Partnership Schools Scotland

9 Dec

By Dougie Atkinson, Professional Officer, Voice Scotland

PSSIt is a year since the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC), supported by Skills Development Scotland, started work on their Partnership Schools project.

The Partnership Schools concept is a way to form school, family and community partnerships to make things better for young people in school. It was developed by a team based at Johns Hopkins University in the USA over almost 30 years.

The Reference Group of stakeholders in Scotland, of which Voice Scotland is a member, oversees efforts to roll out community partnership-based models, through a series of real time pilots in schools, in a number of local authority areas in Scotland. This is a five year funded programme of work.

I attended the most recent meeting of the Group, which was an update on developments and experience so far and shared a draft of their report on the first year of the programme, which was published on 7 December and is available online.

Through the project, schools have set and achieved goals from their School Improvement Plans, such as:

  • improving numeracy and literacy;
  • using their outdoor space to enhance learning; and
  • involving more and different families in family learning activities.

All of this was achieved by the schools working collaboratively with families and the wider community.

Friockheim Primary School in Angus set a learning goal to use their outdoor space to improve numeracy and, in turn, improve parents’ knowledge of how to use outdoor space for supporting their childs understanding of maths.

Families were invited to a barbeque, where they completed a range of outdoor numeracy tasks with their children. There was a great level of involvement, with 75% of families represented.

St Francis’ Primary School in Glasgow set a learning goal to improve awareness and understanding of learning in science. The partnership action team:

  • developed a leaflet on the STEM subjects and their relevance in the world;
  • got children and their families working together on a display of science knowledge; and
  • invited local employers, past pupils and family members to talk about how STEM subjects are part of their work.

Castleview Primary School in Edinburgh set a well-being goal to make their school gates a no-smoking zone. Pupils, parent volunteers and community partners collaborated to produce and distribute flyers. Following the initiative, there was a noted decrease in people smoking at the gates and smoking within school grounds completely stopped.

In its second year, Partnership Schools Scotland is happening in a further two local authorities: Falkirk and West Lothian. It is hoped that over the five year pilot, Partnership Schools Scotland will be rolled out in 25% of Scotland’s schools (circa 650) across all local authority areas.  The aim is to empower all Scottish schools to access the programme and reap the benefits of planned and focused family and community partnerships, to improve outcomes for young people in schools.

The next meeting of the Reference Group is in May 2017.

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