28 Jun 2019

Young Leaders of Learning

“Because kids know what school should be like for kids”
~ p6 pupil.

sparqs is delighted to be working with Education Scotland on the Young Inspectors Programme (termed Young Leaders of Learning thanks to pupils’ recommendations!). The programme enables pupils to contribute to improving their school experience, captured perfectly in the above quote from one of the learners involved in the initial consultation

This year we have worked closely with Education Scotland and Aberdeen City Council to develop and deliver a pilot of activities in 3 secondary and 16 primary schools in Aberdeen aimed at supporting learner participation in school improvement. We are excited to be continuing to support this work and its expansion for the next academic year.

At sparqs our Vision is that “Students are partners in shaping the quality of learning, making positive change to their own and others’ experience, however and wherever they learn”. With this vision in mind, we have been excited to be involved in a project designed to involve children and young people in school improvement activity in schools. The aim is to support schools’ own self-evaluation activities as they share practice and become more familiar with the language and processes of school improvement.

It has been amazing to see our Young Leaders’ confidence grow and suggest improvements to enhance their learning experience!

sparqs worked closely with Education Scotland and stakeholders in the sector to develop training materials for young people involved in the programme and support a programme of reciprocal school visits. In the development stages, the young people involved decided to rename themselves as Young Leaders of Learning to better capture the collaborative nature of the project. sparqs trained 120 Young Leaders of Learning to develop their capabilities to engage and be actively involved in school improvement dialogue and activities.

Training covered:

  • Effective communication.
  • Gathering pupil opinion.
  • Being a representative.
  • Providing effective feedback.
  • Developing solutions to issues.
  • Safeguarding.

Through preparing for a reciprocal school visit, Young Leaders of Learning considered their school’s areas of strength and areas for improvement relating to a particular element of the How Good is Our School? Framework. Host schools prepared a tour, presentation and focus groups to share practice around a key theme. In our pilot in Aberdeen, schools focused on relationships. It was fantastic to see our YLLs celebrate successes as well as developing innovative solutions for areas which could be improved in each other’s schools.

At a celebration event in early June 2019, the Young Leaders of Learning all came together to share some of the things they have been up to following their visits. It was fantastic to hear them talking about the changes they have made in their schools and the skills they have developed throughout the year.  

We will continue to work with Education Scotland and schools to develop children and young people’s capabilities to influence and improve their learning experience and are excited about how this work can also feed into sector pieces like the learner journey review work.

“Because kids know what school should be like for kids” 
~ p6 pupil.


Further information

For more information about the Young Inspectors Programme, please contact:

Maxine Jolly, Education Scotland - Maxine.Jolly@educationscotland.gov.scot

Steph Kirkham, Development Consultant, sparqs – steph.kirkham@sparqs.ac.uk

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