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Staff at Argyll and Bute primary schools including Carradale have influenced a professional teacher programme which has been endorsed by Education Scotland.
Education Scotland is a Scottish Government agency tasked with improving the quality of the country’s education system.
Jay Helbert, head teacher at Inveraray Primary School, worked with colleagues to create a programme to support teachers in developing their own teaching practice through exploring their current methods and results, analysing literature and looking at good practice in other settings. This enables them to create a personal and departmental action plan for improvement.
Mr Helbert, who carries the local authority remit for outdoor learning and developing and leading training for staff, said: ‘By placing teachers at the heart of the planning process, they have complete ownership of their own improvement and professional learning.
‘What we have found is the improvements they make are tailored to their own learners and that these improvements are sustained over time. Teaching is therefore improved, as is learning and pupil attainment.
‘I received a huge amount of support from the council to take the programme forward, particularly from my area education officer and the education manager. They encouraged me throughout the process and guided me in the right direction.
‘This enabled us to take the programme to Education Scotland earlier this year and I am delighted it has been endorsed by them and added to its suite of programmes for teachers and educators. Although I wrote the programme initially, its evolution has been guided by staff at Inveraray, Glassary, Tayvallich and Carradale primary schools.’
Emma Cairns, depute head of the Kintyre schools cluster, and Kirsten Rennie, principal teacher at Inveraray, helped shape the programme and they will be supporting the next step, which is to train experienced teachers, principal teachers and depute heads to deliver the programme in their own schools.
The council’s policy lead for education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: ‘This endorsement by Education Scotland is a quality mark of excellence in professional learning. It is a huge achievement to to offer a programme like this in our own educational settings but to be able to lead the way and share our expertise with other educational professionals across Scotland is phenomenal.
‘James and the team have worked hard on this and I congratulate them. We are committed to developing staff and empowering head teachers to take on a strategic approach to staff improvement and I look forward to seeing the programme in action. I wish them every success as they move to the next stage.’