Renfrewshire has 11 Secondary, 49 Primary and 2 Additional Support Needs schools. All establishments provide a variety of personal/wider learning and achievement opportunities for children and young people.
Renfrewshire joined the Scottish Attainment Challenge in 2017 and with this, a deeper analysis of need was carried out around the poverty related attainment gap and the required action to support closing the gap and raising attainment for all. As such, personal/wider learning and achievement activities run through a number of attainment challenge and core workstreams, as a key element of improving outcomes for children, young people and families.
Although school establishments within Renfrewshire offer personal and wider learning opportunities for children and young people, ongoing work is required to ensure greater cohesiveness to the Building the Developing Workforce agenda.
Wider learning opportunities are used extremely well to build self-efficacy and confidence in children and young people. However, evidence suggests that improvement is required to link wider learning to more opportunity and ‘currency’ in the form of awards and the creation of alternative pathways.
A collaborative group was established consisting of secondary school senior leaders, an education manager and a development officer. The purpose of this group was to consider:
1) what wider achievement awards were being successfully offered to young people in the senior phase
2) how these awards were supporting ‘currency’ i.e. tariff points, and
3) in what ways establishments could be encouraged to offer a great range of wider achievement award opportunities.
The group agreed that an effective approach to supporting schools to move ahead with offering a greater range of wider achievement award opportunities in the senior phase, was the establishment of a wider achievement website.
The purpose of Renfrewshire's Wider Achievement Award website is to support professional learning and thinking, share practice, share resources and make important links to the wider Developing the Young Workforce agenda.
The website was launched in September 2020.
Initial feedback around the website has been positive. Secondary practitioners find it extremely helpful as a ‘one stop shop’ for supporting their professional learning and as a place where they can access all the resources required for moving forward with wider achievement awards, including; the SQA Leadership, Personal Development and Mental Health and Wellbeing awards.
However, feedback has shown that the primary sector would also like to use the website to increase their knowledge and understanding, share practice and get access to resources. As a result, the ‘Wider Achievement in the BGE’ tab has been added.
There has also emerged a need for more knowledge development around using wider achievement awards to create alternative pathways for young people, especially in response to concerns around post-school opportunities as a result of the COVID pandemic. Therefore, we have now added the ‘Alternative Pathways’ tab.
Finally, it has emerged that practitioner awareness of the website is not far-reaching enough and so we have agreed to create termly ‘Sways’ to raise the profile of the resource and highlight any additions or important wider achievement award news. The Sway also allows us to analyse how many practitioners are viewing the information at a deeper level.
Members of the central Renfrewshire Council team are really keen for practitioners not only in Renfrewshire, but across the whole of Scotland, to make use of the website and to consider contributing examples of best practice at their schools or within their Local Authority Area. Comprehensive templates are available to download from the website and the team would encourage as much participation and information-sharing as possible.
The site also contains lots of useful resources from education partners such as the SCQF Partnership, Awards Network, Education Scotland and YouthLink Scotland. In addition, the website features input from SCQF Ambassador School, Galashiels Academy. The school has very well developed wider achievement learner pathways for its pupils and the head teacher, Kevin Ryalls, and some S6 pupils recently appeared in a video produced by the SCQFP to demonstrate how successful these pathways have been for pupils of all abilities. The video is available to view here or on the Renfrewshire Wider Achievement Awards site or
If you have any ideas on how to improve the website, or would like to make a contribution, get in touch with Zoe Inglis, Development Officer (Curricular Transition, Parental Engagement) on firstname.lastname@example.org
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