As we are all only too aware, these are challenging times for all of us.
Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 17 March), key ADES Office Bearers and Executive Officers met to review the ever-changing national situation and to reflect and act on how we can ensure the best and most appropriate support for ADES members across Scotland.
It is important to know, firstly, that ADES members and officers are working behind the scenes in a range of ways, including:
- every day this week, we have been/will be involved in a daily teleconference chaired by Graeme Logan, Director of Learning, Scottish Government. This is designed to support and help Scottish Government decision-making in these difficult times. Key areas of focus include ensuring that Scottish Government has up to date information on exactly how things are in schools at this point in time. Sheena Devlin, Peter McNaughton and I are involved in this
- Steven Quinn represented us today at a meeting, led by SQA, about the 2020 exam by SQA
- Scottish Government have been seeking to ensure that they have accurate information about pupil absence. Mark Ratter and Peter McNaughton have been offered feedback on changes to absence-recording in SEEMiS
It is important that we share what we learn from these, and other, meetings with you on an ongoing basis. This is something which we want to develop further.
With regard to the first item above (daily teleconferences) we are aware of the importance of those who represent us at these daily teleconferences asking the right questions and reinforcing the points that matter most to you. As such, should you wish for any specific strategic issues to be tabled at theses daily meetings, please feel free to contact Peter McNaughton in the first instance. Peter will be happy to ensure that your issues are relayed to Graeme Logan and the larger group: we understand the importance of helping Government colleagues see things from a Local Authority perspective: contact details below.
(We are highly aware that final decisions about all schools closing may mean that these meetings cease or that their nature and purpose changes in coming weeks).
As a member-led organisation, we are committed to utilising the skills and experience of our members in helping Scottish Government get things right for our children, young people and communities. ADES colleagues play a significant part in a range of ways behind the scenes. We are grateful to them for this and always looking for others to get involved, as appropriate.
It is clear, too, that, in these demanding circumstances, colleagues are using a range of sources and methods to exchange ideas in support of one another. Some, for example, are making good use of RIC structures. We are keen to support and facilitate sharing of ideas. At Tuesday’s meeting, several areas where you may want to share practice and ideas arose. These included materials on distance learning, for example, and ways in which we can support our most vulnerable children over the coming weeks and months. There will be many other areas beyond these.
In this spirit of helping each other and sharing ideas, we want to create a platform for members to exchange ideas which may assist colleagues facing similar challenges.
As the situation becomes clearer over the coming days Colin Grant will be in contact to confirm arrangements for sharing. If you feel that you have been working on something which another colleague might find of use, please send this to Colin who will ensure that all relevant materials are included. Please note that Colin will also be in further contact about the development of Microsoft Teams as a support for virtual working between members.
Finally, ADES officers are always very willing to discuss any matter with you at any point in time. Some of you already have intermittent contact with our officers. If you think it would be useful or if you want to find out a bit more detail about a particular development, please feel free to contact Michael Wood, Colin Grant or Peter McNaughton:
firstname.lastname@example.org Mob 07715849366
email@example.com Mob 07534 620013
firstname.lastname@example.org Mob 07464097558
We are facing enormous challenges just now. A key role for ADES is to ensure that colleagues feel as supported as possible. The steps we are taking here are designed to help achieve this: we’re all in this together.
President, ADES 18/03/20