newsletter was edited by Christine MacLean and produced
by Gina Reddie.
Roadshow on the theme of
January, Friday 26th in association with
Edinburgh CIty Council at Trinity Academy, Edinburgh.
Keynote Speaker: Dr Julie Allan, Reader, Institute of
Education, University of Stirling.
March, Friday 16th in association with
Falkirk Council at Carronvale House, Larbert
some time now, the Ethos Network has been working in partnership with
local authorities to host Roadshows where both local and visiting good
practice can be shared. We believe that both the Network and
a council can benefit from this arrangement. The Network has a partner
who has inside knowledge of local practice and can help co-ordinate and
publicise an event. For councils, co-hosting an event can promote the
priorities they have and can offer an opportunity for schools in the area
to find out more about what their neighbours are doing. Time commitments
often make it impossible to be aware of good practice on our doorsteps.
In October 2000 the Ethos Network, along
with the Anti-Bullying Network, travelled to Inverness to co-host a
joint event with highland Council on the theme of Pupil Participation.
This was a first for both Networks, working together on a local event,
and for Highland Council who were thrilled to host such an event for
the first time.
Highland Council saw the event as a major
opportunity to boost the Raising Achievement project across the Council
area. Gordon MacDonald of Highland Education Services welcomed the chance
to highlight the excellent work already going on in primary, secondary
and special schools and, through the event, raise the whole profile
of ethos across all Highland schools. Teachers and pupils had reason
to be proud. The level of sophistication, knowledge and leadership
shown by the pupils was a sheer joy to see and hear. Delegate
evaluation backed this up: the day was received as positive and
Gordon MacDonald believes that the Pupil
Participation event provided a useful benchmark for Highland schools.
The fact that the event was held in the Council Chambers made a clear
statement to the pupils of the high regard in which they were held and
of the important role they played in the whole programme. Council-wide
plans are already underway to further capitalise on the event and to
drive forward more initiatives for raising Achievement in Highland.
To encourage a greater level of co-operation and communication between
schools, all those who contributed to the day will be highlighted on
the Highland Schools Raising Achievement website.
Contact: Gordon MacDonald, Education Centre,
Castle Street, Dingwall, IV15 9HU, Highland.
Scottish Schools Ethos Award is presented every year.
The award was set up as a direct response to the outstanding
achievements of Scottish Schools in promoting a positive
approach to learning and teaching and their readiness
to take account of the views of pupils, parents and teachers.
Why an award?
- To recognise the achievement
- To encourage other schools
to take a critical look at their ethos and to implement
- To signal the importance
of evaluating and developing ethos in relation to
- academic learning
- personal and social development
- personal safety and protection
Selecting a winner
£2000 will be awarded to
the winner and £1000 to the runner up
An Award Committee set up
by the Network selects the winners using the following
- The submission focuses
on school ethos rather than classrooms or departments.
- There is evidence of systematic
evaluation of school ethos/
- There is evidence of significant
action arising from the evaluation involving pupils
and staff in planning and implementation.
- A continuing commitment
to reviewing and developing school ethos using evidence
as the basis for planning and sustaining action is
Putting it together
Submissions for the Award
may be in writing (max. length 5000 words) or in video
format (max. 20 minutes). Text, photographs and graphs
can be used to convey messages about promoting and evaluating
a positive ethos. Evidence to convey the impact of work
on ethos can include, perceptions of pupils, staff,
parents and others, changes in pupils' attainments over
time or reductions in discipline referrals and exclusion
...below, some of the Award
winners talk about their work in developing a positive
school ethos and applying for and winning the Award...
High School, Dundee, Winner 2000
the group of staff at Craigie High School had collated
their submission for the Award early this year they were
taken aback by how much the school had done in the past
few years in the area of ethos. The application helped
to conduct an audit of a key area for the Standards and
Quality Report and through this identify some areas to
be considered for future development. Improving the school
environment, reviewing the website and looking at the
pupil council and the buddy system were some of the areas
identified for future work.
Headteacher David May believes
there are great benefits to be accrued in applying for
the award. Gathering the evidence made the school realise
how much had been achieved. Winning was a great tribute.
In Dundee the director of Education and the Convenor
of the Education Committee hosted a reception for Craigie
staff where it was publicly acknowledged that the award
was a national recognition of their work.
Contact: Roy Simon, Acting
Headteacher, Craigie High School, Garnet Terrace, Dundee,
DD4 7QD, tel. 01382 438740.
School, North Lanarkshire, Runner-up 2000
School is a specialist resource helping children with
social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Emphasis
is placed on supporting pupils to overcome their achievement
inhibiting emotions. Headteacher Iain Porteous is quick
to stress that staff have the privilege of being in a
position to influence pupils' lives and future prospects.
He sees this as demanding and difficult work and requiring
in turn, to feel valued and confident in their individual
and corporate ability to make a real difference.
Receiving recognition as
runner-up in the Ethos Award has boosted staff and pupil
morale. As a result of the award the school received
a commendation for outstanding achievement from North
Lanarkshire's Director of Education, Michael O'Neill.
Recognition was made in the local press. Parents tell
Mr Porteous that they are further assured that their
children are receiving an education in the best possible
environment. A recent test of the school's team spirit
was a move to new premises. Staff believe that the school's
already established positive ethos provided a secure
foundation on which to tackle this potentially traumatic
Contact: Iain Porteous, Headteacher,
Pentland School, Tay Street, Coatbridge, ML5 2NA, tel.
Ninian's High School, Kirkintilloch, Runner-up 1998
Ninian's joined the Ethos Network because, as Headteacher
Tony Conroy believes, a 'good ethos is the foundation
upon which everything worthwhile in a school is built'.
By joining the Network the school set out to get in touch
with a range of good practice from other schools which
would help them to further enhance the ethos of the school.
In entering for the Ethos Award the school felt that they
would be able to reflect more closely on all aspects of
their ethos. Winning was a great boost to pupil and staff
self-esteem because it affirmed all the work they had
Has the development of and
focus on ethos been worthwhile? St. Ninian's believe:
'without a doubt - yes!' HMI rated the school ethos
as 'very good' and a key strength of the school. There
has been a 66% improvement in the number of pupils gaining
5 credits at Standard Grade and 100% improvement in
the number of pupils gaining 5 Highers. The school has
also experienced a marked improvement in general behaviour
and Tony Conroy sees St. Ninian's as a school community
'that feels secure and confident in itself an in its'
ability, and this is reflected in all that it does'.
Contact: Tony Conroy, Headteacher,
St. Ninian's High School, Bellfield Road, Kirkintilloch,
G66 1DT, tel. 0141 776 1585
Ethos Network is highlighting pupil participation this year.
This is the theme of our events and the focus of our case studies.
Pupil participation has been recognised as an important ingredient
in the establishment of a positive school ethos in various studies
such as Helen Cowie's work on peer support; in John MacBeath's
work with Fife schools; and most recently in Stirling Council's
study of pupil councils. The requirement to involve children and
young people in decision making has now achieved prominence in
Scottish policy making. Through the Standards in Scotland's Schools
Act 2000, Scotland is the first place in the UK where children
have a broad right to be consulted on their school education.
The Scottish Executive's Child Strategy Statement requires all
departments to consider the implications of policies for children.
Development of practice in
The Ethos Network has been collecting
examples of practice in the area of pupil participation through
events and through data gathered via our registration forms.
What is emerging is a picture of schools placing priority on
areas such as education for citizenship, developing peer support
through buddy schemes for example, and either setting up or
further developing their pupil councils.
Below are some of the key ideas from
recent studies and examples of practice. Some relevant organisations
are also included. The Ethos Network wants to hear more about
what is going on in Scottish Schools. If you are developing
pupil consultation and participation in your school please get
in touch so that we can improve our database of practices and
have more potential for sharing what works and the lessons learned.
councils: what helps them to work
of rights: sources of help
- Commitment by the Headteacher
and the senior management team.
- Active pupil council representatives.
- Does the council have
a clearly defined remit and are boundaries agreed?
- Co-operation and support
- Systems are in place for
representatives to gather comments and report back
to their class.
- Regular feedback is given
to the council.
'Active citizenship in Stirling
Council Schools: a research study on pupil councils'
is available from Stirling Council Children's Services
priced £5.00. 01786 479187
12 promotes awareness of the United Nations Convention
on the Rights of the Child and the need to consult with
young people on the issues relevant to them. Priorities
are: lowering the voting age; education; and improving
the minimum wage for young people. Save the Children publishes
a resource pack called: 'Partners in Rights: creative
activities exploring rights and citizenship for 7-11year
olds. 'This and other publications on children's rights
can be obtained from Save the Children in Scotland, contact:
Joyce Sperber 0131 527 8200. Full list here.
Participation ...making it work
Support: the barriers
ethos of the school must encourage participation.
Structures and systems must be in place to ensure
rights to participation.
Conditions and the environment must be such to
enable young people to exercise their rights.
Adapted from Green, D.R.,
in Political participation of youth below voting age,
(1999) Riepl, B. & Wintersperger, H. (eds.) European
- Some adults are reluctant
to share power with young people.
- The school environment
can be aggressive.
- Some peers are hostile
and sabotage the system.
- There can be a stigma
attached to using the service.
- Other school systems or
rules inhibit the support systems working.
- Fewer boys than girls
are prepared to become involved as supporters.
The Peer Support Forum exists
to share good practice on peer support systems. They
can be contacted at the Mental Health Foundation on
020 7535 7400.
partnership with the Carnegie Young People's Initiative,
Children in Scotland has conducted a national study which
examined young people's participation. Children in Scotland
have agreed to facilitate good practice by the creation
of a 'Participation Network'. Areas that the Network will
address include evaluation of young people's participation,
examples of good practice and building links. Schools
were under-represented in the study, so input from schools
to the Participation Network would be welcome. SSEN will
be keeping in touch and participating in the network.
'Taking the initiative: promoting
young people's participation in public decision making
in Scotland' is available from Children
in Scotland. Contact Anne-Marie Dorrian on 0131
222 2420 for the publication and more information about