply a range of skills and knowledge and enables pupils to develop autonomy and responsibility. Indeed, most teachers emphasised the benefit of pupils developing as independent learners.’ (Ellis & McKeckan, page 7). With other comments from teachers stating that they witnessed an increase in learning, pupils seemed to be more happier learning using this method and it develop all pupil’s social abilities.

In my own maths lesson, (Learning Plan A, Appendix 4), I first set a task for children to work together in groups, making sure each table had a More Knowledgeable Other who would lead with ideas and strategies. Pupils had to work in mixed ability pairs to make their own angles using masking tape following my instructions. The class worked against a clock when I gave them an angle they had a brief period to then use the tape to make the angle in their desk, children worked together well but the more knowledgeable children offered extended support to children unsure and encouraged them and guided them.

During the worksheet section I was aware that some of the EAL pupils had needed support when asked to name angles. The worksheet did have the angles on them but many found the language complex. I identified this as a next step, in my next plan, and decided that as an initial task I would ask pupils to work together to match a series of angles to their names. I reflected after that lesson that by reinforcing language and supporting pupils further it had allowed them to take the next step on their learning and achieve the Success Criteria.

For me as one of my first lessons, I could clearly see the benefit of using mixed ability collaboration. This inclusive pedagogy allowed me to use strategies that guided pupil’s learning forward to the next step and I could use my knowledge of the Zone of Proximal Developmental, (ZPD). Vygotsky (1978) said in his paper Interaction Between Learning & Development: ‘The Zone of Proximal Development defines those functions that have not yet matures but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state.’ This was what I observed as pupils who were not sure of the angles on this day were more confident over the course of the week and could go on and work independently.

I paid great attention to how I and modelled lessons and language to the pupils in my class offering questioning to encourage HOTS and allow pupils to be ‘thinking about their own thinking’(metacognition) for their learning to progress.  I was aware of the developmental stage of each child, looking at prior learning, and I applied that to my maths lesson plan. (Appendix 4.) In my planning, I reflected on where pupils can plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning and used the ZPD a process today that would be described as Metacognitive Development. (Getting Started with Metacognition, Cambridge International Examinations Teaching and Learning Team Webpage, Metacognition). This linked to the ZPD where I observed and used strategies that would allow pupils to be guided by myself, a Pupil Support Assistant or a MKO. I could then asses when support was no longer needed as this was evident from the previous lesson and from worksheets I had produced. In my role as a class teacher I would look to encourage pupils to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning and reflecting on it over the course of the school year resulting in them taking control of their learning.

Engagement during the Maths lesson was excellent, I could clearly see and hear the enjoyment of learning tasks and it allowed me to extend learning by then offering further questioning about the angles. It might be argued by some teachers though is that this method of learning is hard to evidence and it does not favour schools well in time of Education Scotland Inspection visits where they are actively seeking examples of good teaching practice.  Ellis & McKeckan highlight this in their paper, Collaborative Learning in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence: the challenges of assessment and potential of multi-touch technology stating: ‘(The) Scottish Government’s guidance on assessment (Scottish Government 2011) outlines the explicit requirement to keep regularly updated records of children’s and young people’s progress and achievements based on evidence of learning.’

This led me to enquire what methods could I use and I opted for post it notes, with two stars and a wish and the Class Teacher introduced me to an IT method using Padlet and spoke of also using photographs and e-learning portfolios.

A high number of the class do not have English as their first language and this was considered when pairings were made for learning tasks where they were with a MKO as was the case for children in the class with ASN’s. Taking of the above factors into account and by creating clear Learning Intentions and Success Criteria and well thought out plans led to a very engaging and productive lesson which was enjoyed by the pupils but also one which was very enjoyable to teach and deliver.

 

In the classroom

Drawing on all my lectures and research so far and being able to put it into practice with a clear understanding of Social Justice and Inclusion in Scotland today, equipped me with all the essential attributes to effectively lead class lessons and best support children I worked with. Daily Reflection and Evaluation were the key components of my growth in my student teacher role over SE1. Feedback from Class Teachers, Tutors and honest, open reflections on lessons I delivered allowed me to gain a deep insight into methods which were successful such as engaging in Collaborative Learning and integrating technology into my lessons.

Turning my classroom into a social learning one proved a successful combination with pupil’s working best when working together rather than when I observed them under taking independent tasks and I felt it was a strong method to use to take pupil’s learning forward and one I will implement into my teaching practice. Building on a child’s prior learning and including this in plans is essential, it helps identify pupil’s level of learning and identify the next steps for them in their learning. (3.1.1 Plan coherent, progressive and stimulating teaching programmes which match learners’ needs and abilities. 3.1.4 Have high expectations of all learners. 3.1.3 Employ a range of teaching strategies and resources to meet the needs and abilities of learners. GTCS Standards for Registration for Student Teachers pages17-19, 2012).

Focussing on children as individuals and celebrating their successes in the classroom was a joy, not giving children labels which can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing and last a lifetime. ‘When young people’s learning is dominated by judgements of ability, their sense of identity may be profoundly affected, not just while they are at school, but beyond, into adulthood.’ (Hart, S. et al Learning without Limits, page 5, 2004.)

Knowledge of current Government Legislations, policies, whole school approach to closing the attainment gap, ongoing CPD training and a sense of value to make a difference to children from every background, an Inclusive pedagogy armed with engaging and stimulating lessons and a commitment to positively engaging with the pupils in my class whilst effectively making it calm and safe place for them to learn are all that strategies that I witnessed or discussed with other staff members during my School Experience and I look to carry these forward into my own classroom.

Conclusion

 

In the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ (BrainyQuote.com, June 2017). As a student teacher, this is vital to remember as our experiences of education at an early age shape the people we go on to be in later life. Every child has the basic right to an education and that should be easily accessible to them, learning alongside their peers. Education must be inclusive to all regardless of ability or background, that is a basic right of every child. Our own curriculum states ‘equity and excellence’ (Education Scotland, CfE) as we drive forward as a nation to close any attainment gaps and strive for excellence in our education system to ensure our future generations contribute to our workforce supporting Scotland’s economy.

Sheila Riddell, refers to: ‘Children and young people who leave school with few or no qualifications clearly do not have an equal place in the social, economic and political part of society and are likely to join the growing ranks of the working class.’ (The Palgrave International Handbook of Education for Citizenship and Social Justice. Social Justice and Citizenship in Scottish Education, page 545, 2016).

Is this an equal outlook for a child who may have been raised in a socially deprived background? Surely all children should be encouraged in their school years to reach their potential, follow their dreams and grow to be Confident Individuals, Successful Learners, Responsible Citizens and Effective Contributors.

In a time of great political change in Scotland, we must strive for the best future of our nation which Education plays a vital role in and as a Primary Teacher I will hold one of the key roles in helping my country deliver this.

 

Appendix 1

 

Appendix 2

Table 1

Developmental Area % of all children
2014 2015
All Domains 83 87
Movement 94 97
Coordination 95 96
Routines 96 98
Social/Emotional 91 94
Play/Imagination 93 94
Understanding 92 93
Expression 91 93
Table 1

Appendix 3

Table 2

% SIMD NON SIMD 2015 % DIFFERENCE 2014 % DIFFERENCE 2015/14 % DIFFERENCE
ALL DOMAINS 80 88 8 7 +1
MOVEMENT 96 97 1 3 -2
COORDINATION 93 96 3 5 -2
ROUTINES 94 98 4 1 +3
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL 91 94 3 4 +1
PLAY/IMAGINATION 89 95 6 4 +2
UNDERSTANDING 88 94 6 7 +1
EXPRESSION 89 94 5 6 +1
TABLE 2

 

 

Appendix 4

Learning Plan A

 

Mathematics: Angles
Date: 30/05/17 Class: P6
(1) Prior Learning:  Pupils had previously been introduced to right angles in Primary 5 and had right angles had been introduced to whole class in Lesson 1. (29/05/17)
(2) Identified aspects of integration across the curriculum: 

I have investigated angles I the environment and can discuss, describe and classify angles using the appropriate mathematical vocabulary. MTH 2-17a

(3) Learning Intension(s) 

  • To be able to identify right, obtuse, acute, reflex, straight line & full rotation.
(4) Product Success Criterion 

  • Pupilswill accurately be able to identify right, obtuse, acute, reflex, straight line & full rotation. angles on a worksheet.
(5) Learning activities and use of teaching time: 

  • Introduce LI & SC to pupils. Use thumbs to ensure everyone is clear on expectation and encourage discussion. (AiFL).
  • Recap of yesterday’s lesson. (5mins)
  • Introduce pupils to other types of angles through slides, encourage discussion/use of lollipop sticks. (AiFL) (5 minutes)
  • Watch video which further explains types of angles. (YMCA angles) Lead the class in this method using our arms to make the angles. (5 minutes)
  • Give children tape and put them in mixed ability pairings (MKO) them to make several types of angles on their tables using the tape. I will shout an angle type and using the Smart Board timer I will give them 30 seconds to make an angle. I will model first.  Lead discussion after each angle, refer to language Acute, Obtuse, Reflex, Right, Degrees, Vertex etc and reinforce during discussion. Refer to angle sizes also using questioning. (10 mins)
  • Explain worksheets for the day and model first question. Give out same worksheet to all children. Separate worksheets will be available if required for extension or different level.  Class Teacher will support pupils (A, B & C). Pupils will traffic light their work. (15mins)
  • Plenary & evaluation. Post it notes, two stars and a wish. (Review after break).
  • = (50 minutes total)
(6) Differentiation 

  • Support for A,B & C) from Class Teacher during worksheet.
  • Extension and various levels of worksheet available.
(7) Resources 

Smart Board

Google Slides (Google Drive)

Masking tape.

Worksheets.

Pencils, rubbers.

 

(8) Theory 

Collaboration (Vygotsky)

Mixed ability pairing (MKO)

ZPD (support for certain pupils).

  

(9) Evaluation of pupil’s learning & next steps.

•Pupil engagement was excellent during the lesson. Thumbs were used throughout, was a good indication for me who needed extra support and who was confident in their learning. (AiFL)

• Some children said that they had heard of acute or obtuse angles but not of all the angles and children were receptive to learning new angles.

•Children were enthusiastic during activities and worked well in pairs supporting each other’s and sharing their thoughts with the class.

•Differentiated worksheets were available and three pupils progressed on to measuring angles whilst others worked their way through the worksheets, with most nearly finishing. These pupils showed they could plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning.

•EAL children found the angle names difficult to read and pronounce and the CT suggested that I could have enlarged these more on the worksheets to work as a visual guide for them.

•(AiFL) Plenary was great and children contributed well, feedback from the children was positive and their wish was ‘that the lessons could have been longer as it was fun.’ The stars were that ‘It was good to colour in angles to help learn the sizes, the activities were fun.’

 

Next Steps:

 

•  Ensure visual support is in place in worksheets and slides to help support EAL children and fellow pupils. (Warm up task 31/05/17)

• Revisit the vocabulary to raise children’s confidence.

• Ensure tasks are suitable for all learner’s levels.

  

(10) Evaluation of teaching & next steps.

• Lesson was well planned and I feel that this was reflected by the high level of pupil’s engagement. Pupils worked well collaboratively and some pupils (MKO) were extremely supportive and guiding, scaffolding methods were effective.

• Activities were ‘snappy’ and kept the pupils engaged and interested.

• The timer helped structure these activities well and guide children.

• Plenary and feedback was positive and children were aware of their LI’s and SC’s with some discussing how they met the SC.

• Pupils offered an extension option during the lesson which I was happy to support to help further build positive relationships and help encourage children shape their own learning.

• Support & guidance was excellent from the CT, before the lesson and helping in a support role during the worksheet time, and I felt prepared, confident & supported. (Pupils A, B & C0 worked well with support and completed most of the worksheet.

• I focussed on Classroom Management Skills from previous lessons and I felt in control throughout.

 

Next Steps:

• Continue to focus on collaboration, ZPD, metacognition and scaffolding.

• Continue to focus and improve on class management skills, with direction from CT.

• Continue with well-planned thought out lessons that will lead to high lead to high levels of engagement.

• Continue to respond to CT’s feedback to allow me to grow and progress in my ST role.

• Continue to offer differentiation to allow all leaners to achieve their full potential.

Links to GTCS Standards for Registration: 

  • 3.1.1 Plan coherent, progressive and stimulating teaching programmes which will match learners’ needs and abilities.

I felt that the strength of the lesson was through careful planning, collaboration tasks and good timings when delivering the lesson.

References 

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