Scottish Learning Festival 2017

Written by: Education Scotland | Published:
Going to Glasgow? Delegates at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2016 (Image: Education Scotland)

The theme of this year’s Scottish Learning Festival is Promoting Excellence and Equity for All. We asked organisers Education Scotland to preview the attractions at the free event

The Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) returns to Glasgow next month and is aiming to offer something for everyone – whether you’re looking for inspiration, practical advice, new ideas or the chance to try the latest resources.

It is the largest education event in Scotland and this year takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, September 20 and 21 in Glasgow’s SEC.

The event is free and includes a range of free CPD sessions and seminars. The theme of this year’s event focuses on promoting excellence and equity for all through:

  • Empowering teachers, practitioners, parents, schools and communities.
  • Strengthening partnerships, collaboration and networks.
  • Building the professional capacity of teachers, practitioners and leaders.
  • Fair and learner-centred funding.
  • Responsibility and accountability at all levels.

Education Scotland, the national agency for improving quality and providing support to education practitioners, organises and hosts the festival which provides those involved in education in Scotland with the chance to benefit from a range of free learning opportunities.

Over the years Education Scotland has welcomed more than 55,000 visitors from across Scotland and beyond.
Professional learning seminars

A key feature of the SLF is the range of professional learning seminars presented by practitioners and pupils from across Scotland. Seminars cover a range of topics from STEM to family learning and digital journeys. Selected highlights include:

  • National Improvement Framework – overview and latest developments, the National Improvement Framework Team (9:30am, Wednesday, September 20).
  • Building bridges – professional development of support staff, Shirley Donaldson, Fife Pedagogy Team (12:30pm, Wednesday, September 20).
  • Relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) – what young people are telling us, Suzanne Hargreaves, Education Scotland (2pm, Wednesday, September 20).
  • Professional learning framework – supporting and developing teacher professionalism and professional capacity, Jacqueline Morley & Zoe Robertson, GTCS (3:15pm, Wednesday, September 20).
  • Planning for pupil equity funding – what will make a difference? The Scottish Attainment Challenge Team (4:15pm, Wednesday, September 20).
  • Equal access? Child poverty and school costs, Marion Fairweather, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland (10:45am, Thursday, September 21).
  • An inclusive curriculum for all. Gib McMillan, Craigroyston Community High School, Edinburgh (12pm, Thursday, September 21).
  • How father friendly is your school? Gitit Kadar-Satat, the University of Edinburgh (1:15pm, Thursday, September 21).

The full conference programme is available to view on the Education Scotland website (see further information).

Keynote addresses

Over the years, the SLF has hosted an impressive line-up of keynote speakers. This year, the line-up includes keynotes from:

  • John Swinney MSP, the deputy first minister and cabinet secretary for education and skills.
  • Josh Littlejohn, the social entrepreneur and co-founder of Social Bite.
  • Steve Munby, renowned educationalist.
  • Members of the International Council of Education Advisers.

Delegates will have the opportunity to hear from education secretary John Swinney as he delivers the opening keynote on the Wednesday morning. He will be followed on the Wednesday afternoon by Josh Littlejohn, who will discuss his journey of setting up Social Bite and the role that education plays in creating social justice.

Steve Munby will bring the Wednesday’s keynote programme to a close when he’ll share his thoughts on how to balance high expectations, pace and relentlessness with compassion, inclusivity and collaboration.

The Thursday morning will begin with a discussion with the International Council of Education Advisers. This is an opportunity for delegates to hear more detail on the council’s views on the areas where we need to concentrate efforts in order to continue to build a world-class education system.

Professional discussions

As well as the keynote speeches, the SLF will host three interactive professional discussion sessions on the Thursday focusing on:

  • Using the curriculum to close the attainment gap.
  • Empowering teachers, parents and communities.
  • The National Improvement Framework.

The discussions start with a focus on the Scottish Attainment Challenge and how the curriculum can be used to close the attainment gap. The session will include opportunities to engage with the key partners and explore themes and approaches to help accelerate change.

The Empowering Schools Team from the Scottish government will host the second discussion of the day focusing on the government’s Education Governance Review. This is an opportunity for delegates to discuss the review at a school and establishment level and what support needs to be in place at national and local level.

The discussions close with a session on the National Improvement Framework which will provide information on the advice that has been published to support the implementation of the NIF, as well as covering the latest developments such as national quality assurance and moderation support to assist teachers’ professional judgement, the literacy and English and numeracy and mathematics benchmarks, and Scottish National Standardised Assessments.

Those attending the SLF are advised to register early to reserve their place in the hall if they would like to attend one of these sessions.

The SLF exhibition

The SLF experience continues in the exhibition where more than 150 exhibitors, including many from well-established companies, will be showcasing their products and services. From those who are regular exhibitors, to a whole host of new companies exhibiting for the first time, you will have the chance to see a range of resources and ideas as you wander around the exhibition.

In addition to the range of exhibitors, delegates will also have the opportunity to share ideas and learn from others. Within the exhibition there will be a number of special areas. For example, to showcase the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the Heritage Area will feature resources from a range of national heritage organisations, such as the National Museums of Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.

Also new for 2017 is the Creative Village. A collaboration between some of Scotland’s leading arts organisations, such as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Glasgow Film Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland. The village is aimed at helping teachers to deliver creativity to the curriculum.

The Parental Engagement Village is back for 2017 and will be home to representatives from a range of parental engagement organisations. It’s the ideal place to find out more about the importance of parental involvement in young people’s education.

The exhibition will also play host to a number of festival regulars, including the Education Scotland stand and the Local Authority Attainment Village. To find out more about everything that’s on offer at the exhibition, visit the website.

SLF Live

If you can’t come to SLF, the keynotes will be shown live on YouTube and will be available to watch after the festival. You’ll also be able to see what’s happening at the SLF on social media by following the hashtag #SLF17.

  • This article was written and supplied to SecEd by the organisers of the Scottish Learning Festival, Education Scotland.

Further information


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