ICSEI 2016 ? learning from policy, research and practice
The ICSEI Conference 2016, now only seven weeks away, presents an excellent opportunity for Education Scotland to engage with practitioners, researchers and policy colleagues from across the world. With Education Scotland?s aim of ?transforming lives through learning?, ICSEI 2016?s keynote addresses, paper sessions, symposia, round tables, and State of the Art sessions will help my colleagues and I to think, share, benchmark and draw on good practice.
As Scotland?s national improvement agency for promoting improvement in the quality and effectiveness of education, Education Scotland has high ambitions for ensuring that Scottish education ranks amongst the best in the world. Our work on all the key developments across the Scottish education system naturally connects teachers, schools, local authorities and the national agencies. Individually and collectively, partnership working is clearly reflected in ICSEI 2016?s main theme of ?creating the conditions for effective learning?. Engaging with international experts at ICSEI will assist Education Scotland to determine the extent to which we are achieving our ambitions and can learn from others.
Education Scotland provides support and challenge for the implementation of ?Curriculum for Excellence?. This is Scotland?s framework for improving the range and quality of pupils? learning experiences, raising their attainment and developing their skills for learning, life and work. In doing so, we actively promote the sub-themes for the ICSEI 2016 Conference. We focus very clearly on supporting teachers? career-long professional learning, together with their leadership skills, through networks of practitioners and schools, direct engagement and practical online advice. Partnerships and collaboration are the hallmarks. But how do our approaches reflect best practices from other countries and from the findings of research? Are we building sustained improvement? What is our evidence ? and how can we substantiate it?
Within the ?Scottish approach? to school improvement, schools are responsible for evaluating the quality of their work, and taking action to secure continuous improvement. School self-evaluation is supported and challenged by Scotland?s 32 local authorities who have a statutory responsibility for providing public education and ensuring continuous improvement in schools. Schools are also subject to external evaluation by Her Majesty?s Inspectors (HMI) from Education Scotland, as are early years settings, colleges and the provision of lifelong learning.
This collective intelligence, together with our evidence from other engagements ensure that Education Scotland is in a unique position to report nationally to Scottish Government and stakeholders on the performance of the education system and provide advice on policy, whilst identifying and sharing good practice to promote further improvement. How do we keep our ?finger on the pulse? ? and how do we know we are doing so?
The Scottish education system works well for most children and young people, who make good progress in their learning. However, inequity and the poverty-related ?attainment gap? persist. In direct response to this challenge, the Scottish Government is introducing a Scottish Attainment Challenge. Education Scotland and our national and local partners are discussing how best to play our individual and collective roles in addressing the attainment challenge. I look forward to learning how the sessions at ICSEI 2016, and your involvement in those discussions, can help us in that work.
Executive Director Lifelong Learning at Education Scotland