Last Updated: Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Glasgow Improvement Challenge

What is this?

Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge team (GIC) worked in partnership with the Glasgow Evening Times newspaper to publish a wide range of learning resources and activities to support learning at home across the city. 

Who is this for?

For all with an interest in Scottish education. 

What we did:

During the initial stages of lockdown, Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge team (GIC) worked in partnership with the Glasgow Evening Times newspaper to publish a wide range of learning resources and activities to support learning at home across the city, three times per week as a double page spread. Included were a selection of literacy and numeracy family friendly resources from early to second level to encourage engage Glasgow’s children and beyond. One of the most reassuring items of feedback was to see teachers across Glasgow and other local authorities exploring and sharing these ideas on their school Twitter feed for their children.

As lockdown continued, the GIC leadership team and attainment adviser became more concerned about the reach of remote learning activities on our targeted learners, who had previously been receiving additional bespoke support from our Challenge Leaders of Learning (CLOLs). This led to the newspaper offer being developed further to provide bespoke learning packs for individual groups of children.

The key driver for this project was to encourage and engage children to participate in learning at home, making it fun and accessible to all. The activities developed key learning themes and were differentiated by level, through numeracy games, writing materials, books, measuring tools, character puppets and essential stationery items. The Thistle family have been the logo for the project and their adventures are frequently the contexts for the activities. The materials promoted active learning, using items from around the home and also encouraging children and families to take their learning outside. It reaches both pre-five and primary school children.

Who we involved:

The GIC team worked in collaboration with PE development officers, English as an Additional Language and Glasgow Psychological Services to develop the newspaper spreads. Volunteers from the wider GIC team and Glasgow Libraries volunteered to collate and distribute the materials to schools and families during and post lockdown. The initial set of packs was funded by the City’s Sac grant and the project has continued as a result of significant donations from business partners across the city including Harper Collins, Farmfoods and a private benefactor. This has enabled the purchase of high quality materials and books to support the learning resources devised by the GIC team.

The difference it made:

The fifth pack of resources being issued during October 2020, was developed in response to feedback on how much the children were enjoying receiving books to read. This has progressed to the ‘Glasgow Loves Reading Campaign’ which is both a targeted and universal offer to promote reading for enjoyment across Glasgow’s 140 primary schools. Again there has been a gifting offer of books for children to read at home, as well as a universal offer of hard copy books, e- books and teacher resources delivered to all schools. This initiative has also been supported and encouraged daily via Twitter with a sharing and reading of their favourite books by Glasgow Celebrities. The first one read by Professor Jason Leitch receiving more than 1500 views. High levels of engagement from schools has been demonstrated via our Twitter channel @GlasgowLOL. Our teachers have been sharing their pupil’s engagement with the initiative and we have seen Glasgow’s children leading on the campaign within their schools and sharing via Twitter.

Targeted learners continue to receive bespoke learning packs post the return to full time schooling. These have continued to developed literacy and numeracy most recently extending the offer across all schools with a Scots Language pack.

“The questioning sheets for the books were fab as they were easy to read and I think universally accessible to parents” LPA Penilee Nursery School.

In the autumn pack, six will be launched in partnership with the STEM team at Glasgow Science Centre providing stimulating ideas and resources for mini scientists at home. The reach of engagement with this initiative has more than doubled since the initial stages and early years engagement has risen from 600+ children to 900+. There are now 2000+ primary age children receiving these additional learning at home materials building from the 700 initially.

“At Parkview Primary we are delighted with the learning packs being provided and recognise the huge amount of work that has gone into creating and resourcing them…They are proving to be of great value in supporting learning at home…Look forward to receiving the final set” Parkview Primary School.

All of the high quality resources have now been added to the GIC glow tile for universal use across all pre-five and primary establishments. The impact of packs on the groups of children has been illustrated in positive feedback from all stakeholders.

“Thank you so much for these again. They’re making a massive difference for our children” Cranhill Primary School.

What we will do differently in the future:

We continued to reflect on the feedback from schools and the positivity and engagement with this initiative has led to the team developing a wide range of further support as a universal offer to all schools. The materials compliment Glasgow’s literacy and numeracy progression frameworks and follow the descriptions of activities previously outlined above to engage and encourage our children at home. The materials are also providing Glasgow’s teachers with effective, relevant examples of activities for engaging homework and the legacy to continue to support future home learning post pandemic.

The positive feedback from schools and teachers has led to a similar approach for taking literacy and numeracy outdoors. (Glasgow Outdoors) across pre-five and primary. The key driver of this is to further enhance the learning experience and promote engagement from staff and children. The GIC leaders of learning have delivered CLPL to support all staff in engaging with both sets of materials. Each initiative is a step further in enhancing engagement in learning at home for often reluctant participants. The activities can also be developed within the classroom, again enhancing the teaching and learning offer.

Each set of materials aims to support contingency plans for learning at home, periods of pupil isolation and any future need for a blended learning approach. Now more than ever we are continually endeavouring to hold on to national and local priorities and the aims of Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge, as we strive to mitigate additional gaps in learning post the impact of the recent lockdown.