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Raising Achievement for All. Michael O’Neill, OBE Melbourne October 2008. What do you remember from your School days?. Tom Fitzpatrick Winifred Dean Denis Cuddihy Gerry Bonner. The Merchant of Venice Bassanio. The School Orchestra Trumpet. Roy of the Rovers Striker.

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raising achievement for all
Raising Achievement for All

Michael O’Neill, OBE


October 2008

What do you remember from your

School days?

Tom Fitzpatrick

Winifred Dean

Denis Cuddihy

Gerry Bonner

The Merchant of Venice Bassanio

The School Orchestra Trumpet

Roy of the Rovers Striker

Mikhail Botvinnic Chess Champion

Self Belief - Motivation - Values - Role Models

The Challenge:to break the links between disadvantage and underachievement:

‘There is a link between deprivation and underachievement, a link which must be broken if we are to give our young people an equal chance to succeed. We must discover a way of challenging and enabling young people to achieve what they are capable of achieving, irrespective of background, gender, race or levels of ability or disability. For this reason the education department has adopted as its motto Aiming Higher, and has identified Raising Achievement for All as its key policy direction’. RAFA, 1998



characterised by

characterised by

Poor diet / housing

High mortality rates

Inadequate range of

role models

Family / neighbourhood


Apparent lack of parental


Negative peer pressure

Poor study facilities

Poor level of attainment


High absence / truancy

Emotional / behavioural


Poor rates of progression

to FE/HE

Low career aspirations

Low levels of…





climate of negativity

League Tables

“Attainment or Affluence?”

What do we mean by “achievement”?
  • Concept of “multiple intelligences” :
  • motor, spatial, aesthetic, mathematical,
  • linguistic, scientific, emotional
  • “… the time has come to broaden
  • our notion of the spectrum of
  • talents. We should spend less
  • time ranking children and more
  • time helping them to identify
  • their natural competences and
  • gifts, and cultivate those. There
  • are hundreds and hundreds of
  • ways to success and many
  • different abilities that will help
  • you get there.”
  • Importance of self-esteem, motivation,
  • determination, aspiration in determining
  • success
  • The development of the whole person
  • The whole range of experiences social, creative, cultural , sporting, academic -
  • valued equally
  • “Improving on previous best”

Howard Gardner

raising achievement for all1
“Raising Achievement for All”

The strategy

  • About everyone's right to succeed
  • Based on a set of beliefs about
  • achievement and about education
  • Central focus, improving learning and
  • teaching
  • Targeting resources to combat
  • disadvantage
  • Intervening at critical stages
  • Celebrating success
  • Targets of input, experience and
  • outcome
Developing the whole person
  • Early Years focus on outdoor play , healthy eating and active learning
  • Expansion of free Music Instruction
  • North Lanarkshire Choirs, Orchestras,Pipe band, Battle of the Bands,
  • Jazz Band and Traditional Music groups
  • Annual Concerts in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
  • Residential outdoor educational experience
  • Expanded Sports development programme
  • Sports Comprehensives
  • Music Comprehensive
  • Art Summer School at Kilbowie
  • New Opportunities Fund grant for
    • the North Lanarkshire Music College
    • the North Lanarkshire Sports College
    • the North Lanarkshire Arts College
Intervening at critical stages
  • Expansion of early years provision
  • ‘Parental involvement / parenting skills 0-5’
  • Early Intervention programme, nurture groups
  • P7/S1 transition:
    • Summer Literacy Schools
    • Theatre Skills Summer Schools
  • Aiming Higher with Outward Bound Programme, S4
  • Summer Academy @ Strathclyde, S3
  • Easter Schools, S5/6
  • partnerships with employers for apprentice jobs
  • Primary/Secondary Curriculum Flexibility
Targeting resources

Funding and allocation of places weighted in respect of deprivation; staff supported in selecting pupils who will benefit most from initiatives

  • Deprivation staffing allocation
  • Nursery nurses in most deprived primaries
  • Primary Study Support in all schools, P3/7
  • Secondary Study Support, S1- S6
  • Special Schools Out of School Hours Learning
  • Easter Schools
  • Outward Bound
  • Summer Schools
  • North Lanarkshire “colleges”
Everyone’s right to succeed

‘it shall be the duty of the authority to ensure that the education is directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential’

Standards in Scotland’s Schools Act

  • Reading Recovery, P2
  • Curriculum Flexibility: Age and Stage Relaxation/
  • Secondary Curriculum Guidelines
  • Alternative Curricula: Skillforce / xl Clubs /
  • On Track/alternative qualifications
  • Looked After and Accommodated Children
  • Discipline Task Force
  • Looking Forward: Responding to Children’s Rights
  • Gaelic Medium education / Bilingual Support
  • Developing and nurturing talent: creating opportunities for excellence
Aiming Higher with Outward Bound Programme
  • ...intervening at critical stages, targeting resources, developing the whole person, everyone’s right to succeed
  • 12,000 young people in 12 years’
  • Week-long personal development programme at Loch Eil
  • Designed to raise aspirations and develop self-esteem
  • Targeted at S4, and at young people most needing
  • support
  • Linked to work in school, and to life beyond school
  • Involving all secondaries and special schools
  • Supported by the Outward Bound Trust
  • Evaluated by Edinburgh University (PhD Study)
  • ‘Outward Bound for Heidies’

Progression from Primary programme at Kilbowie Outdoor Centre

Teaching them skills to ride that roller-coaster

“There are things that I wasn’t much exposed to in my formal education - communication skills, inter-personal skills, problem solving, an ability to think outside the prevailing boxes, for example - which I’ve had to work hard to try and acquire since.”

“My worry isn't that standards are going down the pan. It’s that a system that now educates half the population to post-school level, and utilises all the computerised learning resources it can afford to meet the task, doesn’t have the staff, the space or the time left in which to foster the range of personal skills that really make a difference, create chances and command more and more of a premium in today’s market place”

Alf Young

skills from the past
Skills from the past

“Amo Amas Amat?

“When was the battle of Trafalgar?”

“Who wrote Little Women?”

Rote Learning - Content Heavy

Narrowly “Academic” - Little Real Choice

“Knowledge requires not only to be transferred to

pupils but also created by them” - Benjamin Zander



Factory Worker

The Knowledge Economy

Core Skills

Good Timekeeping





Manual Skills


Lifelong Learning


Are We Still Preparing Pupils for the Last Century

skills for the future
Skills for the Future?

Core Skills - Transferable

Inter-Personal Skills - Social Skills

Flexibility - Learning Skills

Values - Attitudes

Comprehensives for the 21st Century
  • Amendments to modal structures to allow personalisation and
  • choice
  • Alternative curricular options
  • Age and stage relaxation
  • Vocational Education courses
  • Enhanced Comprehensives
  • Co-operative Learning
Enhanced Comprehensives
  • 4 Sports Comprehensives
  • 1 Music Comprehensive
  • 1 Enterprise Comprehensive with a junior hospitality school
  • 1 Expressive Arts Comprehensive
  • 1 Technology Comprehensive
  • 1 Life Skills School ( a special school )
  • 1 International Comprehensive
  • 1 Science Comprehensive
Enhanced Comprehensives:

Raising Achievement for All

An Enhanced Comprehensive:

What it is NOT:

  • NOT a Centre of Excellence, as in other parts of Scotland
  • NOT about producing elite athletes/musicians/artists etc
  • NOT selective

What it IS:

  • a regular comprehensive serving the local population
  • a school which uses the enhanced area as a vehicle for driving up standards, improving school ethos, reducing social exclusion and building positive lifestyles
  • a school with enhanced staffing and resources to enable enhanced curricular/ extra-curricular delivery
  • a school which reaches out into the community, involving associated primaries and other neighbourhood secondaries
  • consistent with North Lanarkshire’s Raising Achievement for All philosophy and with the National Priorities.
The Sports Comprehensive:

Raising Achievement for All

Aims of the Sports Comprehensive:

  • to raise achievement
  • to improve school ethos by promoting a strong sense of common identity
  • to improve the mental and physical well-being of young people and adults
  • to increase self-esteem and confidence, determination and motivation
  • to develop social awareness and citizenship, leadership and teamworking
  • to develop strong links with neighbourhood schools and the wider community
  • to deter anti-social behaviour
  • to help young people develop a lifelong interest in sport, leading to a healthy lifestyle.
New Curriculum Guidelines 2001

More flexibility in the modes

Less compulsion

More personalisation and choice

Age and stage relaxation.

Flexibility within the following parameters:
  • All pupils should be required to continue the study of
  • English, Mathematics, Religious Education, Physical
  • Education and PSE
  • All pupils should be required to study no fewer than 2 of the
  • remaining 4 modal areas although, of course, some pupils
  • may continue to study all 4 areas – Social Subjects, Science,
  • Technology, Creative & Aesthetic
  • Up to individual schools to determine the precise nature
  • of the option structure within these parameters.
Disapplying two of the modal areas for individual pupils to learn and achieve to the best of their ability by allowing:
  • pupils with individual strengths to emphasise a
  • particular curriculum area
  • pupils making significantly less progress than their
  • peers to consolidate learning and progress across the
  • curriculum
  • pupils to participate in programmes of vocationally-
  • related learning
  • pupils to participate in a range of planned
  • opportunities.
Alternative curriculum provision and qualifications to develop core skills/attitudes

Alternative Provision

  • Outward Bound
  • Skillforce
  • Right Track
  • On Track
  • XL Clubs.

Alternative Qualifications

  • Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • European Computer Driving Licence
  • Vocational Qualifications
  • First Aid Certificates
  • Sports Leaders Awards
  • Community Youth Awards
Vocational courses from S3 onwards
  • In school
  • Part of S2 option choices
  • Alongside traditional subjects
  • Recognised qualifications
  • Partnerships with further education and industry
  • Not a return to junior secondaries.