The Northern Alliance has invested £100,000 into a new Learning Hub at the University of Aberdeen which is to be launched as part of the collaborative's efforts to support the Scottish Learning Festival taking place in Glasgow this week.
The Hub has also benefited from investment from the University and is intended to be a meeting point for teachers, early years professionals, practitioners and academics across the North and West of Scotland who are involved in improving the life chances of our children and young people. Training will be delivered from the new facility which will often also be accessible online.
The Regional Improvement Collaborative brings together colleagues from Shetland, Orkney, the Highlands, Moray, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Argyll and Bute and the Western Isles to share best practice alongside a dedicated Northern team from Education Scotland. They have already delivered a number of key guidance documents to share across the region including a Project Assurance Toolkit to support the expansion of early learning and childcare, an Emerging Literacy Professional Online Toolkit, a Whole School Literacy, Language and Communication Toolkit, a Leadership Pack for community learning and development, a Family Learning Pack, and ‘e-Sgoil in a Nutshell’ guides.
Workstream leads’ endeavours have taken them across local authority areas engaging with teachers and other practitioners, using data to identify needs, delivering briefings and developing online training options.
They have recently submitted an updated Regional Improvement Plan to the Scottish Government which has been very well received so far. Key areas of focus are: leadership, sustaining education in our communities, raising attainment and closing the poverty related attainment gap and curriculum.
Laurence Findlay, Interim Lead of the Alliance in addition to his role as Director of Education and Children’s Services for Aberdeenshire commented: “We are so pleased to be launching this fantastic new facility in time for the Scottish Learning Festival. Colleagues will be able to enjoy live streaming sessions from Glasgow this week as well as networking with colleagues and enjoying tailored training opportunities here in Aberdeen.”
David Smith who is Head of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education added: “It’s great to be able to support collaboration across the region by hosting the Learning Hub here at the University of Aberdeen. We already have strong links with the local authorities in terms of educating new teachers and providing continued professional learning opportunities, and we look forward to building on those links through this superb new partnership Learning Hub.”
Unique to the Northern Alliance is its rurality, covering 58.4% of the landmass of Scotland yet representing a small percentage of the Scottish population. The geography and common challenges experienced across the region moved the collaborative to identify new ways of working and adopt a shared approach to the communities it represents in the North and West of Scotland and the islands.
David Gregory, Senior Regional Advisor for Education Scotland’s Northern Team said: “The Scottish Learning Festival is a great opportunity for education practitioners to focus on their development and share new approaches, so it is wonderful that the Learning Hub will be showing the live streaming of this year’s event and providing a space for people from across the region to gather and share their experiences.
“The Learning Hub will also ensure this sort of collaboration can continue beyond this year’s Scottish Learning Festival. I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues at the University of Aberdeen and the Northern Alliance as we encourage collaboration amongst practitioners and support professional learning through the new Learning Hub.”