Last Updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Managing change - St Roch’s Primary and Deaf School in Glasgow

What is this?

​A whole school approach to improving outcomes for all learners. Two short whiteboard animations describing the impact on children and the approach taken by staff to reflect on their attitudes, understanding and practice in relation to factors that affect children’s lives and their learning.

Who is this for?

This will be of interest to practitioners working with children whose lives are affected by poverty. This provides some information on the approach taken to improve staff and children's understanding of poverty and how it can affect communities.

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

These animations could form part of initial discussions at school or cluster level for those wishing to explore what others have done to address the effects of poverty in their school’s community.

The school recognised that children were coming to school with a wide range of experiences. Some of which were affecting their ability to get the most from learning in a range of settings. The culture of self-evaluation was well-embedded and this helped to identify which areas needed to be prioritised. Training for staff was key to build their knowledge, skills, competencies and confidence to help identify and develop strategies to enable children to reach their potential in a culture of understanding and inclusion.

Please watch the animations and then use the improvement questions to reflect on the way your school addresses similar challenges. Consider using this as part of a whole school training session, in smaller working groups or as an individual to reflect our your own practice.

Improvement questions

  • Are professional learning opportunities linked to school priorities?
  • How can the impact of professional learning be measured? (Outcomes for learners, changes in attitude and practice amongst staff?)
  • What level of awareness do all staff have of poverty and how these impact on the lives of children, young people and their families?
  • In assessing the needs of the school community, what data and intelligence is taken into consideration?
  • Which partners are involved in planning and implementing approaches including evaluating the impact of such approaches?
  • How does the school help all learners gain a better understanding of poverty and other potentially harmful experiences and the impact on lives and society on a local, national and global scale?

Explore this exemplar

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What was done?

Staff training – linked to the school’s values and specific priorities identified through self-evaluation. Building knowledge, understanding and confidence of staff.

Leadership at all levels – staff were encouraged and supported to explore and take responsibility for key areas and develop this across the school through sharing with colleagues.

Self-evaluation –every strategy, intervention or initiative is evaluated to support the decision to continue, adjust or stop a specific approach.


Senior managers recognised that whilst some strategies to support learners were still effective, others were not and something had to change. They took the decision to reflect on professional learning, research and evidence-based practice in particular areas pertinent to their setting. For example, Nurture, Attachment, Trauma and Children’s Rights.

What was the impact?

Children have a better understanding of their community and how poverty and other issues affect lives of children and families. Experiences and opportunities offered through school are building levels of self-confidence, social skills and resilience across the school.

Staff have greater levels of confidence in their knowledge and skills to help identify potential barriers to children’s learning. There is a strong collegiate approach to share professional learning and support amongst staff. Staff feel their own practice has changed, and continues to change, as their knowledge and understanding around this work expands.