Lockdown and subsequently the return to school life has been an emotional roller-coaster, learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable unknown. It has reminded us of our need to connect, and the importance of wellbeing and relationships. We know through collaboration, innovation develops – and good relationships are absolutely essential for this to happen.

My role within the Northern Alliance is to build networks and facilitate collaboration for the Primary Broad General Education (BGE). I have been greatly impressed with the will and enthusiasm to engage at all levels. It has been really inspiring to work alongside local authority leads, colleagues from Education Scotland, head teachers, practitioners and partners.

There is a wealth of experience, expertise, knowledge and resource across the Northern Alliance which we can learn from and, through collaboration, learn together. The priorities in our Curriculum workstream, which Craig Paterson, the Secondary BGE Lead Officer, and I, the Primary Broad General Education (BGE) Officer, lead are detailed below:


Work alongside local authority and national colleagues to share practice and facilitate the development of:

• Curriculum-specific networks and Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) for key curricular areas;

• Curriculum rationales for the BGE and Senior Phase which reflect the uniqueness of each school community;

• Approaches to skills for learning, life and work, including a focus on Developing the Young Workforce (DYW);

• New and innovative approaches to curriculum delivery and development (with a specific focus on digital delivery).

There will be professional learning available on these priorities which will be added to our Professional Learning Hub and resources for curriculum delivery (continually being updated) found on our SharePoint site within Glow: Primary BGE (make sure you login to Glow first, you may require a separate browser if you also have a corporate login to Office 365).

Refreshing your Curriculum Rationale. My experience as a participant.

Before Lockdown, a fellow head teacher and I attended a Curriculum Rationale workshop in Aberdeen delivered by Education Scotland as part of a suite of events for Excellence in Headship. It was a dreary February morning and we drove four hours – some of which was through a blizzard – and were met with warmth and appreciation for our efforts to attend.

The two schools I was head teacher of at the time had started to refresh our curriculum in line with the Refreshed Narrative and I was intrigued as to what this learning event would entail. What we were presented with was high quality professional learning, creative tools to clarify thinking, new ways of engaging your whole school community and an opportunity to network, learn and share with colleagues across Scotland.

In response to the global pandemic the Northern Alliance has developed new agile ways of working using digital technology, making professional learning and networking more accessible. If you are considering refreshing your curriculum, stage one is the Curriculum Rationale Taster Webinar developed by Education Scotland and shares those national messages.

In these unprecedented times, head teachers can find themselves torn between being strategic, leading and being reactive and managing. In response to requests from head teachers, and to support strategic leadership, Education Scotland is offering a Curriculum Rationale taster webinar. This will support leaders in considering the impact of Covid-19 on education, the wellbeing of their community and blended learning.

Curriculum Rationale Taster Webinar Stage 1.

The aim of this Curriculum Rationale webinar is to:

· Provide context and background to Curriculum Refresh

· Facilitate thinking around a revised/recovery curriculum rationale

· Share resources, activities and ideas to support schools engaging in a curriculum conversation and further developing a curriculum rationale tailored to their context (a full package of follow-up resources, activities and support will be available).

Please email Maureen.Mooney@educationscotland.gov.scot for Stage 1

Curriculum Rationale Stage 2.

The second stage compliments Stage 1 by delving deeper into those national messages, through building networks for similar sized schools and facilitating collaboration across the Northern Alliance. Facilitating discussion in how you have utilised those resources, introduce you to some more, share how you are taking forward the Refreshed Narrative and what it means in your unique context? There will opportunities to share, learn from and together.

As with all curriculum rationales, a revised or recovery curriculum rationale can be a supportive tool for head teachers when developing their SIP, including PEF initiatives, and their blended learning approach. You won’t need to drive four hours or through a blizzard but you will have high quality professional learning, facilitation and enthusiastic colleagues from across the Northern Alliance to network with. It takes account of the current and ever changing landscape we find ourselves in and is streamlined for online delivery.

Magic happens when you have a group of enthusiastic practitioners together and creatively ask them to deeply reflect on why? what? and how? It clarifies thinking, expands our networks, reminds us of who we are, what we are about and where we want our schools to be.

Please contact Audrey.buchanan@highland.gov.uk for Stage 2.

I’m excited to see how the future develops when working alongside such enthusiastic teams. If you wish to connect, please email or tag @Auds991 on Twitter. We can learn a great deal from each other and even more together. It has been wonderful to see children and young people back to school full-time whilst recognising the tremendous effort from local authorities, partners and schools which made this happen.

Blog post written by Audrey Buchanan, Primary BGE Lead Officer, Northern Alliance

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