E News Update September 2013

The latest E News Update for September 2013 from the National Parent Forum has been circulated to parent councils via schools and is available here: National Parent Forum of Scotland Newsletter PDF September 2013

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Scottish National Parent Forum
FROM IAIN ELLIS, CHAIR, NATIONAL PARENT FORUM OF SCOTLAND

The start of a new school year brings fresh ideas and energy – a good time to think about how families and schools collaborate to give children the best possible opportunities.  How are new parents and families welcomed into your school community? How does your school share information with parents and vice versa? How best can everyone work together to support our children and young people?  Please share your experiences and ideas with us via our website.
‘Healthy, happy children’ is the theme of our free annual conference on Saturday 5 October.  You are warmly invited to contribute your views and to put your questions to our education partners (booking details below).  If you can’t attend, I would be happy to ask your questions for you – please email
me.
Partnership-working and information-sharing are crucial for healthy, happy children. We will continue to play our part in this, reflecting parent views at national level.  Parents at our ‘Qualifications Plus’ events asked for background information on Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). In response to this, a new
Scottish Government CfE leaflet, Great Learning in Scotland, will be distributed to you via your children’s school bags. Please look out for it!
We look forward to working with you in the coming year – keep in touch and let us know what you think.
Yours in partnership
Iain Ellis, Chair


THE NATIONAL PARENT FORUM OF SCOTLAND ANNUAL CONFERENCE, SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER
‘HEALTHY, HAPPY CHILDREN’  –  BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE!

Bishopbriggs Academy in East Dunbartonshire is again the welcoming location of our annual conference on Saturday 5 October 9.30am-3.30pm. We have a packed, inspiring day for you as usual, with our keynote speaker, Scottish Government Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell MSP, outlining Government plans for children and young people, a wide choice of workshops and seminars, activities for children and a buffet lunch.  The conference is open to all parents/carers and families. A free shuttle bus from Bishopbriggs Station and a creche are available. Please book your place and make your seminar choices online or find more information on our website.

CURRICULUM FOR EXCELLENCE LEAFLET AND CFE LEARNER JOURNEY

A new Scottish Government leaflet, Great Learning in Scotland, which explains Curriculum for Excellence, is being sent to every family via school bags.  Further information for parents can be found online.  Featured on the leaflet is our illustration of the Curriculum for Excellence Learner Journey. This sets out all the levels and stages of Curriculum for Excellence for children from the age of 3 and to the end of the Senior Phase (which may be completed in school or college).  It also explains some of the terminology around Curriculum for Excellence.  We think it tells you everything you need to know – get in touch with your feedback or if you need additional information!


YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT CURRICULUM FOR EXCELLENCE
Over the last few months, we have been gathering your questions about Curriculum for Excellence at our events and focus groups and via our website. These questions have been put to our education partners – Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority. You can now find answers to your questions on our website.  Running to 18 pages, we hope that these responses will address your queries and concerns – please let us know if you have further questions.


THE NATIONAL PARENT FORUM OF SCOTLAND’S ‘NATIONALS IN A NUTSHELL’
Available to download from our website, the ‘Nationals in a Nutshell’ summarise, subject by subject, the broad structure of each National 4 and National 5 qualification.  Learners must pass Units to achieve the new qualifications; assessments for these Units may be tests or ongoing classwork. For parents and young people, this means that work during the whole of S4 is really important; for some, this work starts in S3.  There are also end of year exams for many subjects at National 5.  More Nutshells will appear during September and October, summarising National 1 to 3 and providing general information on Highers.

CURRICULUM FOR EXCELLENCE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN 2013/14
Each year, objectives and workstreams are developed nationally for the ongoing implementation and fine-tuning of Curriculum for Excellence. This provides guidance for partners, schools and local authorities. Priorities in the Plan for this session include the publication of support materials for the revised Higher qualifications, assessment, STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths), Learning about Scotland,  the 1+2 languages policy, Literacy, Numeracy and Health and Wellbeing, Gaelic; and Communicating with parents.  The Plan has been circulated to many parent councils, so that they can see the wider national strategic context and understand how that links up with implementation in their school.  Please ask for further information about implementation at your school and share this information with parents in your school.

SCOTTISH QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY AND CHANGES TO QUALIFICATIONS IN 2014
As well as the introduction of the new National qualifications this session, the Scottish Qualifications Authority is making changes to the exam appeals system. The new system sets out criteria for exceptional circumstances whereby exam results may be mitigated.  More information will be made available through schools in October. We have been asking that this information is more widely shared with parents and young people.  Visitwww.sqa.org.uk for further details. Information on some of the new Nationals is also available on BBC Bitesize.
SCHOOLS CONSULTATION LEGISLATION (SCHOOL CLOSURES)

The National Parent Forum has facilitated dialogue and discussion between parents and Scottish Government officials who are working on changes to the Schools Consultation legislation which covers school closures. We have also asked that parent councils be kept informed as the legislation develops.
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PILOT FLU IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME IN SCHOOLS
From October until late November/December, health boards will be piloting a flu immunisation programme in some schools which will be phased in over the next three years. Information will be sent out to parents/carers about the clinics in their areas.  More information is available here.
Your National Parent Forum Representatives
Our volunteer National Parent Forum (NPFS) reps and the geographical areas they cover are listed on ourwebsite
. Our reps and thewebsite are your main points of contact with us throughout the year. Find out more on the website about our reps’ roles on national bodies such as the General Teaching Council, the Standing Literacy Commission, the Scottish Qualifications Authority Advisory Council, the Royal Society Information Technology for Education Use enquiry and the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning.
Contact us
Share your ideas, views & local stories with us by:
Emailing us
Visiting our website
Or by following us on Twitter and Facebook:
@parentforumscot
parentforumscotland
National Parent Forum representatives in action…
Recently our reps have been involved in national working group discussions about: teacher workload and tackling unnecessary bureaucracy around Curriculum for Excellence delivery; improving school meals; musical instrument learning in schools; and the languages group which looked at the 1+2 languages policy in primary schools.
Julie Wild is our volunteer parent representative from Stirling. As well as representing us on the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force and its Early Years Collaborative, Julie leads our Early Years Group. She has been involved on our behalf in ‘The Well Connected Child’ series of seminars which drew together academics, practitioners, parents and policy makers to look at the latest research on early childhood with a view to sharing knowledge and improving services. Further information can be found

here.

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Getting It Right for Every Child and the Children and Young People Bill (Scotland)
Parents are beginning to find out more about the national ‘Getting It Right for Every Child’ (GIRFEC) initiative, as it is rolled out across Scotland.  GIRFEC expects professionals in education, health and social care to work together around each child and family, whenever they need support or advice.  To facilitate this, children will have a ‘Named Person’ who will lead the delivery of support and who will be the point of contact for children and families. If the GIRFEC initiative is enshrined in law through the Children and Young People Bill, in most circumstances, health visitors will be the ‘Named Person’ for children under 5 and headteachers will be the ‘Named Person’ for primary and secondary aged children.  You can find more information here.  Following on from our submission to the consultation on the Children and Young People Bill (Scotland), the National Parent Forum has asked for parental perspectives to be represented on the GIRFEC Board.
LEARNING ABOUT THE 2014 INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM: POLITICAL LITERACY IN SCHOOLS
A new Curriculum for Excellence Briefing has been published by Education Scotland to support the learning and teaching of political literacy. This will be particularly important in the forthcoming Independence Referendum. Pupils should have the opportunity to learn about, and discuss, all perspectives fairly and without bias, as happens currently on a daily basis in our schools.
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COMPUTING SCIENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

As we all know, the IT world is evolving and developing very quickly. To help with the delivery of computing science in secondary schools over the next two years, the Scottish Government  is supporting a project which involves the British Computer Society and the Chartered Institute for IT in delivering professional learning to secondary teachers. Click here for more information.


GAELIC MEDIUM LEARNING
A new guide for parents on Gaelic Medium Education, Fios is Freagairt, is now available. It includes information on the different stages of Gaelic Medium Education, bilingualism, using and learning Gaelic in the home. Email fios@parant.org.uk for further details.

PARENT INFORMATION DAY AT CALL (COMMUNICATION, ACCESS, LITERACY AND LEARNING), EDINBURGH, SATURDAY 23 NOVEMBER
Specialists in IT-assisted learning for children and young people with additional support for learning needs, CALL hosts an annual information day at their Edinburgh base for parents/carers who would like to find out more about the technology that can help to remove learning barriers.  Last year’s event looked at iPads.  If you have particular areas of interest, such as digital exams, or information on the ‘Books for All‘ accessibility scheme, please let CALL know and it can be incorporated into the day.  Contact CALL via their website.

Useful Contacts

Education Scotland’sParentzone websiteproviding you with up to date information about your child’s education.

The National Parent Forum of Scotland – creating a voice for Scotland’s parents.

Parents as Partners in their Children’s Learning Toolkit

Parenting Across Scotlandoffers information and support for familes in Scotland.

Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) – providing information for parents and carers.

Enquire is the Scottish Advice Service for Additional Support for Learning.

The Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit has been prepared to support dyslexic children and young people and contains sections for professionals, parents and young people themselves.

enquiries@parentforumscotland.orgparentforumscotland.org
@parentforumscot parentforumscotland

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