Dundee City Council will celebrate the first year of the Every Dundee Learner Matters (EDLM) strategy today with an event at The Steeple, bringing together local authority staff and educational practitioners who have worked together to improve the quality of education for all children and young people in the city.
Every Dundee Learner Matters is led by schools for schools, with the support of the local authority and researchers from the University of Glasgow’s Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC).
The aim of the strategy is to support all children and young people in Dundee irrespective of where they come from and thus enhance educational equity across the city.
Considerable expertise within schools
The strategy recognises that there is already considerable expertise within the schools, their communities and the local authority. Key to the success of this strategy is the movement of this knowledge and expertise around the system.
The first year of EDLM has taken place during a period of unprecedented challenges, as schools and nurseries have had to deal with the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this unfavourable context, the following arrangements have been successfully introduced:
- Across the Dundee education system there is widespread awareness of EDLM and what it has set out to achieve
- All schools and nurseries have established a school inquiry group (SIG)
- These groups have used collaborative action research to identify and address barriers to the presence, participation and progress of some of their pupils
- All schools and nurseries are members of a school improvement partnership (SIP) set up to share experiences and encourage innovations
- Education officers and members of the ROC team have worked together to support these school-led improvement efforts
- A programme of events has taken place to provide support and advice for key people in the field.
Educational improvement approaches
The ROC team has brought their knowledge of collaborative educational improvement approaches to the Dundee system and has worked in collaboration with Dundee City Council to establish the EDLM approach.
The team has been impressed by the commitment of Dundee’s educational practitioners and their ability to adapt in the face of numerous challenges, and that the activities undertaken have proved to be a powerful form of professional learning. In addition, Dundee City Council’s education officers, pedagogy team and educational psychologists have provided much in the way of collaborative support for their colleagues.
Among the schools showcasing their work at today’s event are Balluniefield Nursery, Rowantree Primary, Downfield Primary and St John’s High School. Each of these schools have tackled different areas where children are at risk of missing out, and have implemented innovative, new ways of working.
The Every Dundee Learner Matters strategy will continue next year. There are plans to scale the project up and for further collaboration between schools and beyond.
Professor Mel Ainscow, from the University of Glasgow, said: “Every Dundee Learner Matters is a ground-breaking effort to promote equity across an entire education system. I think that it has the potential to inform thinking nationally and, indeed, internationally.”
Paul Fleming, Dundee City Council’s Interim Head of Service for Education, Learning and Inclusion, added: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Glasgow’s Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) as we continue to develop our collaborative improvement strategy aimed at improving outcomes for every learner in Dundee.”
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