Last Updated: Monday, March 01, 2021

Nurturing relationships, literacy and numeracy with Fife Pedagogy Team

What is this?

​The Fife Council Pedagogy Team is made up of experienced teachers and support assistants who develop and provide packages of high quality professional learning for teachers and support staff in schools throughout the local authority. Professional learning opportunities focus on building knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence in Nurturing Relationships, Literacy and Numeracy. Their work is clearly focussed on addressing the priorities outlined in the National Improvement Framework (2016), Fife Education and Children’s Services priorities (2017-2020) and Fife’s current strategy for ‘Achieving Excellence and Equity in Learning and Teaching in Fife’ (2017). The team supports school, faculty and departmental teams to improve the quality of learning and teaching.

Who is this for?

​These resources will be suitable for practitioners working with young people across the 3-18 range.

​Explore this resource

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

The Pedagogy Team model could be used to inform practice at a number of levels. At local authority level it would be possible to adopt this model in part or full. There are also aspects that would be applicable at school level. Opportunities exist to focus on the key aspects outlined below.

The key aspects to consider are:

  • Forensic focus on either; Nurturing Relationships, Literacy or Numeracy.
  • Development of leadership and professional learning to enable sustainable change.
  • Professional learning is rooted in current research and involves practitioners in relating theory to practice.
  • Vulnerable learners are identified and involved in personalised goal setting.
  • A Lesson Study approach is used to ensure practitioner focus on identified learners.
  • Professional dialogue and coaching underpin practitioners’ ongoing reflection.
  • Triangulation of data is enabled through diagnostic assessment, observations and eliciting learners’ and practitioners’ views on the process.
  • Practitioners with highly effective practice facilitate and lead the learning of colleagues in a collegiate manner.

Improvement questions

  • Leadership of Learning
    • To what extent do we critically engage with research, policy sources and developments in learning and teaching?
    • How do we know that our professional learning is improving outcomes for learners?
      How reliable is our evidence of impact on pupil learning?
  • Learning Teaching and Assessment
    • How well are we enabling learners to become independent learners and develop the four capacities?
    • How confident are we that all learners experience activities which are varied, differentiated, active, and provide effective support and challenge?


PDF file: Focus child case study from Nurture Engagement (174 KB)

PDF file: Pedagogy​ Team portfolio (2.2 MB)

What was done?

  • Intensive engagements spanned a school term and sessions were weekly
  • Across the authority there was a focus on developing all practitioners’ understanding of theory, policy and effective pedagogy in the key areas (literacy, numeracy or nurture).
  • A full package of training and coaching sessions based on current educational research in the selected focus area was provided
  • Collaborative planning, teaching and evaluation of impact using the Lesson Study approach added value to this process.
  • Professional reading and tasks were provided to develop teacher’s critical understanding of the impact of teaching and learning.
  • Support staff were also provided with professional development opportunities, and worked collaboratively with the team to develop their practice.
  • Within each classroom setting of engagement schools, two vulnerable learners were identified.
  • Diagnostic assessment was carried out and children’s views were canvassed.
  • Goals were then set with the learners in the focus area. These learners were the focus for the Lesson Study and collaborative teaching sessions.
  • Learner’s progress was monitored and impact measured throughout the engagement.


The Fife Pedagogy Team was established by Fife Council as part of their focus on Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage. The team’s efforts were targeted towards schools situated in areas of disadvantage and identified by SIMD data.

What was the impact?

Nurturing Relationships
Evaluation of Impact on Learners

A key feature of Nurturing Relationship's engagements is identifying two focus children in each class. These children are identified as having social and emotional needs which are presenting as barriers to learning. An appropriate goal is identified with the class teacher and the learner, which focusses on breaking down these barriers and supporting readiness to learn. Over the course of the Academic year 2016/17 seventy four focus children were identified over three school engagements.

Across the course of the engagement all of these learners made progress, with one third of the sample making significant progress and exceeding projected targets.

Literacy Engagements
Impact on Learners
In total, 350 learners each received over 16 hours teaching time with Pedagogy Team Teachers (over one academic term). Each of the 24 focus pupils received one-to-one dialogues with their teacher and/or Pedagogy Team member. Class teachers reported that almost all focus pupils showed increased motivation and engagement in learning. Most teachers indicated that they had a clearer idea of how to meet the needs of identified learners.
Based on the pupil views gathered via Lesson Study interviews, almost all learners showed an awareness of the Learning Intention during the collaborative lesson. In addition, almost all pupils were able to identify an aspect of progress, either fully or partially.

Numeracy engagement
Impact on learners

Pupil voice data is collected both pre-engagement and post-engagement to evaluate the impact on all learners’ attitudes to mathematics. Based on the data gathered the following outcomes were observed:

A diagnostic assessment is carried out at the beginning of a​ny engagement to establish a baseline. The same diagnostic task is completed again at an appropriate time to assess progress and identify next steps for learners. Selected case studies illustrate:-

  • All learners in a P7 class improved their understanding of fractions. In particular, the identified vulnerable learners. All learners in a P5 class improved their understanding of place value. In particular, the identified vulnerable learners.
  • Almost all learners in a P1/2 class improved their understanding of Counting and Structure of Number.