The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling will be hosting a seminar ‘Are Current Educational Reforms Really Democratic?’, led by Professor Michael Apple The seminar will take place on Monday 20 June, at 4pm. Professor Apple is one of the foremost educationists in the world, and the seminar promises to be both stimulating and challenging, as well as very relevant in the context of current educational reforms in Scotland. To sign up for this free event, please reserve your place on our eventbrite link
We are sharing this on behalf of Sue Palmer from Upstart. You may have seen some information about this new organisation at our forum dinner last week. More posts about that to follow shortly!
Our friends at SERA are holding a free network discussion on Closing the Gap. Please follow the link below if you wish to attend.
We are hosting a joint event between the SERA Leadership in Education and the SERA poverty networks focussing upon Closing the Gap. It will take place at the University of Strathclyde on Tuesday 26th April 5.30pm – 7.30pm in the Graham Hills Building, 40 George St, Glasgow. The event is free and open to SERA and non-SERA members (please see leaflet). If you are interested in attending the event can you please register here and pass this communication on to any other colleagues whom you think would be interested.
“Closing the Achievement Gap: An Impossible Challenge?”
We cordially invite you to register for our much anticipated annual forum
“Closing the Achievement Gap: An Impossible Challenge?”
May 12th 6.00pm (Drinks from 5.30pm)
St George’s School Conference Centre
£32 per person or £35 per person with invoice payment
Food for thought will be provided by our speakers:
Sue Brookes joined SPS in 1987 as a Prison Governor and has worked in 8 establishments in Scotland with all types of offenders ( of all sentence lengths), as well as spending two periods in SPS Headquarters engaged in organisational policy and planning and a short time on project development at the Scottish Prison Service College .
Sues’ current operational posting is as Governor of HMYOI Polmont working with young men aged 16-21. Most of her career has been spent working with high risk, long term male offenders, often in small unit settings, though she was also Governor of Cornton Vale (Scotlands prison for women) between 2002-2006 , and Governor of Edinburgh Prison before transfer to Polmont.
Sues’ most recent previous role in HQ as Head of Offender Strategy and Partnership Development included close liaison with the Community Justice Authorities and the Scottish Governments’ Reducing Reoffending Programme. Sue has contributed to the development of SPS strategy for both Women and Young People in custody and in 1997 wrote the ‘ACT’ strategy which continues to form the basis of the SPS approach to the care of vulnerable prisoners. Sue was also responsible for a national review of SPS incident management policy and practice in recent years.
Sue was previously a Board member of Families Outside , APEX Scotland and a member of the Sentencing Commission for Scotland. She has participated in or given evidence to a range of Scottish Government policy development groups and scrutiny bodies and worked closely with Local Authority partners whilst in HQ and establishment roles.
Sue holds an LLB in Law from Oxford, an MSC in criminology from Edinburgh and an MBA from the Open University and is married with three children.
Paul Reynolds Headteacher Ross High School
Raised in Lanarkshire and finishing his schooling in the States, Paul went on to study Physics at St. Andrews University. He started his teaching career in Zambia through Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) before returning to teach in St Modan’s, Stirling. Paul then moved to the Highlands where he taught Maths and Physics in Mallaig HS, eventually becoming PT Guidance. In 2006 he started as the Curriculum DHT in Lochaber HS, Fort William. After 5 years he moved remit to Pupil Support. In 2013 he became the Head Teacher of Ross High School in Tranent. He has a strong belief in the importance of Education for all and this rests firmly in the Aims and Values of the school. When not in school, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma, and two young children, Ruby and Nina; with the occasional trip to Gullane Golf Course. As part of the Senior Management Education Board in East Lothian he is part of the strategic group in the Council looking at how best to raise attainment for all children.
Craig Munro Executive Director, Education and Children’s Services, Fife Council.
Craig was appointed as Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services in Fife Council in December 2013, overseeing Education and Learning, Children and Families Social Work and Criminal Justice. Craig was previously Strategic Director at Education Scotland with responsibility for school inspections, implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), performance improvement and corporate strategy. He started his career as a physics teacher in Perth and has held various school leadership roles in Perth and Fife before being appointed as Head of Education in Fife in 2007.
Craig speaks regularly at national conferences and has been involved in a range of boards advising on many aspects of national policy development. He is the Chair of the ADES Director’s Forum and is currently a member of the strategic board developing the National Improvement Framework as well as the CfE Implementation Board.
Joe Wilson Youthlink Scotland, Scottish Learning Partnership
Joe is the former Chief Executive of the College Development Network and currently an Independent Educational Consultant working on a number of assignments for Awarding bodies, Universities and public agencies across UK and internationally.
He is currently one of the UK Ambassadors for the Association of Learning Technology, A Microsoft Innovative Educator, Board Member of Youth Link Scotland and a Trustee of the Clyde Foundation.
He has also been a non-executive director and board member of the SCQF Partnership, The Scottish Adult Learning Partnership and served on a number of College Boards of Management.
Previously he has been – Head of New Ventures and Business Manager at the Scottish Qualifications Authority, senior Project Manager at the Scottish Further Education Unit, and held a number of management posts in Colleges.
Joe began his career in education as a teacher of English and History
His interests lie in bridging the academic/vocational divide; the skill sets and cultural changes needed to embrace digital change in learning; quality and standards in vocational education.
An active blogger and tweeter you can follow Joe on his blog www.joewilsons.net or @joecar on twitter
He holds an MA (hons) , MBA, DipEd and PGCSE but increasingly develops his skills through massive open on-line programmes from a range of global providers and is building up a collection of open badges and new forms of credential.
Joe lives in Glasgow with wife , two children , two cats and an 80 year old tortoise.
Between courses of excellent food accompanied by a glass of wine, you will have the opportunity to discuss your thoughts and ideas, and join in the debate with colleagues from different educational settings. You can then put your questions and comments to the panel at the end of the evening.
The evening will be hosted by Margaret Alcorn, Convenor of SELMAS and chaired by Ewan Aitken, Chief Executive Officer, Edinburgh Cyrenians. We look forward to seeing you there!
SELMAS friends and members might be interested in these two forthcoming events at the University of the West of Scotland:
Democracy and Education
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of John Dewey’s famous work Democracy and Education. This conference aims to reflect on the legacy and significance of Dewey’s thinking for 21st century education, but also to consider the more general issue of the relationship between democracy and education in current times.
Keynote speakers include Richard Pring, and Walter Humes. Based at our attractive Ayr campus, on the scenic west coast of Scotland, this conference promises to be a stimulating and enjoyable event.
Details of submission for abstracts and applications can be found here: Democracy and Education UWS Conference
2016 also marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of the French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-84).This interdisciplinary conference aims to reflect on the work of Michel Foucault and in particular on the question of its abiding relevance and value.
Keynote speakers include Stephen Ball, Mark Olssen, and Clare O’Farrell. Based again at our attractive Ayr campus, on the scenic west coast of Scotland, this conference promises to be a stimulating and enjoyable event. Foucault@90 UWS Conference
Equity and Aspiration in Education; The Caves, Edinburgh
Reflecting on the conference I was struck by one particular issue raised by Carol Craig, Chief Executive of the Centre for Confidence and Well-being and author of ‘The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence’. After the last few months of witnessing the unfolding of the refugee crisis in Europe, 13 November saw two opposite and equally momentous events unfolding. At almost the same time as Scotland welcomed the first group of refugees from Syria and offered a hand of friendship and opportunity, the people of Paris were subjected to a horrific attack on their liberty. I considered how the values of equity and aspiration are reflected in completely opposite ways in these events and Carol Craig raised this very issue in her keynote address.
Carol spoke of the way in which the balance of equality and equity in society equate to citizens’ general sense of self-esteem. She explained to the conference how research indicates that, as these values decline, low self-esteem becomes a breeding ground for the outworking of actions such as bullying and race related violence by those who feel they are at the bottom off the social pecking order as they seek out others whom they see as even lower than they are to blame and lash out at. I contemplated whether or not this might be part of what we are witnessing in the sink estates of Paris?
On a lighter note ….
This year’s conference was organised to take place in a unique venue and at the outset Neil Craik-Collins provided us with an insight into its historical significance. During the 18th Century the Caves were one of the venues used by the Oyster Club whose members included James Hutton (father of modern geology) David Hume (philosopher), Joseph Black (chemist) and Adam Smith (economist). Members engaged in deep thinking and debate about the issues of the day, this we intended to emulate while stopping short of eating oysters, drinking claret, and indulging in communal orgy!!
Neil reminded us that, although Adam Smith is remembered as an economist and is often misquoted in the context of capitalist thinking, his intent was to ensure that an economic system would provide an equitable society where every worker would have the means to “wear a linen shirt”.
Our own Oyster Club namesake, Professor Walter Hume provided the first keynote address .Walter, by his own admission, is well known for disturbing the status quo and did not disappoint!
His amusing and yet incisive comments challenged current political policies aimed at ‘Closing the Gap’ and raising attainment as inadequate since school equality on its own will not achieve social equality while reminding us of the notoriety of politics as a short term game where politicians often use “policy a spectacle” [e.g. standardised testing?] and only add to the problem.
Considering leadership he questioned the current emphasis on school leadership, pushing responsibility (and blame?) onto head teachers while their hands are tied by the policy makers. How would you assess the quality of leadership at the upper levels of the educational establishment?
So…..what impact is all of the policy making, discussion and debate really having on young people? Care leaver, ex young carer and now poverty campaigner, Chris Kilkenny’s (twitter: @KilkennyChris) experience, in a society which prides itself on providing free education for all, provided a real wake up call. As a young boy Chris’s story was used as part of the ‘Wrong Trainers’ series and he explained how his choices at school were limited because there was no money in the family to pay for things like Home Economics, school trips etc. Without blame or self-pity Chris articulated how it really is and what really can make a difference to a young person in poverty. His solutions were not sweeping policy changes or grandiose schemes but a considered plea to simply care. Care about the young people in your class, school and community. Ask if they are OK? Keep asking even if they reject you, don’t let anyone be invisible, make sure education really is free. Chris challenged us to consider: What one thing could you do to make a difference to one young person today?
Jim McColl has certainly taken that challenge personally and is currently making a real difference to the lives of the young people who now attend Newlands Junior College, Glasgow. Seeking to close the ‘opportunity gap’ for ‘young people who are trapped’ in the poverty cycle, Jim echoed Chris’s plea for relationship building with the young people and their families, challenging the lack of parity between vocational and academic education. While I admire this initiative and am grateful that someone is indeed doing his bit to make a difference, it seems to me unfortunate that Jim has had to develop an independent school in order to achieve this. Perhaps GIRFEC really means that there is a need to provide more appropriate provision to meet the needs of our young people in more diverse ways and not maintain what we have been guilty of in recent years i.e. an interpretation of inclusion which forces the impossible on comprehensive schools, expecting them to be ‘all things to all men’ and recognising that one size will not fit all!
Meanwhile, within the state system, Gerry Lyons was able to provide a positive and encouraging account of his very successful comprehensive school where 67% of the young people live in homes on the lowest 15% income brackets. Using what he says staff affectionately call a ‘Stalinist’ approach his mantra is “never settle for second best”. By applying this to every aspect of schooling from employing the best teachers to assertively encouraging and supporting young people, he described obstacles as things which you can jump over or get around but commented that sometimes you just have to have the courage to barge through them. Schools need to have ‘extra mile’ people who are committed to doing everything they can to help young people achieve to the best of their ability. For me another reminder that whatever the policy makers decide it’s relationships with the young people and their families that will make the difference. Everybody needs to be doing the right thing Gerry challenged us to consider……….. What is your right thing?
While the Cabinet Secretary for Education reminded us that the government is committed to equity and excellence I came away encouraged that there is a recognition and a will amongst professionals who recognise that equity is not just about school education, it is about the whole system surrounding families and communities and not ignoring the resources the people themselves bring.
Schools can however be the places which make a real difference for young people. Lead by head teachers who have the courage and the conviction to make decisions about budgets, about people, about curriculum structures and about partnership working that will sustain a culture where not only young people, but professionals themselves, are encouraged, supported and given permission to do the right thing.
Jayne Horsburgh, SELMAS committee member
NCTL micro-enquiry research day on closing the gap- test and learn involved Professor Steve Higgins from Durham University, and seems to have inspired interest in quantitative research methods in small scale micro-enquiry projects.
Government department for business, innovation and skills: paper on socio-economic, ethnic and gender differences in participation in HE
Is Britain fairer? Here’s a link to an uptodate report on poverty and inequality that may be of interest to those attending out Equality and Aspiration conference on Friday 13th November. Thanks to Professor Kalwant Bhopal for the link via twitter. Is Britain Fairer? Report