The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

28 Nov 2016

A new itch

Charlaine SimpsonCharlaine Simpson, Senior Education Officer

On Tuesday I went on a visit to Carronshore Primary School to record video footage for a Professional Learning resource about Values, due for release early in the new year. Collette and Caroline, the two teachers who were taking part in the coaching conversations, were wonderful, totally prepared and professional in their performances. It was the first time that I had taken part in anything like this so a new experience for us all. The guys from Connect who were both filming the conversation and interviewing Collete, Caroline and Laura, the Headteacher, for a Teaching Scotland article were very helpful and made the experience enjoyable. The three coaching conversations and the interviews were completed without fuss or mishap. Good start to the week!

Wednesday was the first day of the three-day SERA conference. Louise Hayward delivered an interesting keynote entitled Challenging? Attainment and improvement - myths, mysteries and myopia. In this she discussed the international myths around raising attainment, raising achievement and school improvement, and the interrelationship between research, policy and practice. She showed different models of change, my favourite was NMTQMIM – never mind the quality, make it manageable!

Fellow Education Officer Elaine Napier and I also delivered a pecha kucha (www.pechakucha.org/faq) about how to use coaching wheels as part of self-evaluation of professional learning. Twenty slides each of twenty seconds duration to say all we needed to say about coaching and self-evaluation. I talked very quickly and still missed half of what I had planned to say; however, the audience seemed to keep up with my rapid pace and asked searching questions at the end so job done!

Thursday I started down at Victoria Quay in Leith doing work to contribute to the National Improvement Framework driver Teacher Professionalism. I then had the absolute pleasure of attending a Glasgow Leaders of Learning group along with fellow Senior Education Officer David Graham. After a quick coffee, we discussed Practitioner Enquiry and how to support practitioners to undertake enquiry. We also managed to have a wee chat around evidence of impact, which is another area I am working on at the moment. The session went well, they are a great group of leaders who are focused on supporting teachers in Professional Update and all things professional learning.

The second SCEL Enquire Connect Engage at Craigmount High School in Edinburgh took place on Saturday. I was giving the keynote so was a bit apprehensive at the start. In fact, I had stopped the car about 200 yards from home because I had that nagging feeling. I checked I had my presentation, so carried on. It was only when I was speaking with @missJOnes that it dawned on me I had forgotten the books for the raffle – so books by post then!

My keynote seemed to well received and then I attended a couple of sessions by @andrew_scel and @createcolearn both around policy, which is definitely becoming my ‘itch’. Then from a chat with a fellow attendee I now have leads to follow up from the SERA conference of other people who are also looking at policy. So emails have been sent and I’m hoping to further my thinking in this area soon.