The information provided in this study, along with reflective questions, invites you to consider the impact of your own approach to broadening young people's learning experiences. It also invites you to consider how well you are developing a shared language and understanding of skills.
This practice exemplar captures the views of staff and learners about the approaches the faculties of Performing Arts and Health have taken to develop a shared language and understanding of skills and how this can be transferred across learning.
How to use this exemplar
In 'What was the impact?', you are invited to read the responses from staff and learners to questions about the impact of the approaches taken at Rosshall Academy. Then, individually or as a team, consider the following improvement questions in your own context:
- How effectively do you work with a range of partners to broaden young people's learning experiences and provide them with opportunities for personal achievement?
- To what extent have you developed successfully a shared language and understanding of skills, across the school, that can be transferred across learning?
What was done?
- peer and self-evaluation is embedded in the curriculum in dance, drama and physical education
- learning conversations are embedded in day-to-day classroom activity, so teachers and pupils discuss progress and achievement in relation to skills on a regular basis
- teachers of drama and dance effectively use the information provided in P7 profiles to identify individual interests and skills in pupils arriving in S1
- a wide range of partner organisations visit the school and provide specialist training and real-life contexts for learning
The school's self-evaluation prior to inspection revealed key areas of strength, and these were highlighted in the inspection report. For the purposes of this study, staff and learners were asked to reflect on these strengths through responding to the following questions:
- What skills, knowledge and understanding have you developed as a result of your studies in expressive arts, such as dance and drama?
- How can you tell your skills are developing and improving?
- What can you tell me about the possibilities/opportunities for young people studying expressive arts in school in the world of work or further study beyond school?
- What expressive arts opportunities are available to you, other than conventional SQA courses?
What was the impact?
Young people, across all year groups, are able to talk extensively about both the discrete and transferable skills they have developed. They recognise that being able to articulate their skills, knowledge and understanding is an important factor in producing worthwhile pupil profiles and personal statements. They acknowledge the importance of the guidance provided by teachers to help them frame their statements in terms of appropriate language and tone.
Pupils expect to have regular opportunities to reflect on their own learning and progress, and to contribute to evaluations of other pupils' progress. The young people made a strong connection between peer and self-evaluation approaches in secondary and using 'two stars and a wish' throughout primary. Examples of this were seen in an S4 National Qualification dance lesson and during S2 drama lessons, where pupils worked in pairs and in groups to analyse their own and others' performance, often using technology to record and play back their performance.
Informed through the embedded learning conversations, teachers can plan to provide targeted and differentiated learning that meets individual needs at appropriate levels of pace and challenge. All pupils are encouraged to join clubs that will provide an outlet for their specific interests and skills. Young people recognised that their learning and experiences in drama and dance had increased their self-confidence.
Young people were clear about the benefits of the wide range of partner organisations that visit the school and provide specialist training and real-life contexts for learning. For example, the Tron Theatre provides professional input across a variety of theatre jobs. These experiences and advice, for example, on technical theatre skills, contribute significantly to dance and drama performances within the school. They also provide young people with a taste of the breadth of career opportunities within the creative industries. One pupil worked with theatre professionals to write his own play, which has subsequently been performed on the professional stage in Glasgow. Another pupil, from a background of deprivation, has been encouraged to develop his interest and skills in technical theatre to a high level. He is now considering a future career within the creative industries.
Young people were very positive about the range of opportunities, including leadership opportunities, and alternative qualifications offered by the school. One sixth year pupil has been guided to undertake an NPA award instead of Advanced Higher to better fit with her range of skills. This is a typical example of the variety of options, including creative industries awards, that young people at the school are offered, resulting from teachers' extensive knowledge of their individual interests and abilities. This knowledge is built from before the time pupils begin secondary school, during an extensive transition programme that includes 'taster' sessions in dance and drama.
How was this example identified?
This example of good practice was identified through an inspection of the school in November 2015. Identified areas of strength included:
- positive relationships between staff and young people, firmly based on the school values, which support young people to develop skills for learning, life and work
- the school's work with a range of partners to broaden young people's learning experiences and provide them with opportunities for personal achievement
PDF file: Inspection report on Rosshall Academy, Glasgow, 1 March 2016