Excellence in the education sector recognised at GTCS National Awards
Professionals working in Scotland's education sector were recognised for their excellence in professional learning at a GTCS Awards celebration
GTC Scotland celebrated their second annual Excellence in Professional Learning Awards in partnership with Education Scotland, Leckie & Leckie and SQA this week.
GTCS Chief Executive and Registrar, Ken Muir, said:
"The GTCS Professional Learning Awards programme is about recognising and celebrating the commitment to high quality professional learning and leadership of learning which international research shows has the potential to transform the lives of children and young people in our schools and education settings."
Excellence in Professional Learning Awards for Schools and Learning COmmunities
This year's recipients of Excellence in Professional Learning Award for Schools and Learning Communities are listed below. Please click on the name for more details on the reasons behind the award.
Professional Recognition Award for Professional Learning Programmes
- Columba 1400 - Values Based Teacher Leadership
- East Lothian Council - Developing Leadership through a School Improvement Project
- Positive People Development - First Steps into Leadership and Management
- Tapestry Partnership - Leading Learning - the Lens of Middle Leadership
- West of Scotland Development Education Centre (WOSDEC) - Global Citizenship
Professional Learning Award for Organisations
- Dyslexia Scotland
- Royal Conservatoire Scotland
- Scotland's Enterprising Schools
- Scottish Film Education
- Scottish Schools Education Research Centre - SSERC
- Tapestry Partnership
The GTCS Convener's Professional Values Award
Presented to an individual who has shown outstanding leadership and who expemlifies through their work and contributions to education, the GTCS Professional Values of Trust, Respect, Integrity, Professional Commitment and Social Justice.
- Mig Coupe - Head of Direct Help and Support - Salveson Mindroom
Photographs from this year's ceremony are available here
Dunbar Primary School
Dunbar Primary School is the largest Primary School in East Lothian with a role of 1237. There clearly is a strong strategic and holistic vision of professional learning and the ‘school community strives to provide a happy, secure and stimulating environment where children are motivated to learn, are valued as individuals and are encouraged to reach their full potential’.
The GTCS team who visited the school were very appreciative of the open, honest and reflective nature of the school community. All staff, pupils, parents and partners spoke of their pride in the school as a learning community and a place to learn. Across the day it was clear that the professional trust placed in staff created a dynamic attitude to professional learning, and that this is a dynamic learning environment.
The Headteacher and School Leadership Team act as strong professional learning role models and there is real evidence that professional learning is collaborative with staff encouraged and supported to ask questions, critically engage with policy and take risks in their own learning. There is a culture of creating space and time for staff to engage fully in professional learning which is supported by an embedded culture of coaching. The promotion of, and support for, teacher agency to build capacity and ensure a strong focus on learning and teaching was clearly evident.
Leaders of Learning, Glasgow City Council
Glasgow’s Leaders of Learning was imagineered through a strong strategic vision from Glasgow City Council to provide the very best learning opportunities to positively impact on the lives of all young people across Glasgow. The Scottish Attainment Challenge funding allowed primary school practitioners to be released as ‘Challenge Leaders of Learning’ to take forward targeted interventions and in turn build capacity within their own establishments.
The development of a range of sustainable programmes of learning form part of the work that Glasgow’s Leaders of Learning lead across the city in schools and this strategic focus has significantly shifted teaching practice and has helped to build professional capital. There was a strong sense that teachers felt empowered and part of a culture which establishes the teacher-as-learner through sharing research and high quality learning and teaching and resources. This in turn has that encouraged teachers to contextualise the learning for their own settings and the needs of their learners. During the course of the one day visit the GTCS panel witnessed the strong developing leadership culture as a result of the quality of leadership of and for learning fostered by the Glasgow’s Leaders of Learning, and described this as “true collaborative professionalism in action”.
Kelso High School, Scottish Borders Council
Kelso High School in the Scottish Borders is an outward looking school that seeks opportunities beyond the learning campus to engage young people in real world life experiences to help raise attainment and achievement for all young people.
The Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team strongly believe that creating a culture for learning for all is vital to the success of the school and this is well supported with significant investment of time and resources. The learning culture puts teacher agency at the core of improvement, underpinned by a clear vision that supports growth for all learners. All staff were encouraged to take leadership roles and be innovative and creative to improve the life chances of all the young people.
The GTCS Team who visited the school were impressed by the positive culture and ethos that promotes and supports Professional Learning and felt that this was reflected in the positive relationships between all members of the learning community and, in particular, the peer support staff offered to each other as staff learn about their learning together.
The model of Professional Learning and enquiry was demonstrated to support teachers as learners and there are excellent opportunities for collaborative learning across the learning community and beyond. Young people in this learning community benefited from their teachers undertaking practitioner enquiry and the young people feel their voices are heard and actioned.
Leadership of Learning Community (family Groups), North Lanarkshire Council
The Leadership Learning Community involves all Primary Headteachers in North Lanarkshire Council organised into “Family Groups” based on similar characteristics with each group supported by a lead Headteacher as well as local authority personnel. At the heart of this Leadership Learning Community is the deeply interconnected relationship between the Headteacher-as-learner and the learning that is enabled within their schools.
There is real clarity of vision and professional trust in schools from the Authority to empower school leaders to find their own solutions through a self-improving school system.
The climate and conditions are facilitated but not imposed by the Authority, allowing Headteachers to learn together, grow and authentically build capacity. Learning by enquiring is central to the Family Group meetings with Headteachers asking critical questions about themselves as leaders, their school, pupils and the systems they operate in. Reflection, research and reading are the catalyst for learning, with a range of resources used to provide real opportunities to critically examine knowledge and impact. Professional discussion is focused on leadership of and for learning with Headteachers enacting collaborative and enquiring approaches to their practice.
The objective of a ‘self-improving school’ system to facilitate effective practice transfer, leading to ongoing improvement across all establishments’ is at the core of the Professional Learning support, giving clear ownership of this to Headteachers.
St Andrew’s Secondary School, Glasgow City Council
There is a very strong strategic vision for learning across the St Andrew’s Secondary School with high quality leadership clearly evident and well developed at all levels. There is a vibrant, culture of learning and this learning takes place in the context of a school community where over 75% of the young people live in SIMD 1 and 2, with another 10% in SIMD 3. The whole school vision aligns with this focus on leadership and learning and professional learning is at the heart of making this school a successful, caring place to learn for all.
There is real investment in time for professional learning with close care paid to sustainability of the initiatives. Coaching is very real and present as part of the culture of learning and is central to the ethos of learning, with professional dialogue making a real difference to promoting the growth of professional capital. Teachers are actively encouraged to understand the impact of their learning through critically examining a wide range of sources of information and are encouraged to develop their professional voice and act as leaders of change.
The Panel commended the motivation of staff and their willingness to really embrace professional learning; there is evidence of meaningful engagement because teachers described it as ‘worth it’. As professionals, staff were supported to excel and to find their passion for learning.
Nurturing North Ayrshire team, North Ayrshire Council
Creating the culture for Nurturing North Ayrshire to thrive is underpinned by systems and a deeply held belief that long-term, sustainable impact and change are achieved by investing in staff and their professional learning.
Leadership and vison are wrapped around all Nurture and Restorative approaches with Quality Improvement Frameworks underpinning the focus and helping drive this work forward. There is a targeted focus on building the capacity of leaders and teachers by giving them the professional currency and knowledge to support the cultural change required. There is clear modelling of expectations at every level which is central to creating Nurturing cultures for children and staff.
The whole school approach to developing a Nurturing Culture ensures that this work is not solely about Nurture bases but applies to all children and young people. There is evidence of the impact at whole school level in terms of a greater awareness of the well-being of children and young people through understanding nurture principles and their application.
The Nurture team’s commitment to their own professional learning influences change and improvements across the professional learning provision for all staff, which was described as ‘we teach best as learners and learn best as teachers’.
Riverside Primary School, Stirling Council
Riverside Primary School’s vision of ‘Be the best you can! (Dèan do dhìcheall)’ is shared and enacted by the wider school community and is supported by a clear strategic vision where professional learning supports the school on its continuing journey of change.
There is a very strong sense of collegiality within the school community, with collaborative learning embedded at all levels and a clear focus on the intended impact on children and young people. There are many opportunities for rich professional dialogue, which is often linked to professional reading, and for staff to share learning and practice. Staff are supported to take leadership roles and innovation and creativity are actively encouraged.
There is a commitment from the Senior Leadership Team that all significant changes adopted as part of the School Improvement Process will be based on research, with teachers supported to undertake enquiry which is relevant to the context of their class or stage. Staff refer to the ethos of trust and support which empowers their commitment to this approach which may involve ‘stepping out with their comfort zone.’
The supportive ethos, which is evident through the positive relationships between the Senior Leadership and wider staff team, encourages staff to engage fully in professional learning. This is acknowledged and valued by staff who feel that they are actively encouraged to take ownership of their own learning and to be reflective practitioners.
St Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow City Council
The community that St Mungo’s Academy serves is one of the most deprived in Scotland. The GTCS team who visited the school felt that teachers and young people were empowered through strong professional values and that these were demonstrated in action. Leadership of and for learning which establishes the teacher-as-learner was evident through the energy and strategic vision of the school leadership.
There is a genuine sense of a strong moral imperative from teachers about their own learning and the importance of the impact of this on pupil learning and achievement. Teachers described how they have the power to actively respond to the needs of each and every young person in the school because the young people need them to reach their full potential through learning. Coaching conversations formally and informally challenge teachers to really examine their professional identity though the values. They are able to critically reflect on their regularly because of the daily challenges that the young people face, and are able to use these reflections as a catalyst for their professional learning.
This is a real sense of collective responsibility from teaching staff and collaborative professionalism is nurtured through frequent and focussed professional dialogue across participants in the whole learning community. Pupils, teachers, university partners and college partners connect through different professional learning activities. It was clear that teachers seem to have such infectious enthusiasm as leaders of learning across the school.