Background to SCQF School Ambassador programme
In 2015/16 the SCQF Partnership launched its School Ambassador Programme with the aim of identifying and confirming SCQF Ambassadors in schools to raise awareness and understanding of the SCQF as well as promoting its use among learners, school staff and parents. A successful programme ensures the impact of the Framework is maximised, that it is perceived as a vital tool for progression and that the benefits of the Framework are being communicated to learners across all schools.
Background to the school
Clydebank High School’s vision is to work continuously to develop a community of people committed to academic and personal excellence and to maximise the potential of all students in the school. Pupils are encouraged to work in a manner which promotes mutual respect for their peers and others within the multi-cultural society in which they live.
Clydebank High School also works to develop close links with parents and other partners to enhance and continually improve the work of the school. Difference and diversity are valued and young people are prepared to become Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and the Responsible Citizens of the future.
Why did you decide to participate in the SCQF School Ambassador Programme?
The staff in CHS reported that having a greater knowledge of the Framework would be useful to help pupils figure out pathways and options available to them, particularly for pupils who don’t achieve highly within academic subjects. Also that SCQF is aligned well with the remit of DYW as it meets the needs of all pupils and shows schools and pupils the range of courses that promote pupil achievement. Finally many staff members were interested in learning about how pupils’ achievements beyond the classroom can be recognised.
What did you think of the training & materials that the SCQF Partnership provided for your Ambassadors?
The training and materials provided were very useful and helped staff to understand the SCQF and qualifications. The training was enjoyable and very informative. Staff commented that they were surprised by the vast array of courses and providers that can be utilised in building a curriculum for the 21st century.
I feel that the most valuable tools are the information literature, posters, leaflets. But the most accessible materials on the website are the videos which give real life and practical examples of the Framework in action.
What are the benefits of your school being an SCQF School Ambassador –
Lynne Allison, Curriculum leader of Raising Attainment and Wider Achievement at CHS, says “I believe that there are many benefits for CHS being an SCQF School Ambassador. For CHS pupils we have already delivered and upskilled our seniors who had no idea that they gained SCQF credit points for educational and vocational qualifications. After the training they stated that a greater knowledge of the SCQF will benefit their progression onto their future destination. The overall aim is that young people have confidence in the choices they make, that they are ambitious and recognise the different ways that they can achieve.”
The Ambassador programme has certainly made staff think about the relevance of their subject in the modern world. For support staff they have found it useful to help pupils find positive and sustained post school destinations, as well as finding alternative ways for pupils to achieve. Departments are thinking about ways to use the Framework to share information with departments and parents at parents’ nights. But also to provide courses that provide pupils with the time, resources and curriculum they need by having a better awareness of learning programmes. This will in turn allow staff to develop and deliver a range of courses that best suit the learners, ultimately giving teachers freedom to embed CfE.
For CHS this is certainly an area that in the future we would be aiming to tackle. Parental engagement is one of the most challenging areas within the wider school. An awareness of the demographic of the area is vital. I see the benefit of the Ambassador programme for our parents as a way of encouraging the most disengaged parents back into education. Through the promotion of lifelong learning our Ambassadors can help parents understand the education system with leaflets like Old v New, but also to recognise their achievements and possibly help them back into education. In addition they will feel more confident about discussing their child’s pathway.
Can you tell us about the ways you have promoted the principles & benefits of the SCQF?
Firstly we have upskilled and trained our seniors (captains, head boy/girl). From this we have generated discussions about what our short term and long term goals would be to promote the SCQF. We have pinned up the SCQF Framework poster on notice boards at various points around the school. It was decided that in the first instance we would focus on raising awareness of the SCQF and familiarising pupils with the key terms, so we are running an SCQF competition which will be led by our Ambassador young people.
Secondly the S6 seniors will train a selection of S5/S4 pupils. For this the seniors have adapted the training materials sent out, they have included videos and put in some games.
Thirdly we are making a 3-tier video of former and senior pupils. Former pupils will discuss the pathway they took and SCQF level they achieved (some with obstacles). Seniors will discuss choices they made to get to the SCQF level they are at and what pathway they are moving onto, we have selected pupils going onto different pathways.
We are also putting the leaflets and posters into tracking reports that are issued periodically.
Would you recommend being an SCQF School Ambassador to other schools in Scotland?
Lynne comments, “Yes absolutely, the raising attainment team at the council have asked me to speak to the committee (all raising attainment teachers across the authority) to discuss the work I’m currently doing with the SCQF and the benefits. Furthermore I was at Drumchapel High meeting with their raising attainment team and I have encouraged them to get in contact with the SCQF Partnership to organise training.
I believe that a greater awareness of the SCQF can only benefit our pupils, staff and parents. The more we promote the SCQF and engage with the team we will be able to embed a raising attainment and wider achievement action plan efficiently to enhance the life chances of our young people.”