Publication - Strategy/plan

2019 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan

Published: 11 Dec 2018
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781787814318

The framework sets out activity the Scottish Government and partners will take to drive improvement for children and young people.

89 page PDF

4.7 MB

89 page PDF

4.7 MB

Contents
2019 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan
Drivers of improvement: what the evidence is telling us and the action we will take

89 page PDF

4.7 MB

Drivers of improvement: what the evidence is telling us and the action we will take

The key drivers of improvement will continue to provide a focus and structure for gathering evidence to identify where further improvements can be made and for ensuring we have the evidence sources to contribute to our priorities, and to minimise unintended consequences. They all remain equally important and the links and connections across these key areas are essential to enable continuous improvement.

The following sections summarise what we know is working well under each of these drivers and the ongoing and new improvement activity. This has been informed by the evidence we have gathered for the NIF Interactive Evidence Report and softer information from our day to day interaction with schools, practitioners and other partners.

A more detailed explanation of the evidence gathered under each driver, what it is telling us and improvement activity resulting from this is set out at Annex A.

Drivers of improvement

School leadership

School leadership

What is this?

The quality and impact of leadership within schools – at all levels and roles.

Why is this important?

Leadership is recognised as a key driver of the success of any school. Leaders at all levels who are empowered and collaborative, and who empower others to take ownership of their own learning and teaching in a collaborative way, have a strong track record of ensuring the highest quality of learning and teaching. This in turn helps to ensure that all children and young people achieve the best possible outcomes. Gathering evidence on the quality of school leadership will help us to identify and share what works, and provide support and intervention where leadership needs to improve.

How will this help to achieve excellence and equity for all children and young people?

Evidence indicates that in the most effective systems, decisions about learning and teaching are made as close to the child or young person as possible, drawing on the expertise of the professionals who know them best and listening to the views of the child, young person and their family. School leaders play a critical role in creating a culture of empowerment and collaboration where curricular and learner pathways are designed and developed to meet the needs of children and young people. Through evaluating leadership and, crucially, leadership of change, we will be able to focus on where leadership action is delivering excellent outcomes for all children and young people and closing the attainment gap through targeted intervention. We will also have evidence on the extent to which the professional skills and competences of school leaders are being developed and maintained.

What is the evidence telling us?

Our education system has a growing number of empowered and motivated school leaders who engage in career-long professional learning to further develop their leadership skills, and who are keen to make a difference not just at school level, but across the wider system. Our school leaders are engaged and committed to improving outcomes for children and young people. Teachers are looking for new opportunities to develop and diversify their careers through new career pathways and leadership opportunities. In many schools, staff are supported by senior leaders to take on a range of leadership roles, and are working together to lead and implement improvement priorities.

Inspection evidence shows that most schools are satisfactory or better at leadership of change.

Improvement priorities for the year ahead

A key focus in 2019 will be to support and encourage the empowerment of school leaders and school communities, and to create a culture of collaborative and system leadership.

The Headteachers' Charter, new national guidance on empowering schools and a new self-evaluation framework for local authorities will be available to support partners throughout the system to work together to ensure meaningful empowerment and collaboration.

School leaders drive and promote a culture of professional enquiry, self-reflection and evidence-based practice. In 2019, Education Scotland will enhance the leadership support package, creating more opportunities and resources for leaders across the education sector to develop leadership skills and lead improvement at system level. More headteachers will have the opportunity to participate in Excellence in Headship, which enables school leaders to build capacity in a number of core areas including critical self-awareness, leadership of learning and organisational effectiveness. More school leaders will have the opportunity to develop values-based leadership by participating in Columba 1400 Headteacher Leadership Academies.

Leadership does not just happen in formal leadership and management roles. Teachers are leaders of learning and their classroom practice makes a huge difference to children and young people's outcomes. Education Scotland's Teacher Leadership programme has been developed to support classroom teachers to become confident in leading classroom practice in their context, and to develop against the GTCS Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning. A central feature of the programme is enquiring into an aspect of the teacher's classroom practice, developing their practice and reflecting on the learning arising in terms of their own leadership and for their learners.

The Independent Panel on Career Pathways has been considering how we can develop more diverse and exciting career pathways for teachers that will create more opportunities to enhance leadership skills. The Panel is due to report to the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers early in 2019 and its recommendations will be taken forward over the next year.

In 2019, Education Scotland will also work closely with the RICs to support a range of tailored leadership and professional learning activities designed to meet the needs identified by school leaders in each RIC area.

Case Study

Colin Bruce, Headteacher, Alloa Academy, Clackmannanshire

Colin Bruce, Headteacher, Alloa Academy, Clackmannanshire

In Alloa Academy, the Senior Management Team have focused their efforts in developing leadership at all levels. We have a 'values based' approach to leadership and promote a positive ethos by supporting both our students and staff. We are committed to developing our staff by providing opportunities that enable them to become the best they can be. An important part of this has been empowering our learners and staff.

The changes made to our staffing structure have ensured that not only do we meet our curriculum demands but also that we meet the needs within a local context, such as the challenges set out in the National Improvement Framework. Ultimately, we agreed a focus on 'leadership opportunities at all levels' as a key strategy to build capacity, whilst also working towards closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

A key feature of this development was using some of the Pupil Equity Funding, creating a 'Leadership Academy' whereby teaching staff, learning assistants, clerical staff and pupils have been given bespoke whole school commitments which are specifically aimed at closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Each member of the 'Leadership Academy' has engaged in a professional learning programme that supports their understanding of the issues behind poorer outcomes for some of our learners, and has focused their work on specific targeted roles. These roles Include:

  • Readiness 4 Leaning
  • Mental health
  • Parental Engaged
  • Developing the Young Workforce
  • Sharing practice through collaborative approaches
  • Literacy and Numeracy
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • 'Club Coffee' Coffee Shop

There have been some immediate improvements to outcomes from the 'Leadership Academy' initiative including:

  • Improved positive destinations data (16/17 87% vs 17/18 94%)
  • Reduced exclusions (16/17 29 vs 17/18 1)
  • Reduced referrals (15% drop)
  • Improved attendance
  • Improved attainment outcomes for S4s living in SIMD 1 (43% live in SIMD 1+2)
  • Pupil presentations on relationships at the Scottish Learning Festival

Another key feature of building capacity and empowerment is that every member of the Senior Management Team has engaged in Columba 1400. This has supported the development of a shared values-based leadership approach. The next stage of this work will be working with our learners and their families and Columba 1400.

Importantly, the focus on leadership has impacted on the Depute Headteachers, who have been central to planning, supporting and evaluating this approach. It is clear to see that they now have a greater sense of empowerment and take great pride in seeing their ideas lead to school improvement. Last but not least, staff who have engaged in the 'Leadership Academy' are now leading school improvements, and are more self-aware of their own leadership strengths and areas that they can further develop.

I am very pleased with the culture of empowerment and leadership that we have created collectively as we continue work to close the attainment gap and raise attainment.

Teacher professionalism

Teacher professionalism

What is this?

Teacher professionalism demonstrates the overall quality of the teaching workforce in Scotland and the impact of their professional learning on children and young people's progress and achievement.

Why is this important?

The quality of teaching is a key factor in improving children and young people's learning and the outcomes they achieve. In Scotland we have a highly professional, graduate teaching workforce with high professional standards set by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). It is important that we maintain our teachers' professionalism, and support them to engage in career-long professional learning to further increase their skills. The focus within the National Improvement Framework is on teacher professionalism, but we recognise that many other people make significant contributions to children and young people's learning and development.

How will this help to achieve excellence and equity for all children and young people?

There is a strong link between teachers' professional skills and competences and the quality of children and young people's learning experiences. Ensuring the highest professional standards for all teachers in Scotland will help to ensure the highest standards and expectations for all children and young people. Consistent, well-moderated teachers' professional judgement data on achievement of Curriculum for Excellence levels in literacy and numeracy will help us to focus accurately on the difference in attainment between the most and least disadvantaged children and young people, and take further action as a result. We want all new teachers to develop as enquiring, collaborative, and empowered professionals who are highly confident in teaching literacy and numeracy, supporting health and wellbeing, using technology and data effectively to enhance learning and teaching, and ensuring equality. This is critical to ensure the strongest possible progression in learning for all children and young people.

What is the evidence telling us?

Our teachers are highly committed, motivated and engaged in their own professional learning. We know from evidence gathered in previous years that the level of engagement in professional learning is increasing. More than three quarters of active teachers are now engaged in the five-yearly cycle of Professional Update, and the number of teachers being awarded GTCS Professional Recognition of their expertise is high and increasing year‑on‑year. This illustrates the teaching profession's commitment to professional learning, and the importance of continuing to recognise and celebrate the effort teachers make to enhance their skills.

Evidence suggests a strong appetite for a wide range of professional learning amongst teachers, including Masters level learning. In 2017/18, 1089 teachers benefited from the Scottish Government's investment in Masters level learning provided through local teacher education partnerships, with 530 teachers achieving a qualification at SCQF Level 11.

The evidence around initial teacher education (ITE) is less clear. The role of ITE is to ensure those entering the profession have the appropriate skills to teach, particularly in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. The introduction of a new self-evaluation framework, developed in partnership between Education Scotland, the Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE) and GTCS will be used to support universities to demonstrate the quality of learning and teaching in these priority areas and identify where more support is required. This work will be complemented by the findings from a longitudinal study already underway, which is intended to provide a detailed insight and understanding of how effectively ITE is preparing newly qualified teachers for the classroom. The Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE) project is a collaboration between all nine teacher education universities and the GTCS, and will track a cohort of newly qualified teachers through their first five years in the profession. We expect the findings to contribute significantly to the ongoing development, delivery and improvement of quality teacher education in Scotland and help to ensure that it remains able to adapt to the changing needs of our children and young people.

Improvement priorities for the year ahead

In 2019, Education Scotland will work with partners to develop a range of resources to support teachers and professional learning providers in using the new national model of professional learning, which identifies the key principles and features of effective learning that will build capacity and promote collaborative practices.

The evidence demonstrates a strong appetite amongst teachers for professional learning. In 2019 Education Scotland will expand the Framework for Educational Leadership to include professional learning activities for teachers, and work with subject associations to enhance teachers' access to subject-specific professional learning.

The Professional Learning Scoping Study carried out for the Strategic Board for Teacher Education in 2018 identified that teachers and professional learning providers would welcome greater clarity about the accreditation and endorsement of professional learning. In 2019 Education Scotland will work in partnership with GTCS to develop clear guidance on the endorsement and accreditation of professional learning, to help teachers and providers identify high quality professional learning opportunities.

The refresh of the GTCS Professional Standards is ongoing and GTCS intend to implement the new standards in August 2020. This is being taken forward in parallel with the empowering schools and career pathways work to ensure appropriate coherence. In 2018/19 the final cohort of GTCS registrants will engage in the Professional Update process. GTCS will undertake its 5-year longitudinal evaluation of the impact of Professional Update.

In its new regional capacity, Education Scotland will support professional learning priorities at regional as well as at national level.

Case Study

Max Gordon, PE teacher at Kelso High

Kelso High School, Scottish Borders

Kelso High School aims to create a culture of professional learning for all, with teacher agency at the centre. Collaborative Practitioner Enquiry is one way we try to achieve this. All staff undertake an enquiry by working in collaboration with their peers, and following a programme of development which is supported through the school calendar and professional learning program. The enquiries are linked to the School Improvement Plan with staff working on projects that interest them. The yearly programme culminates in all staff presenting their enquiry findings which are then used in the improvement planning process the next year.

Max Gordon, PE teacher at Kelso High says that:

"Being involved in Collaborative Practitioner Enquiry at Kelso High School has been very much an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It has helped me to become a more reflective practitioner and to feel empowered when trying new strategies to further enhance teaching and learning.

A major benefit of engaging with this approach was that I was able to tailor it to the needs of learners. Through pupil feedback and self-evaluation, I have been able to see the positive impact that Practitioner Enquiry has had on the quality of young people's learning experiences within my classes. This made the process both a relevant and very meaningful exercise.

I have also found great value in listening to my colleagues and learning from their experiences. By providing staff with opportunities to meet regularly, share, and present their findings it has helped our school to develop a culture of professional learning."

Kelso High School was a recipient of the General Teaching Council for Scotland's Excellence in Professional Learning Award 2018.

Videos relating to this approach, and the award, can be found online at the following links:

https://vimeo.com/channels/enquiry/261988198

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD1-maqO3H8

Parental engagement

Parental engagement

What is this?

This covers parental and family engagement in the learning of children and young people, as well as parental involvement in the life and work of school. Parental engagement focuses on ways in which parents, carers and families can best be supported to develop the skills and confidence to engage in, and encourage, their children's learning in school and in everyday life. Schools and partners can play a vital role in supporting families to do this effectively and with confidence.

Parental involvement includes parental representation in decision-making, collaboration between parents and educators in matters such as school improvement planning, using the skills of parents and carers to enrich the curriculum, and communication between home and early learning and childcare settings and school. It is about the partnerships and links between home and school, and the opportunities for parents and families to get involved in activities in a school or early learning and childcare setting.

Why is this important?

Research shows that when parents and carers engage in their children's learning, and when children and young people live in a supportive home learning environment, it improves children and young people's attainment and achievement. Family learning encourages family members to learn together, fostering positive attitudes to lifelong learning. We want to improve and increase the ways in which parents, carers and families can work with teachers and partners to support their children and young people. We also want to increase the voice of parents and carers in leading improvements within schools. Parental involvement ensures that parents can help to shape the ethos, activity and priorities for the school in partnership with school leaders.

How will this help to achieve excellence and equity for all children and young people?

Parental and family engagement is a key factor in helping all children and young people achieve the highest standards whilst reducing inequity and closing the attainment gap. Our 2016 review shows that family learning helps close the attainment gap through breaking the inter-generational cycles of deprivation and low attainment. Its effects can provide lasting impacts and improved outcomes. The information that we gather will inform our knowledge of where parental engagement and family learning and involvement is strong and where further attention is required. This will include monitoring levels of parental engagement and involvement in, and satisfaction with, learning provision in different communities.

What is the evidence telling us?

The evidence from the NIF Interactive Evidence Report indicates that overall satisfaction levels with schools amongst the general population (measured via the Scottish Household Survey) have fallen over the last six years. However, satisfaction levels amongst parents appear to be higher than amongst the general population (measured via pre-inspection questionnaires). Before school inspections take place, HM Inspectors issue questionnaires to parents and carers, which then give an indication of parents and carers' satisfaction with various aspects of the school to inform the inspection.

Pre-inspection evidence (albeit with important caveats about the representativeness of the data) indicates there are high levels of confidence amongst parents about approaching the school with questions, and that the school gave them advice on how to support their child's learning at home. It also indicates that most parents feel they are being kept informed about the work of the Parent Council.

As part of the development of the "Learning Together" National Action Plan, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland conducted in-depth engagement with key parental organisations. A number of key priorities emerged from the evidence-gathering phase for the plan. Key priorities included: improving the support to parents to ensure they have the opportunity to become more involved in the life and work of their children's early learning and childcare setting or school; better partnerships between practitioners, parents and families; getting the right support in place so that parents can engage in their child's learning; expanding access to family learning opportunities which meet participants needs; improving the quality of all communication between practitioners, staff, parents and families, and; enhancing the skills of leaders, front-line practitioners and support staff.

Improvement priorities for the year ahead

Key improvementactivity in 2019 will be taken forward across 13 key goals as identified in the joint Scottish Government / COSLA "Learning Together" National Action plan. This will include steps to strengthen guidance, develop training and support materials and to improve the links between home and school.

Case Study

Corsehill Primary and Early Years Class, North Ayrshire

Corsehill Primary and Early Years Class, North Ayrshire

Before formulating our vision, values and aims we had to ensure everyone in our school community understood the context we were working in. Multiple sources of data were used for this preparatory work. Data from Gov.Scot SIMD Interactive Mapping told us that:

  • 95% of our 17 to 21 year olds do not enter full time further education.
  • 13% of our 17 to 21 years olds not in further education, employment or training.
  • A third of our community require support for mental wellbeing
  • Attainment in the school was below average and children has low aspirations demonstrated in poor engagement with the wider life of the school.
  • Low self–esteem and a negative view of their community and local area was evident in attitudes in focus groups.

This gave us a real understanding of how we needed to support our children and families and the partners we would need to work alongside if we were to change lives. We understood from our data that we would need to create a bespoke curriculum that had a focus on health and wellbeing. This would be underpinned by a vision that would develop curiosity and a love of learning in children alongside their families to encourage them to be aspirational and realise their true potential.

Included in our vision, values and aims are specific ones for our families. This ensures we take a holistic view of the child, their school and home-life and work relentlessly to engage parents and change their attitudes and mindsets to school. For example:

  • Aspirational Mindset family workshops
  • University family visits
  • Family tracking meetings
  • Family empowerment coaching
  • Restorative training
  • Anti-sectarianism parent and child workshops as a cluster

Our aims for our families and community

  • To support and inform our parents so that they can work in partnership to help their child be ambitious and achieve success.
  • To be engaged in the life of the school in order that they can contribute to school decision-making and our Improvement Journey.
  • To develop partnerships between staff, parents and the wider community which promotes a positive ethos and image.

Assessment of Children's progress

Assessment of Children's progress

What is this?

Assessment of children and young people's progress includes a range of evidence on what children and young people learn and achieve throughout their education and how well this prepares them for life beyond school. This includes achievement of Curriculum for Excellence levels, skills, qualifications and other awards, and achievement of positive and sustained destinations. Progress in learning for children and young people with complex additional support needs is evaluated at an individual level, through agreed plans and personalised next steps.

Why is this important?

We all need more robust and consistent evidence which will help us in improving health and wellbeing, raising attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap. We need to know the size of the attainment gap at different ages and stages, across Scotland, in order to take the right action to close it, and we need to know whether the attainment gap is narrowing over time in order to know whether the actions we are taking are the right ones. The annual collection of teachers' professional judgement data on the achievement of Curriculum for Excellence levels, and the use of national standardised assessments, will lead to more consistent assessment approaches within the broad general education. Other important measures within this driver include positive destinations and the quality of career information and guidance available to children and young people.

How will this help to achieve excellence and equity for all children?

Data gathered on children and young people's progress is essential to achieving excellence and equity. Improved data on children and young people's progress at key stages, including differences between those from the least and most deprived areas, will allow for planning further interventions to ensure that all children and young people achieve as well as they can. The quality of career information, advice and guidance and monitoring positive destinations will tell us about how successful young people are when they leave school. This will also tell us about the choices young people make, and the difference in the levels of positive destinations for young people from the most and least disadvantaged backgrounds. This data will help teachers to identify areas where good practice exists and which high-impact interventions should be shared. This is equally important for children and young people who experience barriers to learning caused by additional support needs.

What is the evidence telling us?

The data being collected on children's progress continues to help inform a shared understanding at local and national level on areas where focused action is required to reduce the gap in attainment and health and wellbeing between children and young people from the most and least deprived areas. The evidence being gathered also confirms that teachers are becoming increasingly confident about making judgements on achievement of a CfE level, and the use of national standardised assessments going forward will help to support consistency in the approach to assessment within the broad general education. Almost all of the sample schools inspected for the NIF by Education Scotland were evaluated as satisfactory or better in ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion; and latest statistics continue to show positive trends in the numbers of school leavers achieving qualifications, awards, and going on to positive destinations.

Improvement priorities for the year ahead

Improving literacy and numeracy, particularly amongst those learners vulnerable to poorer outcomes, remains the key priority. Improvement activities in the school years will continue to focus on the quality and consistency of data collections for attainment and health and wellbeing, as well as on ensuring that support for learning, teaching and assessment is provided to school leaders and practitioners through the RICs.

Data literacy amongst teaching professionals will also continue to remain a key focus over the coming year and the use of the Insight Senior Phase Benchmarking Tool and the BGE Benchmarking Tool will provide the means for supporting this activity. The priority now is to allow these improvement tools and approaches to become embedded and to avoid further changes which could increase workload for teachers.

The evidence from the user review of the first year of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) demonstrates that the information generated by the assessments and reports is being used to plan effective next steps in learning. This, in turn, will give teachers more confidence in assessing children's progress, with a more consistent understanding of the standards expected of CfE levels in literacy and numeracy.

However, concerns have also been raised about certain aspects of the assessments, in particular about P1 assessments. As a result, the Deputy First Minister announced on 25 October 2018 that there will be an independent review of the approach to P1 assessments within the context of the NIF. The review will be asked to provide conclusions and recommendations by the end of May 2019.

Assessing children's progress plays a crucial role in addressing adversity at any point in a child or young person's life, by recognising where barriers exist and putting in place actions to address the issues identified.

Anchored in our national approach of Getting it Right for Every Child, the Scottish Government is increasing its focus on better preventing and mitigating childhood adversity. The term adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) originated from US research which established an association between childhood adversity and later negative health and other outcomes in adulthood. The Scottish Government is committed to tackling the ten adversities highlighted by the original US research (including different types of abuse, neglect and household challenges of parental separation, mental health difficulties, substance misuse, domestic violence,and incarceration), as well as other adversities which can impact on health and wellbeing (e.g. bereavement, bullying, poverty).

A focus on preventing such adversities and addressing their impact on children, young people, and adults is being embedded across the Scottish Government and its work with partners. This involves building on existing interventions, such as the expansion of Health Visitor numbers, roll-out of Family Nurse Partnerships and expansion of high-quality early learning and childcare, and nurturing approaches in schools, and we will continue to develop further actions that better address ACEs in Scotland going forward.

Education Scotland is working with NHS Scotland staff and schools to make the links between nurture, ACEs and trauma informed practice, to develop effective practice and support positive mental wellbeing in schools. A paper entitled 'Nurture, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma informed practice: Making the links' helps to outline the links between these approaches. This, along with the professional learning materials to support these approaches, will complement the work to implement the National Trauma Training Framework.

Case Study

Riccarton Early Childhood Centre

At Riccarton ECC, we are fully committed to raising attainment for all our children and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

In the centre, children access a wide range of digital technology. Both the children and staff use tablet devices and digital cameras to record learning experiences. The children are able to replay the experiences and revisit their learning. Staff generate quick response (QR) codes, a matrix barcode, that are then displayed throughout the centre on walls and within the floor books. Children have gained the skill to confidently use the tablet devices to open the QR codes and replay the videos of their learning and this can then be shared with their peers, parents and visitors to the centre. This allows children to revisit their learning and they have high aspirations to succeed. A member of staff has embraced the leadership role of digital champion and devised a tracking tool to monitor children's progression and achievement across a variety of digital technology skills.

Firstly, we establish a base line of a child's learning journey. Through consultation with the parents we complete an initial assessment to allow us to know a child's previous learning and give us a starting point. We have devised a developmental milestone tracker that focuses on the areas of literacy, numeracy and Health and wellbeing. Staff observe, track and record children's progress over time and set smart targets for every child. Parents are encouraged to share the learning at home through a wide variety of home link activities, and this learning is recorded in every child's personal plan. Children are encouraged to celebrate success through the wider achievement wall and at star of the week.

The Headteacher carries out periodic pace and challenge meetings with staff to review every child's progress and a plan is put in place to support or challenge each child. Targeted groups are set up to support the most vulnerable children and also challenge groups to encourage high achievers.

Robust data is collated to effectively evidence continual improvement and demonstrate the impact it's making to our children and families.

Our data demonstrates:

  • All children have made significant progress across their developmental milestones
  • Children supported within targeted groups are making significant progress in improving their literacy or numeracy skills
  • Children's confidence and attendance has improved greatly
  • Parent participation and engagement in children's learning has increased year-on-year

School improvement

School improvement

What is this?

The overall quality of education provided by each school in Scotland and its effectiveness in driving further improvement.

Why is this important?

School improvement focuses on the quality of education, including learning, teaching and assessment, as well as the quality of the partnerships that are in place to support children and young people with their broader needs. These are essential elements to raise attainment for all children and young people and close the poverty-related attainment gap. We have a good education system in Scotland, with schools achieving good outcomes for children and young people. We want to continue to improve this so that more children and young people experience very good and excellent education services, delivered by self-improving, empowered schools and key partners such as community learning and development professionals.

How will this help to achieve excellence and equity for all children and young people?

Evaluating learning, teaching and assessment and the quality of what goes on in classrooms will tell us how good the experience is for children and young people, as we strive towards excellence for all. We know that for children and young people from the most deprived backgrounds, the gap in learning can develop from a young age. Evaluating school improvement and how schools work with partners will help us to focus on early and sustained intervention, and support for children and their families. School inspection, school self-evaluation and local authority reporting on attainment and achievement will tell us how well schools are achieving equity for all children and young people. This will include the school's success at raising attainment for all, whilst closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children and young people. We expect that this self-evaluation will be carried out increasingly with partners and other services. Data on improving attendance and reducing exclusions are critical factors in ensuring that children and young people's time at school and their opportunities to succeed are maximised.

What is the evidence telling us?

Almost all of the sample schools inspected by Education Scotland for the NIF in 2017/18 were evaluated as satisfactory or better on 'learning, teaching and assessment', and most were evaluated as being satisfactory or better on raising attainment and achievement. Approaches for assessing and monitoring children and young people's progress across the broad general education are improving. Staff are using a broader range of assessment evidence to evaluate children and young people's progress in their learning. However, there is more work to be done to ensure greater account is taken of assessment evidence when planning learning and teaching.

Overall, schools have gained confidence and knowledge in identifying the poverty-related attainment gap in their local context. Almost all schools have planned interventions in place using Attainment Scotland Funding. Schools should continue to improve approaches to identifying outcomes and measures to enable them to evaluate the impact of their approaches on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. They should work with local partners, including colleges, employers and community learning and development to help deliver improvement.

Improvement priorities for the year ahead

We will be increasing the focus of our improvement activity in ELC. We are finalising a national standard that all ELC providers will be required to meet in order to deliver the funded ELC hours from August 2020. This is likely to require providers to achieve Care Inspectorate evaluations of good or better on all themes which, we believe, will stimulate an even greater focus on improvement.

We will also continue to focus on supporting leaders and practitioners, through the RICs, to further develop their skills to deliver professional learning for others, to drive innovation and improvement in learning and teaching, to use data to raise attainment and close the poverty-related attainment gap, and to continue to improve the capacity of staff to self-evaluate for improvement.

This approach will have an impact on both the early learning and childcare settings, and schools by ensuring the uptake of entitlement to Scottish Government funded early learning and childcare provision, increasing the emphasis on careers for children and young people in the broad general education, and ensuring that increasing numbers of vocational pathways are made available for young people in the senior phase.

Case study

Burnside Primary School, Angus

Burnside Primary School, Angus

A pedagogical team consisting of four principal teachers (PTs) has been established. The team has been structured to enable PTs to support improvement at every stage throughout the school. They support teaching, learning and assessment. Along with teachers they track and monitor children's progress. Each undertakes a specific leadership role e.g. promoting play at early level. This is providing high quality collaborative professionalism at all levels. Importantly, this is providing staff with a deeper understanding of highly effective learning and teaching approaches.

Burnside Primary School developed a pedagogy team in August 2017. This team was funded from PEF monies. It created a new management tier within the school structure. The pedagogy team's key feature of curriculum development incorporating collaborative practice ensured that the 'day to day' learning and teaching was supported by four PTs throughout the school. This team consisted of one substantive PT and three funded entirely by PEF. The other three PTs were now able to dedicate more time to other aspects of school development and pastoral care. Very clear remits were now in place. Organisational wise it meant that we had a PT working with and within our primary one setting, another PT working alongside our Primary 2 and Primary 3 cohort, one PT with primaries 4 and 5, and another with primaries 6 and 7. Our class composition for session 2017/18 was seventeen classes. The three principal teachers employed on a 24 month contract, were all current, experienced members of teaching staff. Their contextual knowledge of school; including staff, pupils and parents/careers and the local environmental was exceptionally valuable.

The impact of the pedagogy team was measurable straight away. Staff members felt more supported, with a member of management working collaboratively with every 3/4 classes. Curriculum development was able to progress at a brisk but manageable pace as each PT was working 'at the chalk face' and trialling, evaluating, re-assessing as they went.

A major improvement which took place that session was the review of how the school reported to parents. Using the recent guidance paper from Education Scotland and consultation with staff, pupils and parents the pedagogy team developed a concise and workable model which was praised by HMI. The principal teachers were also working very closely with their designated staff members, encouraging them to look at their previous models of curriculum design and in particular their structure for assessment. This culture led to many reflective conversations and fed in to whole school improvements such as the use of the moderation cycle to bundle Experiences and Outcomes over curricular areas looking at holistic assessment methods. The pedagogy team were keen to link their work to current research and share this with staff, again promoting a culture of reflection.

In session 2018/19 the pedagogy team continue to flourish. They have gained confidence in their own abilities and leadership. Their impact on the school has been stated in our recent HMI report and is noticeable on a daily basis within Burnside Primary School.

Performance information

Performance information

What is this?

All of the information and data we need to get a full picture of how well Scottish education is improving. We will gather together and analyse the data collected from each of the other key drivers of improvement.

Why is this important?

Evidence suggests that we must build a sound understanding of the range of factors that contribute to a successful education system. This is supported by international evidence which confirms there is no single measure that will provide a full picture of performance. We want to use a balanced range of measures to evaluate Scottish education and take action to improve.

How will this help to achieve excellence and equity for all children and young people?

Through the NIF and the new Interactive Evidence Report, we will build a picture of progress across the drivers and towards our key priorities. Analysis of the evidence gathered will help identify where things are working well and approaches that could be shared as good practice. It will also highlight areas for further improvement and where action is required. This activity will have a specific focus on excellence and equity and will inform school, local authority, regional and national improvement planning. It will also be used to inform policy development and decisions about priorities moving forward, including the allocation of resources and support.

What is the evidence telling us?

In order to provide all stakeholders with much more informative evidence, we have developed an online NIF Interactive Evidence Report. It presents the same national information that was included in the Evidence Report, providing an overview of what we know about Scottish education and the context in which our children and young people learn. It brings together available current evidence on achievement, attainment, health and wellbeing and the wider education system, with a specific focus on the differences between children living in the most and least deprived areas. However, the key advantage of using an online interactive tool is that stakeholders are able to interact with the evidence available and (where possible) to drill further down into the evidence.

For example, users can investigate whether improvement in the key NIF priority measures (e.g. achievement of CfE levels, school leaver qualifications) is happening not only at a national level (as was possible to ascertain using the NIF Evidence Report), but also at local authority level, both in terms of whether trends show an improvement over time and whether the poverty-related attainment gap is closing. This is in line with our intention to be transparent and open with evidence, to highlight whether improvement is happening and inform further improvement activity.

Improvement priorities for the year ahead

The diverse range of data being collected through the NIF has emphasised the importance of supporting practitioners to use data intelligently at all levels of the system to help drive improvement.

In the year ahead we will continue to support use of the Insight Senior Phase Benchmarking Tool at local level, and the new BGE Benchmarking Tool for use by RICs, local authorities and schools to support school improvement focused dialogue. We will also work with the Scottish Council of Deans of Education to ensure the new self-evaluation framework for initial teacher education (ITE) programmes is used by our ITE providers.

Case study

Thorn Primary School, Renfrewshire

Thorn Primary School, Renfrewshire

The management team in the school identified areas for development in the quality and quantity of information available to support improvement and to be able to see at a glance, progress in children's learning.

With the support of the Management Information Officer, the first step was to identify the key pieces of data that needed to be available and recorded, and this was initially done on a simple spread sheet. This included teacher judgement, results for standardised assessments, other teacher observations as well as data on SIMD.

Working with the other cluster headteachers, agreement on the information most useful for transition to secondary was included and all teachers agreed on a common colour coding to support consistency.

This new system benefits teachers by allowing them to use pivot tables to more effectively scrutinise information; to extract specific details to provide a clearer picture of individual learners and use comparisons to better understand the progress within Renfrewshire.

The impact of this on classroom practitioners is that they are now better able to collect evidence to support their professional judgements, discuss this at planned professional dialogue sessions with senior managers, and are more confident in the judgements they are making about learning. With help and support from the Management Information Officer, the school now has a bespoke tracking system that has already proven to be easier to use, less time consuming and more fit for purpose.


Contact

Email: Elaine Kelley