Update on Spring Forum

We may be sold out for the forum on 16th May but don’t despair – we have created a waiting list in case of cancellations or withdrawals so if you would like to be included on the waiting list either add your name in a comment below or contact Alex. He is planning to email all unsuccessful applicants.

Stephen Heppell at the EU

Stephen Heppell at the EU

Opening up education through technologies: Towards a more systemic use for a smart, social and sustainable growth in Europe” 
9-11 December 2012

This is the “homework” Stephen Heppell has set for the European ministers n advance of his talk to them next week. Lots of interesting and relevant food for thought in the light of our recent SELMAS discussions on technology, teaching and learning. The questions for discussion at the bottom could form the basis of our own on-going conversations – let’s carry on the conversations either here, using the comments, or on twitter, with our hashtag #selmas2012

A few links from the conference

Carol Craig’s website

Carol Craig’s resources on mindset for working with young people

The Creating Confidence Handbook

Area for people working with children and youth

Carol Craig draws heavily on the work of Carol Dweck on fixed and growth mindsets. Dweck has previously attended the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow – you can watch a recording of her talk in 2009, and see the mindset work above.

Referenced by Don Ledingham, a synposis of Dennis Mongon and Richard Leadbetter’s book on School Leadership for Public Value

Preston Lodge pupils’ presentation: a pupils’ perspective on learning in the 21st century

The Pupil’s Perspective of Learning in The 21st Century on Prezi

Don Ledingham’s presentation on the Seven Sides of Educational Leadership

Govan High pupils share their thoughts on #SELMAS2012

On the 27th of November 3 Govan High pupils attended a SELMAS conference along with two teachers and the pupils were; Katie Hughes, Billijo Graham and Jennifer Baird. The conference was held in the Stirling Management Centre in Stirling University. As pupils, we found the conference enlightening and intriguing. During the conference there were guest speakers Craig Munro, Carol Craig, pupils from Preston Lodge and Don Ledingham. These speakers spoke in different ways and made us see the development of education in a new light. The main points we took from Craig Munro was ‘the point of context’. Craig Munro said you can’t judge a school purely on the figures. You have to look at the context, for example, taking into consideration factors such as ethnicity and deprivation in areas. Carol Craig spoke more about the mind and reminded us of a course we took called PX2. Don Ledingham came across as a passionate man while speaking. He made us believe he had a genuine care for our community. While speaking he interacted with the audience and used strong hand gestures. The most fascinating presentation was from Preston Lodge. They spoke about technology in schools, they told us about how they had developed the use of Google drive and documents with their teachers. They also explained how they had developed the use of twitter. The use of these devices in our opinion would enhance discussion and communication between teachers and pupils. This was very appealing to us as we think that we tend to struggle with homework and having contact with teachers out of school hours and this would improve this problem massively. But we cannot use these devices in school as they are blocked. We think this is ridiculous and Glasgow City Council are completely out of order. They are implying that teachers can’t supervise a class because the restrictions are in place and the council believe the pupils will take advantage and go onto inappropriate websites. After seeing the conference, wished we could have a chief executive in our council like Don Ledingham. The main thing we took from Carol Craig’s presentation was that it made us think about how should think about ourselves. As ‘Graduate’ pupils we are led to believe that we are not better than anyone else but Carol made us think that perhaps we should feel better about ourselves and if we don’t then there’s a problem. Everyone should have that mindset. Overall we took a lot from the conference and throughout we were undoubtedly engrossed in the ideas from the speakers.

Katie Hughes Billijo Graham Jennifer Baird

Join our online community on Glow: more SELMAS wisdom online!

Our blog here will  keep you  up to date with all our news, events and  publications. You can favourite this blog in your bookmarks, follow it if you’re a blogger yourself or receive automatic updates every time a post is published by clicking the RSS button on the left hand sidebar.  In addition to this we also have an online professional learning community on Glow:  :http://bit.ly/selmashome where using various tools, you can
connect with colleagues interested in SELMAS, (see the connect area)
share your leadership knowledge and experiences;(add something to the share area)
engage in further online professional learning opportunities (have a look at the learn area)
keep track of how your professional  learning is helping you change your practice (in the change area)
In advance of Wednesday’s conference, I’d like to invite you to join our online community by adding yourself to the it in connect area – just follow the instructions on the page (you need to have your Glow login and a photo handy). We’ll spend a bit of time exploring our online spaces on Wednesday but meantime, we are looking forward to seeing you at both our online and face to face learning opportunities!

SELMAS conference: Upfront and Visible Leadership – finalised programme

Our national conference is fast approaching and we are looking forward to seeing everyone in Stirling on Wednesday 28th November. The event has almost sold out, but if you would like to check for availability, contact Alex Wood . Here is the finalised programme for the day – it promises to be interesting, stimulating and we’re also hoping to build – in an online  .dimension to the experience as well, more details on the day.



Registration 09.00 – 09.30
Chairperson’s Introduction:
Danny Murphy
09.30 – 09.40
Keynote Presentation: Raising Ambition Against the Odds, an interactive talk and discussion    

Craig Munro
09.40 – 10.40
Coffee 10.40 – 11.00
Keynote Presentation: Fostering Confidence and Ambition                                                                         Dr Carol Craig                                                     11.00 – 11.45
Presentation: Preston Lodge HS students                                             11.45 – 12.15
Lunch 12.15 – 13.00
Keynote Presentation: Seven Sides of Educational Leadership: Creating ‘space’ for innovation

Don Ledingham  
13.00 – 13.30
Group tasks and discussion 13.30 – 14.00
Tea/ Coffee and cakes 14.30 – 15.00
Panel and discussion:   Eleanor Jess, Donna Murray Jon Reid      15.00 – 15.30
Summary: Danny Murphy                                                  15.30 – 15.45

Danny Murphy who will be chairing today’s conference, is former founder Director of the Centre for Educational Leadership at the University of Edinburgh, has been headteacher of three Central Scotland schools (Crieff, Mclaren and Lornshill) and is now part-time Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and freelance educationist. He is the author of School Leadership: Dealing with Dilemmas (2007, 2nd edition due next year) and School Leadership (with Jim O’Brien and Janet Draper) (2nd edition 2008).

Dr Carol Craig, Centre for Confidence and Well-being: In this presentation Carol Craig will look at the main barriers to the development of individual self-confidence in Scotland and why she thinks modern, materialistic culture has a profoundly negative effect on how people feel about themselves. She will then outline the type of changes she thinks are required to foster confidence and ambition.

Craig Munro, Head of Education (Fife Council), recently seconded as Strategic Director (Performance/Strategy) in Education Scotland.Until recently Craig chaired the ADES Performance and Improvement Network and was a member of the ADES Executive.Craig will discuss some of the barriers to raising attainment and ambition in Scotland and give practical examples of how some of these barriers can be overcome. He will draw on his experience as a teacher and in school leadership as well as his recent involvement in the preparation of the ADES raising attainment publications.

Don Ledingham, Executive Director of Services for People, East Lothian Council and Director of Education and Children’s Services, Midlothian Council. Don Ledingham will explore in his presentation how educational leaders can make effective use of a values-based leadership decision framework which can help them to create the necessary conditions and ‘space’ for innovation and break free from top-down hierarchical models of practice.

 Jamie Halvorsen, Laura Turnbull and Paul Smith, S6 Students at Preston Lodge High School, will present a pupil perspective on learning in the 21st century.

Eleanor Jess, headteacher at Riverside Primary in Stirling, Donna Murray, headteacher at Lochrin and Grassmarket Nursery Schools in Edinburgh, and Jon Reid, headteacher at Larbert High School, will provide the panel for the afternoon session.

Latest SELMAS event – Up-front and visible educational leadership: challenging the Scottish psyche

Stirling Management Centre, Wednesday 28th November 2012

SELMAS is following its highly successful 2011-12 conference, No School is an Island, and its spring forum, with a conference for 2012-13 which will challenge how Scottish educational leadership sees itself and the tasks it faces in these difficult times. Here is an opportunity to hear three superb presenters and a panel of current leading practitioners discussing big issues in Scottish education and Scottish society.

Carol Craig is Chief Executive of the Centre for Confidence and Well-Being. She is author of The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People and The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow. One of the most challenging writers and thinkers in contemporary Scotland, Carol has a wealth of experience to offer an educational audience.

Craig Munro, head of education in Fife, recently seconded to Education Scotland as Strategic Director for strategy, performance and corporate resources. Craig chaired the recent ADES performance and improvement network.

Don Ledingham, Executive Director of Services for People in East Lothian Council and Director of Education and Children’s Services in Midlothian Council and high profile innovator will speak on the seven sides of educational leadership – creating space for innovation.

This year’s conference is being held in the superb setting of the Stirling Management Centre at Stirling University. The cost for the day, including lunch, is £70 per delegate, but in keeping with its recent practice, SELMAS is offering any organisation which sends two delegates, providing at least one of them has never attended a previous SELMAS event, two places for £100.

Places can be booked by contacting Alex Wood, SELMAS Secretary, alexander.wood@blueyonder.co.uk

SELMAS, a community of independent education practitioners, supporting, encouraging and provoking mature conversations about education.

SELMAS 2011: Donaldson and me

Catriona May 25th 2011

The theme of the recent SELMAS dinner on May 24th at the St George’s Centre, Edinburgh was Donaldson and Me and a succession of impressive speakers shared their personal responses to the Teaching Scotland’s Future review.

The themes picked up by the various speakers didn’t hugely surprise: Linda McTavish, Principal of Anniesland College was enthused by the prominence of partnership working in the review, and talked about how this was a functional necessity in her setting – without their partnerships with business, industry, schools etc the college really couldn’t operate. This addressed the issue of providing a bit of the “how” that was identified in discussion as missing from the report – bearing this in mind, sharing the Anniesland experience in partnership building and working might be a useful thing to do.

Jaqueline Scott, HT at Trinity Prmary School Edinburgh mentioned improving quality and entry selection as priorities, and also called for greater flexibility with time commitments for probationers, suggesting greater flexibility with time management and allocations for probationers. She suggested longer continuous stretches in class, then concentrated, focussed periods out of class to really reflect, share, consolidate and build on their experience. The weekly 0.7/0.3 split is sometimes seen as rigid and disruptive, and it stands to reason that a more flexible system would be more user friendly. Something for further discussion at the Probationer Support event we’re organising next week at SMC.

Gillian Hamilton was on her favourite subject – leadership; and asking what difference Donaldson will make to this theme. Looking to the future, the role of HTs will no doubt change, as it already has since Gillian was in the role and not necessarily in a positive way, with more attention to risk assessment, budgeting, behaviour and grievances tending to sometimes eclipse the HTs role as lead learner in a school. The virtual college, as suggested by Donaldson via the national CPD team, will provide a focus for CPD and connecting school leaders and should also help shape and support the various leadership roles a forward-thinking profession for the future might require.

The most contentious discussion of the evening came during the panel discussion at the end when Cara Aitchison Head of School at Moray House, Edniburgh saw Donaldson’s recommendations as an invitation to the TEIs in Scotland to diversify and offer specialisms, but suggested that the “traditional” model of teacher education ( research and university based) is best suited to an institution like Edinburgh, and more “vocational” approaches might be better if left to ” institutions in the west.” Not surprisingly, there was quite a reaction to this Interesting! No matter how teachers enter the profession, there is some merit in what Stephen Heppell says: “if they can’t make schools spectacularly good, what are they doing training teachers?” It makes sense – TEIs should be modelling the best in education and for a profession fit for our times, is that best done through lectures, essays and seminars? This relates tangentially to the discussion but is relevant none the less.

Other memorable moments: HT from Govan said his best teacher was his granny because

she knew him
she loved him
she knew how to get the best out of him. Simple, really.
And another HT from Edinburgh expressed some concern at the homogeneity of students coming into the profession; regretting the demise of the outlyers, the mavericks, the independent thinkers (and operators) who took risks, often defied authority and still commanded respect, made big impressions and like the aforementioned granny, got the best out of young people.

Sadly the discussion was just beginning to get interesting when the evening was brought to a close. SELMAS is a loosely constituted, open organisation which provides a forum for leadership – I hope we continue the conversations.

Comments on this post:

Margaret Alcorn May 26th, 2011 at 7:13 am
It was a fascinating evening. If you’d like to know more about SELMAS or are interested in being added to our contact list for future events then please email me.

Catriona May 26th, 2011 at 4:04 pm
Jacqueline Scott spoke of the challenge of encouraging all staff to engage in CPD – this article might be of interest: “School professionals’ attitudes to professional development in a networked context: developing the model of believers’ seekers, and sceptics.”
Available in the Professional Development in Education journal

Lindsay Paterson May 31st, 2011 at 3:09 pm
The discussion sounds interesting, and the responses intriguing. If Donaldson is to get us anywhere it will have to recognise that amongst the many problems with the way in which we have understood teaching is the untenable distinction between ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ expertise. The vocational needs the theoretical, not only empirically grounded theories of learning, child development, cognitive functioning and psychology, but also – in many instances – the scientific, technological and social scientific theories which are indispensable to the effective use of applied knowledge. That is as true of, let us say, Anniesland College as of Edinburgh University. The ‘academic’, on the other hand, is never merely that, because all knowledge, however theoretical, is also at some point applied because it is about how our minds work and how they seek to understand each other and the world around us: to draw a distinction between science and technology, or between literary studies and human discourse, or between social science and the everyday understandings that we all seek to have of how our society works is not only untenable intellectually, but also utterly unhelpful to the teacher in the classroom.
The most admirable feature of Donaldson’s report is its recognition that teaching needs better theory – theories of knowledge, and theories of learning and teaching – and also that those theories which are adduced in support of teaching must not only be more rigorously developed than they are at present, but also must be more consistently applicable. If my own university (Edinburgh) has anything to contribute here, it might be in the range of disciplines through which it seeks to develop knowledge that is part of the school curriculum, and knowledge also that is about how people learn; but, if that university does have a role to play, it can only do so by recognising that such knowledge is developed in many other places right across Scotland, and that, in particular, the understanding of how to make the knowledge useful to pedagogical practice is the monopoly of no-one.

Margaret Alcorn June 6th, 2011 at 12:38 pm
Thanks for this, Lindsay. The issue you raise regarding the need for academic and practical expertise to be seen as individually necessary and together sufficient formed much of the discussion at my table at SELMAS. A couple of colleagues expressed the view that the Donaldson Review had somewhat flinched from exploring how the challenge implicit in this might be taken forward. However from the discussion at this and other recent events, it seems there is a shared commitment among many educators to finding opportunities for university staff and teaching staff to work together in new and innovative ways, and it seems clear that this process will require more recognition of and respect for the expertise and knowledge that already exists across the educational community.