May 08 2009
Govan High School Future Skills Symposium
On Friday 24th April we attended a Future Skills Symposium at Govan High School. The school is one of our most active Project partners through the work of Ian McCracken the Learning Resources Manager there. The Framework (Future Skills) of 71 core transferable skills is the work of Philip Graham, the Depute Head and Ian with the full support of the ‘Heidie’, Ian White, and has been in operation since the 2007-8 school year began.
It arose out of the fact that pupils were unable to identify their own skills and confidently use them in a wide range of situations. This led to an unsuccessful search for a comprehensive pre-existing framework of skills with the result that Philip and Ian set out to compile their own with the full involvement of staff and pupils. An initial list of ‘hundreds of skills’ was pared down to a definitive list of 71 future skills which are prominently displayed around the school and are used in every subject. This has not meant an abandonment of the curriculum or the teaching skills as a separate subject because an examination of the Curriculum for Excellence showed that the skills were already there. They had not been noticed before. A matching exercise on skills demanded by a range of employers was successfully carried out. The skills are divided into seven groups – the communicator, the contributor, the doer, the sorter, the originator, the connector and the decider. The communicator, for example, has skills which include creative writing, e-literacy, presentation skills and objective reporting while the contributor has team skills, participation skills and is environmentally friendly. Skills booklets were devised so pupils could self assess the skills they learned in lessons and extra-curricular activities. There are also skill cards for teachers who can nominate pupils who make progress in a particular skill. The details of the skills booklets are fed into a growing computer database which offers interesting analytical possibilities to support further development and to inform key areas. Information literacy is, of course, one of the skills and occurs regularly in all the booklets. Ian is now analysing the database to identify the frequency of the appearance of IL skills and how they relate to others. The results should be interesting.
The event was attended not only by teachers but also people from other education sectors and those concerned with learning and skills development. The Future Skills Framework is likely to be influential well beyond the school sector. Some further detail can be found in a Times Educational Supplement Scotland article. See URL http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=2638693. You can also watch two PPTs which describe the developmental processes and outcomes in detail. govan-1-journey-so-far1 govan-2-nuts-and-bolts