With a core priority of supporting high quality language learning and teaching in line with national priorities, in session 2018-19 SCILT looked to develop new partnerships where teachers could work collaboratively to enhance learners’ experiences in the Broad General Education.
Much of the work that has been led by SCILT to support the secondary curriculum links into the national policies, Developing Young Workforce and the National Improvement Framework; with a focus on developing partnerships with businesses to support the message that languages are a key skill for life and work.
To build on this work in session 2018-19, SCILT began to investigate further education pathways where young people could continue to develop their language skills in university programmes that are not exclusively language based. Through investigations, it was interesting to discover that the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde were creating a number of mobility opportunities for students to study and work in Spanish-speaking countries through Erasmus. It was on this basis that SCILT approached the Head of Department to discuss a possible collaboration; from this discussion a new partnership was formed.
“Interdisciplinary studies, based upon groupings of experiences and outcomes from within and across curriculum areas, can provide relevant, challenging and enjoyable learning experiences and stimulating contexts to meet the varied needs of children and young people.” (p21, Building the Curriculum 3)
In the spirit of Curriculum for Excellence, the next step was to consider how to develop a collaborative project that would bring together two distinct curriculum areas in a relevant and meaningful context for learners. However, before we could take this forward we had to identify our partner schools.
The Partner Schools
The five schools who participated in this professional learning partnership were from three authorities, Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and North Ayrshire Council.
- St Margaret Mary’s Secondary (School roll: 420)
- St Thomas Aquinas Secondary (School roll: 936)
- St Matthew’s Academy (School roll: 1245)
- Clydebank High School (School roll: 1225)
- St Peter the Apostle (School roll: 1429)
Schools were selected from challenge authorities as we wanted to support the Scottish Government agenda of closing the attainment gap. This also linked into the University strategic plan which seeks to provide access to university to people from the widest possible range of backgrounds. Therefore, as part of this experience, a group of pupils from each school would attend a final event at the university to celebrate the work they had completed in class. For most of the learners participating it would be the first time they had experienced a university environment and therefore an invaluable one as they aspire to the next stage in their secondary education.
All five of the participating schools deliver Spanish as the L2 thus ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ for the planning of teaching, learning and assessment for this project were selected at level 4. To ensure we achieved the aims of this pilot project, it was important that we set an optimum number of pupils, so each school chose two classes from their S3 cohort to participate, with the exception of St. Margaret Mary’s Secondary, who with a school roll of 420, selected one.