On August 30 and 6 and 13 September 2003, Open Futures facilitated three open space events in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh for 158 parents and teachers. The theme was "How can parents and teachers work together to help children do their best?"
The Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) wanted to engage parents in the new assessment programme which seeks to involve pupils in their own learning through Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) which are negotiated with teachers and agreed by parents. The PLPs will follow pupils through their educational life. Another feature is the use of interactive techniques to get pupils more involved in learning in small teams. Details on the Assessment is for Learning (AifL?) programme can be found on web sites,http://www.AifL@scotland.gsi.gov.uk and http://www.LTScotland.com/access.
During the three events, there were 41 group discussions that generated 126 proposed actions. Of these, participants voted 23 top priorities across eight categories. More than half (54.8%) involved information to parents on their child's progress, parents' access to teachers and information to parents about curriculum and qualifications. Outputs from the events has gone up and down the education tree to the Minister for Education, Local Authority Directors of Education, schools and parent and school board organisations. Parents were highly motivated and heavily engaged, expressing very positive remarks during the closing circles.
SEED plans to sponsor another event with pupils in February to input on the format of PLPs, allowing pupils to help decide the reporting format which best helps them learn through teacher feedback on strengths and areas needing improvement.
Stay tuned for further developments of Open Space in Scotland's exciting education assessment development programme.