Participants at our annual conference were treated to a range of talks, discussions and challenges around equity and education of young people on the margins of our system. Over the course of the day, everyone was invited to share a ‘Big Idea’ describing a reflection, action, or intention that was generated at the conference, and here they all are!
Our Big Ideas
o Every child in school needs a mentor with whom they feel connected
o Would changing the school holiday system help to support the most vulnerable, with emphasis on the development of a more holistic approach to education?
o Key components of success:
– notice and be noticed
– breaking the cycle
– local action
o How do we upskill teachers to practically and effectively support behaviour management?
o Recruitment drive to place well qualified , motivated staff in schools
o End the private school system
o John Swinney didn’t mention the responsibilities and contribution that parents/carers must assume at the earliest stages of a child’s life to get success. Is it conceivable that in years to come these vital people will be equipped to make that vital contribution?
o Regardless of SIMD or free school meal entitlement, there are more emotionally vulnerable pupils in our schools. We need counsellors to support these individuals and the budget to do it
o A one year “Working with Families” element of every undergraduate course where police, Social Workers, Education, Health, the Voluntary sector, Leisure, etc all learn together!! We train professionas separately then expect them to be holistic
o Relationships make a difference – small acts of kindness like smiling, welcoming families at school gate, asking, “How are you?”
o Restructuring of education – a move away from age and stage towards what young people need/want to be taught at a time that suits them.
o Upskilling parents to support their child
o Building trust
o Holistic support from birth
o Mental health practitioner in schools
o Has anyone closed the gap? How did they do it?
o How can we be creative and strategic in Edinburgh with attainment funds?
We need more family support workers in our schools and be as focused on how children/young people experience school and not just what they learn. Are they included, cared for and believed in?
o More training on mental health awareness and the impact it has on children and young people
o Does the Government see/feel that increased pressure on schools in terms of publishing standardised test results could conflict with the opportunities to be creative and courageous with pupil equity funding?
o If no more money, then adults spending time, building relationships. Fewer leading lessons – class sizes?
o Most adults who have had adverse childhood experiences say that they need 1:1 support from a trusted adult in school. As a teacher it frustrates me that specialised supports are not readily available and are usually services that are first to be cut when saving budgets,
o Too much/too little time testing? S4-s6 spend one third of their time doing exams, but literacy/numeracy declining?
o Scottish pilots – Pilrig or others? Starting school aged 7, more nursery instead?