Since its inception the Insight project has involved extensive collaboration between the Scottish Government (SG) and practicing educationalists. As well as regular consultation with school and local authority based colleagues Insight has also offered the opportunity for Professional Advisors (PAs) to work as part of the team. The PAs are seconded from school/local authority senior leadership roles to advise the Insight project moving forward and to support the education community in the use of Insight for improvement. Two members of the PA team talk about their work:
“As a local authority Quality Improvement Officer (with an attainment remit) I was lucky enough to work with Insight’s first PA; Colin Sutherland. Colin really developed my understanding of the tool and when he was ready to retire it was an easy decision for me to apply for the post he had so expertly shaped. I joined the team in October 2015 and can honestly say that taking up this post has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have had the opportunity to work in such a range of contexts nationally and have learned so much from school and local authority based colleagues across the country.
Demand for Insight support from schools has been so high we have been able to expand the PA team and recently welcomed John Hand and Linda McAulay-Griffiths to the Insight family. Although Linda’s secondment was short term (but incredibly valuable to us at Insight HQ), John remains with the team and is presently taking over as lead PA as I head back to the world of Local Authority quality improvement. Although I am incredibly excited about the move back to a new and exciting local authority, I will definitely miss the world of Insight and the excellent opportunities and experiences it continues to provide!”
“I joined the Insight Team in February 2017 and have been fortunate enough to have had Jill as a mentor since then. While I was a reasonably proficient user of Insight while in my school role, my understanding and application of the tool has improved greatly since joining the team. I am now in an excellent position to take over the role of Lead PA with confidence, continuing to provide outward support to schools and Local Authorities to use Insight effectively as well as giving inward advice to colleagues in Scottish Government, Education Scotland and other agencies.
In a typical week the job might entail working with around 4 or 5 schools from as far north as Inverness (occasionally even more northerly) to as far south as Dumfries.
School visits are tailored to individual needs. Our most common format would involve spending 2 hrs with senior leaders understanding some of the more technical parts of the tool then interrogating their data together to identify improvement priorities. We would then follow up with sessions with heads of department and pupil support/support for learning colleagues. In addition, the PAs provide advice to the Insight team on the ongoing development of the tool.
With Jill’s departure we are now looking for new PAs to join the team.