SELMAS Conference 2010: Learning Rounds with Irene Whitford

SELMAS Conference 2010

Catriona September 13th, 2010

On September 3rd this year, educators from schools, centres, local authorities, national organisations and colleges came together for this year’s SELMAS Leadership Conference. The theme was: “Curriculum for Excellence: thinking differently to achieve success”, and as ever the delegates came to be challenged, stimulated and entertained by a range of speakers and lots of discussion and shared activities.

We were delighted that the Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning started off our conference. The keynote address was given by Richard Jennings, newly appointed Head of education in East Lothian who lead a lively, interactive session on Community Vehicles, offering one strategy to get people thinking about core values and the moral purpose of their work.

Keen as ever to hear practitioner voices, we then heard from four colleagues who are leading innovation within their own workplace. Jim Scott the headteacher of Perth High School, Irene Whitford, a teacher from Kirkliston Primary School. Here is Irene giving us a great insight into the Learning Rounds Experience

Elaine McGuire the head of the Pre-5 Centre in Shortlees Primary School and Lena Gray, the head of Policy and New Products at SQA, each described an aspect of their current practice, and delegates were invited to offer questions and comments. You can link to and download the brochure which Lena mentioned here. You can see the impact of these brief presentations in the feedback given by delegates.

The afternoon began with a session led by Alison Drever of Learning and Teaching Scotland. The  “Skunkworks” process, in essence, is about innovative answers to important questions. At the conference delegates were asked to step outside the realms of education to consider CfE from a different perspective. This culminated in a CfE think differently challenge which asked them to become the Google search engine and consider what the top hits might be if we typed ‘CfE, think differently’ into the search box.
The conference ended with a moving, challenging and thought-provoking presentation by Linda Borland, a Detective Inspector in the Violence Reduction unit, who told us David’s story. The conference were left with a clear understanding of the need to work differently, individually and collaboratively to offer better life chances to young people like David, and his son