Teaching Scotland’s Future discussed at Aberdeen education summit

The University of Aberdeen’s School of Education will join forces with representatives from nine Scottish local authorities for a summit meeting today (May 26) and tomorrow (May 27) to consider how to implement the biggest shake-up of teacher education in decades.

They will meet to discuss the outcome of the report Teaching Scotland's Future - a national review of teacher education in Scotland undertaken in 2010.

The report, collated and written by former HMIe Head, Graham Donaldson, contains 50 recommendations, covering the entirety of teacher education, which are designed to help to build the professional capacity of Scottish teachers and ultimately to improve the learning of the young people of Scotland.

Around 50 delegates from the University and from Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Highland, Orkney, Moray, Perth and Kinross, Western Isles and Shetland councils will attend the summit

They will be joined by representatives from the General Teaching Council of Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) as well as academic staff from the School of Education.

Participants will be addressed by Professor Donaldson and will then tackle the implementation of the report broken down into themes such as career-long teacher learning and development, development of initial teacher training education programmes and partnership in teaching and assessment.

The aim of the dialogue is to determine how the recommendations can best be taken forward in partnerships between teachers, schools, local authorities and the University of Aberdeen.

The evidence gathered in the course of the Review highlighted five major ideas which underpin its recommendations. These are:

  • The two most important and achievable ways in which school education can realise the high aspirations Scotland has for its young people are through supporting and strengthening firstly the quality of teaching, and secondly the quality of leadership.
  • Teaching should be recognised as both complex and challenging, requiring the highest standards of professional competence and commitment.
  • Leadership is based on fundamental values and habits of mind which must be acquired and fostered from entry into the teaching profession.
  • The imperatives which gave rise to Curriculum for Excellence still remain powerful and the future wellbeing of Scotland is dependent in large measure on its potential being realised. That has profound and as yet not fully addressed implications for the teaching profession and its leadership.
  • Career-long teacher education, which is currently too fragmented and often haphazard, should be at the heart of this process, with implications for its philosophy, quality, coherence, efficiency and impact.

Prof Pete Stollery, Head of the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen, said: “The summit provides an opportunity for staff from the school of education to engage in dialogue with partners from nine of the geographically nearest local authorities to the University about how to take forward recommendations made in the Donaldson Review.

“The Donaldson Review, the forthcoming advice from the National Partnership Group recently set up by the Scottish Government and work undertaken by local partnerships, will result in significant changes to teacher education nationally, across Scotland. The summit meeting provides an excellent forum in which university and local authority staff can critically evaluate the report. Our work over the two days will also make a significant contribution to determining our response to the review recommendations and the implications for policy and practice.

“A further outcome will be the creation of a framework or structure which will take forward prioritised developmentsin collaborative partnerships.”